How to account for any possible perceived dearth of contemporary Catholic literature and art? I have learned the problem is one of definition. In the same way that paradox is endemic to Catholic doctrine, Catholic imaginative literature remains a conundrum to many critics, both Catholic and secular.
Christian self-help is a sub-genre so ubiquitous that when I entered a Christian bookstore and asked for the self-help section, one employee looked at me quizzically and said, ‘Well, that’s pretty much everything in here, unless you’re looking for a Bible.’
Following their prosecution for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” against the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian punk group Pussy Riot has been dispatched to correctional colony IK 14. As it happens, the colony is particularly religious. Coincidence? Judith Pallot is skeptical.
Wherever they burn books, they also burn people in the end.
A rabbi whose name escapes me once said all Western literature was commentary on the Torah. I’ll buy that exaggeration, bearing in mind that exaggeration is both the breath of Jewish prayer and the bone and sinew of the novel when it remembers what it’s for. […] No Torah, no Kafka, no novel.
No matter how much we learn, the vision science offers — of ourselves and of the universe — will always be incomplete and consequently imperfect. Stories of gods, angels and rainbow horses will persist in the gaps.
Source: The New York Times
What makes this volume such a pleasure to read, and what makes it the best book of modern religious thought in recent memory, is its demand that dialogue be a central part of worship.
“Shalom Auslander has always been a prime candidate for the position of the contemporary Isaac Bashevis Singer: he writes about the struggle to find something to believe in while wanting to shirk the stuff you can’t stand — and there’s no religion like Judaism (save for maybe Roman Catholicism) that is so much about the conflict between tradition and modernity”
—Jessica Freeman-Slade reviews Hope: A Tragedy.
“I only got around to reading Genesis a couple of years ago. I can’t remember why I decided to pick it up, but it probably had something to do with realizing that I’d never read the Bible, and that I should probably have a glance through the highlights of the King James Version in the general service of my literary education. (As a matter of peripheral relevance, I actually downloaded it as an iPhone app so that I could read it on public transport and while eating lunch. The Good Book, with its brief chapters and nicely partitioned verses, makes for ideal phone-based reading. For some time, in fact, the iBible app sat peaceably beside the iQuran app which, in an uncharacteristic fit of multi-faith consumerism, I had downloaded at the same time. I have to confess, though, that I eventually deleted both in order to make room for more profane ephemera — an act which now strikes me as a potential instance of some wholly new form of pan-Abrahamic digital sacrilege.)”