Finding a Common Thread

Paper $35
456 pages, 6" x 9", introduction, notes

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Finding a Common Thread

Reading Great Texts from Homer to O'Connor

Roberts, Robert C., Moore, Scott H., and Schmeltekopf, Donald D.

In this book, a group of prominent scholar-teachers meditate on how to read, in the context of a specifically Christian university or college education, some of the greatest texts of the Western tradition. Each author devotes himself or herself to a single text. In many cases, the authors have been reading, rereading, marking, ruminating, inwardly digesting, teaching, and discussing their text for several decades, so that they offer here a distillation of years of familiarity and reflection.

The texts span nearly 3,000 years. They are pre-Christian, Christian, and post- Christian. Each kind of text – indeed, each individual text – offers its own special opportunities and challenges for Christian interpretation. From these diverse readings emerges a sense that these texts all belong to a single great tradition, one to which Christianity made and continues to make enormous contributions. Medieval Christian writers exploit and transform pagan texts, and post-Christian writers like Nietzsche and Joyce are often preoccupied with Christian themes. In one way or another all the texts are about what it is to be a human being and what a good human life might look like. Thus “common threads” bind one text to the next, creating countless resonances among them.

The authors of the essays in this book all address the question, “How shall we read these texts from the vantage point of faith in God and Jesus Christ? Moreover, how shall we read them as members of a community with a common vision of the human good, aiming to nurture our students in that vision by reading with them some of the profoundest and most delightful things the human hand has penned?” As the Introduction suggests, the volume hopes to contribute to a renewal of the original intention of university education: to cultivate minds and hearts formed and informed by wisdom, the highest of intellectual goods.

Scott H. Moore is Director of the Great Texts Program in the Honors College of Baylor University. Robert C. Roberts is Distinguished Professor of Ethics at Baylor University, and Donald D. Schmeltekopf is Provost Emeritus of Baylor University.