Category: Christian Life & Discipleship
What do John Chrysostom, John Cassian, John of Damascus, John Calvin, John Knox, John of the Cross, John Owen, John Bunyan, John Wesley, and John Henry Newman all have in common? No prizes for spotting the obvious fact that they share the same Christian name! But that's not all. Before you drive yourself to total distraction trying to find some common theological or spiritual thread, however, let me enlighten you, For, quite simply, they all feature in Tony Lane's latest book — together with eighty or so other notables from the first to the nineteenth century.
The Christian Classics Collection is a selection of extracts from a hundred of the great writings which form part of our Christian heritage. So vast is that heritage that one of the major challenges, acknowledged by the author/compiler, was to determine which works to include and which to leave out. Significantly, the final choice is based as much on his assessment of the usefulness of the works as on their importance. The result is to provide an invaluable resource which brings together in one volume a wealth of devotional and theological writing, from a wide range of perspectives and traditions.
Each extract is preceded by an explanation. This provides a biographical sketch of the extract's author, noting the wider historical context where relevant, and offering brief comment on the work from which the extract is taken. This is Tony Lane's forte. He is on very solid ground, his thorough grasp of historical theology having already been ably demonstrated in earlier writings. These expert introductions contribute greatly to the reader's ability to engage with the extracts presented and consequently to benefit from them. They are a real bonus. Valuable in their own right, they greatly enhance what even without them would be a collection worth buying.
This is a book one can read from cover to cover, or simply dip into. Either way, it really is a treasure; four hundred pages worth. I welcome this resource, with its unique scope and approach, and I share with its author the hope that it will 'whet the appetite of the reader' to go on and read some of the classics themselves. That is the stated purpose of this collection. It has already succeeded in principle with this reviewer, who has added a couple of hitherto unread classics to his 'must-read' list. Buy it. Read it. This really is a book that could change your life!Order from Eden.co.uk | Order from St Andrew's Bookshops
Chris Jack, April 2005
From a review previously published on the London School of Theology website.
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