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Between Truth and Fiction
A Narrative Reader in Literature and Theology
Edited by David Jasper and Allen Smith
Providing students with an array of original texts spanning from the Bible into the present, Between Truth and Fictionguides the reader through exercises in interpretation and reflection. With each reading chosen to introduce different forms of theological thinking, this volume raises questions about how we read—and how that affects theological thinking and practice. Intentionally blurring the hard distinctions between “truth” and “fiction,” the book is divided into genres (with often-surprising examples within): literary theology; fiction; autobiography; lyrics, poetry, and songs; drama; essays and aphorisms; sermons; postcolonial literature; feminist literature; and the postmodern text.
Includes excerpts from the works of Augustine of Hippo, Anselm of Canterbury, Karl Barth, Dostoevsky, Ian McEwan, Julian of Norwich, C. S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot, William Shakespeare, Meister Eckhart, Graham Greene, Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Edwards, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Thornton Wilder, Martin Luther King Jr., Salman Rushdie, Virginia Woolf, and Dave Eggers, among others.
"Between Truth and Fiction locates itself on the very best edge of creativity: between texts and lived experience. Today’s reader could not ask for more: brilliantly chosen extracts from ancient, medieval, modern, post-modern and even, post-post-modern texts by women and men who call us once again to see reality differently. This interdisciplinary collection of readings includes a running historical and critical commentary, as well as prompts for reflection on literary expression and those truths of theology which are frequently stranger than fiction. A sense of genius is captured in authorial musings which come together to challenge any doubt that history and literature have not been replaced by our contemporary multi-media and global culture. Nothing can compare to good critical thinking with texts that encourage each of us, student and professor alike, to explore the many forms of writing that generate a reality truer than any single fact."
—Pamela Sue Anderson, Regent’s Park College, Oxford
"Between Truth and Fiction embodies a genuinely fresh and attractive approach to the teaching of hermeneutics through practice and participation in the problematics of textual interpretation. I particularly value the attention to genre as itself an interpretive mode."
—Alison Milbank, University of Nottingham
"Between Truth and Fiction offers a carefully thought through selection of texts in theology and literature. But it provides much more than this. The often wholly unexpected texts illustrate vividly the ever changing shape of the literature and theology canon, while the powerful extended essays and the accompanying comments are themselves a provocative invitation to hermeneutical challenges which should surprise and delight the reader."
—George Newlands, Professor Emeritus of Divinity, University of Glasgow
"... heartily recommended for readers interested in intellectual and spiritual exploration."
—Eugene Webb, University of Washington, Christianity and Literature (62:1)
"This brilliant reader—texts, the introduction, the questions—is exactly the kind of reader that reminds us all anew how to read theological texts in literary terms and literary texts in theological terms."
—David Tracy, Distinguished Service Professor of Roman Catholic Studies and Professor of Theology, University of Chicago
David Jasper is Professor of Literature and Theology at the University of Glasgow and is Distinguished Overseas Professor of Comparative Literature in the School of Liberal Arts at the Renmin University of China.
Allen Smith is Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Glasgow and author of From Pulpit to Fiction: Sermonic Texts and Fictive Transformations.