The Word Made Fresh

Christianity and Literature
Philosophical Foundations and Critical Practice
David Lyle Jeffrey and Gregory Maillet
IVP Academic, $24, 336 pp.

“The word ‘history’ is missing an ‘s.’ It’s not ‘history,’ it’s ‘His story,’ and the story is right here in the Bible.” That is more or less what I remember hearing from a subway preacher stationed at 34th Street as I trudged to Regis High School from Long Island each morning. Visions of Latin declensions and history quizzes danced in my head, and I was not willing to hear more about anyone’s story, not even God’s. Maybe I should have paid more attention.

Christianity is about many things: the encounter with the love of God shown forth fully in the life, death, and Resurrection of the Son; how the church, gathered in the Spirit, responds to that love; the power of God’s grace in a creation wounded by sin. But all these things have a relationship to a story recounted in Scripture. The story is found in the law and the prophets, in the Old Covenant and the New, in the Gospels and the Epistles. Indeed, Christians have long understood the Bible—from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation—as one grand story explaining the pattern of God’s salvation.

Even if the Bible holds pride of place as a story among Christians, it is not the only story they encounter. All Christians who are lovers of sacred as well as secular literature ask themselves about the relationship between “His story” and the stories of Homer and Sophocles, Shakespeare and Milton, Melville and...

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About the Author

Scott D. Moringiello is an an assistant professor in the Department of Catholic Studies at DePaul University, where he teaches courses in Catholic theology and religion and literature. He blogs at dotCommonweal.