books west

Dominion: My essay, Why You’re Christian, explores how Christian ideas underpin the Western view of morality. To construct the ideas, I built upon this impressive 600-page piece of historical scholarship from Tom Holland. He argues the Bible defines Western thought, even if we’ve painted over those ideas with Enlightenment notions of truth and reason. On that note, it’s filled with golden nuggets like this: “That all men had been created equal, and endowed with an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, were not remotely self-evident truths… The truest and ultimate seedbed of the American republic—no matter what some of those who had composed its founding documents might have cared to think—was the book of Genesis.” What a provocative argument. For an introduction, I recommend this video interview and this book review.

Northrop Frye’s Biblical Lectures: This 25-part series explores the synthesis between the Bible and English Literature. It’s worth watching because the Bible infuses just about every aspect of civilization. To the extent the ideas feel obvious, it’s only because they’ve been so influential. They’ve become the water we swim in. Northrop Frye’s lectures explore the metaphorical side of these canonical texts. In one of his lectures, Frye said: “The accuracy of history in the Bible is in inverse proportion to its spiritual value.” You’ll find a full transcript and show notes for every lecture here.

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