What’s the difference between a God-centered and Other-centered life?

Is there a difference between a life centered on God and a life centered on others? They seem synonymous. Look at Mother Teresa. She represented a godly life through her focus on the needs of others. At Brown University, I studied the Middle Ages. Amidst the violence and disease that caused me to prefer calling […]

Who is Mark David Henderson?

Mark is the author of The Soul of Atlas: Ayn Rand, Christianity, a Quest for Common Ground [Reason Publishing]. He also speaks to a variety of audiences about finding common ground in unlikely places. Mark has been vitally interested in Ayn Rand’s philosophy for over three decades. He studied Victorian Poetry and Neuroscience at Brown […]

What is American Progressivism?

Glenn Beck posted a helpful perspective on what some people call the third wing of the GOP and the second half of the Democratic platform (the first being Pure Socialism, I guess). Here are the links: Who were the Progressives, and why are they important? The Progressives and their Attack on America’s Founding How the […]

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes (Little, Brown, and Company, 1942)

josephine-angelini-photo-edith-hamiltonSince its original publication by Little, Brown and Company in 1942, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology has sold millions of copies throughout the world and established itself as a perennial bestseller in its various available formats: hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, and e-book. Mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths and legends that are the keystone of Western culture – the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Edith Hamilton loved the ancient Western myths with a passion–and this classic compendium is her tribute. “The tales of Greek mythology do not throw any clear light upon what early mankind was like,” Hamilton explains in her introduction. “They do throw an abundance of light upon what early Greeks were like–a matter, it would seem, of more importance to us, who are their descendents intellectually, artistically, and politically. Nothing we learn about them is alien to ourselves.” Fans of Greek mythology will find all the great stories and characters here–Perseus, Hercules, and Odysseus–each discussed in generous detail by the voice of an impressively knowledgeable and engaging (with occasional lapses) narrator. This is also an excellent primer for middle- and high-school students who are studying ancient Greek and Roman culture and literature. –Gail Hudson

The New Yorker

Edith Hamilton retells the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths with a sure taste and scholarship that help to restore their quality as perennial and refreshing fables about human nature, including our own.

The New York Times

No one in modern times has shown us more vividly than Edith Hamilton ‘the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome.’ Filtering the golden essence from the mass of classical literature, she proved how applicable to our daily lives are the humor and wisdom of more than 2,000 years ago.

About the Author

Edith Hamilton, an educator, writer and a historian, was born August 12, 1867 in Dresden, Germany, of American parents and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her father began teaching her Latin when she was seven years old and soon added Greek, French, and German to her curriculum. Hamilton’s education continued at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, and at Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from which she graduated in 1894 with an M.A. degree. The following year, she and her sister Alice went to Germany and were the first women students at the universities of Munich and Leipzich.
Hamilton returned to the United States in 1896 and accepted the position of headmistress of the Bryn Mawr Preparatory School in Baltimore, Maryland. For the next twenty-six years, she directed the education of about four hundred girls per year. After her retirement in 1922, she started writing and publishing scholarly articles on Greek drama. In 1930, when she was sixty-three years old, she published The Greek Way, in which she presented parallels between life in ancient Greece and in modern times. The book was a critical and popular success. In 1932, she published The Roman Way, which was also very successful. These were followed by The Prophets of Israel (1936), Witness to the Truth: Christ and His Interpreters (1949), Three Greek Plays, translations of Aeschylus and Euripides (1937), Mythology (1942), The Great Age of Greek Literature (1943), Spokesmen for God (1949) and Echo of Greece (1957). Hamilton traveled to Greece in 1957 to be made an honorary citizen of Athens and to see a performance in front of the Acropolis of one of her translations of Greek plays. She was ninety years old at the time. At home, Hamilton was a recipient of many honorary degrees and awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Edith Hamilton died on May 31, 1963 in Washington, D.C.

On Goodreads.com

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
by Edith Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never read, or even seen, a book quite so straightforward, compact, and simply written that brings together the mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans (even a little Norse mythology thrown in).

I picked up this book for some beach reading. (I imagine that sounds strange, but I don’t read novels very often.) As I expected, it was dry in parts and entertaining in other parts. Overall, I can’t imagine getting a better introduction to the subject. I feel much better prepared to read the original writers, having some context and overall perspective.

My other goal was to become a better reader and writer. Hamilton’s style is simple and friendly without embellishment. I’m glad because this book could otherwise have been twice the size. I was interested in the content, to plant the seeds of myth and literary allusion that I hope to include in my own writing and to recognize in what I read.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in an overview of Greek and Roman mythology. It’s very well organized and easy to navigate. I read it straight through, but it would also be a great reference on the subject. The index is exhaustive and helpful.

Flat-Fleuron

You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (1942)

C-S-Lewis-GoodreadsThe Screwtape Letters is C. S. Lewis‘s entertaining and clever dramatization of Christian conversion. A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life from the vantage point of Screwtape, a senior tempter in the service of “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C. S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging and humorous account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.

It has become a classic for good reason. C. S. Lewis takes common questions, misunderstandings, and his own objections to Christianity, and answers them using the same rational approach that resonated with him as he crossed the line from unbelief many years prior. Be persistent. When I picked up Mere Christianity the first time, it was like pulling teeth. I put it down after two chapters. A year later, a friend of mine (for whom I have tremendous respect) confided that he reads the book straight through once a year to keep perspective. I thought, “Perhaps I should give this another try.” I did, and I couldn’t put it down! What a difference. It was easy reading, compelling, winsome. Of course, the book hadn’t changed; I had. And then, it when on to radically change the way I approach all other books.

Editorial Reviews

Guardian

“This book is sparkling yet truly reverent, in fact a perfect joy, and should become a classic.”

Observer

“Excellent, hard-hitting, challenging, provoking.”

New York Times Book Review

“C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.”

Christianity Today

“[The Screwtape Letters] show[s] his ability to dramatize: to set forth an attractive vision of the Christian life, proceeding by means of character and plot to narrate an engaging story, everything colorful, vibrant, and active.”
“C. S. Lewis understood, like few in the past century, just how deeply faith is both imaginative and rational.”

From the Back Cover

A milestone in the history of popular theology, The Screwtape Letters is an iconic classic on spiritual warfare and the dynamics of temptation.

This profound and striking narrative takes the form of a series of letters from Screwtape, a devil high in the Infernal Civil Service, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior colleague engaged in his first mission on earth, trying to secure the damnation of a young man who has just become a Christian. Although the young man initially looks to be a willing victim, he changes his ways and is “lost” to the young devil.

Dedicated to Lewis’s friend and colleague J. R. R. Tolkien, The Screwtape Letters is a timeless classic on spiritual conflict and the psychology of temptation which are part of our religious experience.

About the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over one hundred million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

On Goodreads.com


The Screwtape Letters
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Lewis’s clever and creative approach to illustrating the theology of real life. I read The Screwtape Letters before I read Paradise Lost by John Milton. I was even more impressed with Lewis, seeing his inspiration. I highly recommend The Screwtape Letters to any thinking person who is up for an honest intellectual challenge.

TSOA Front Cover 150 x 150You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

Selflessness and Pride

Algot Henge is the former director of coordinated strategy at WeDesign Marketing and is now an independent educational consultant and speaker on coordinating design. She contributes thought-provoking insights across the blogosphere. She loves reading, debating, and witty rapartee. You can also follow her on Twitter.

This letter came in… I felt compelled to share some of her insights about selfishness and pride, as it relates to Ayn Rand and Jesus. Insights from Skye: I’m at college, so when I am home I still go to church. At the last Wesleyan service we went to the message was about selfishness and […]

All God’s Children & Blue Suede Shoes (Crossway Books, 2012)

Every generation faces unique challenges.

The first-century Church had Caesar’s lions and the Colosseum. And, while it might seem like an unlikely comparison, the challenge of living with popular culture may well be as serious as persecution was for the saints of old.

Today we witness the tremendous power of pop culture to set the pace and priorities of our lives. We simply cannot afford to be indifferent about culture’s influence—nor can we escape it, glibly condemn it, or Christianize it. Cultural expert Ken Myers helps us to engage pop culture from a historical and experiential perspective so that we can live in it with wisdom and discernment.

For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket – by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners.

Ayn Rand
For the new Intellectual (New York : Random House, 1961)