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Heroes of the City of Man: A Christian Guide to Select Ancient Literature


Peter Leithart

Book details

Peter Leithart  (PhD, Cambridge) is President of Theopolis Institute in Birmingham, Alabama and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. He is the author of numerous books on theology and literature, including The Baptized Body, Against Christianity, Brightest Heaven of Invention, and Ascent to Love. He has also authored articles in journals such as Pro Ecclesia, Journal of Biblical Literature, Westminster Theological Journal, and First Things. Peter and his wife Noel have ten children and a fetching collection of grandchildren.

AUTHOR: Peter J. Leithart

PAGE COUNT: 394 pages

SIZE: 5.50x8.50

BINDING: Paperback

ISBN 10: 1885767552

ISBN-13: 9781885767554

PUB. DATE: July 15, 1999

Every high school kid must read the pagan classics—and Leithart shows why that goes double for Christians.

Look Inside the Book

To be fully educated, it is necessary to read the great pagan classics of Homer and Virgil and the ancient Greek playwrights. However, many Christians are often disgusted by the barbarity and violence, put off by the emphasis on honor and man-centered glory, and simply baffled by the long and tedious descriptions of battle scenes and elaborate ceremonies. In this book written for high school students, Leithart gives a patient, yet critical examination of some of the greatest classics of ancient literature, including Hesiod's Theogony, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Aechylus' Eumenides, Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus, Euripdes' The Bacchae, Aristophanes' The Birds, and Virgil's Aeneid.

While Leithart expounds the deep and interesting symbolism, tropes, and deeper meanings of these classics, he never forgets the theological themes. The pagans were very concerned with salvation, but it was a salvation that depended above all on man, and thus there was a gaping hole that only the gospel could really fill. Homer, Virgil, and all the pagan poets truly were great, but perhaps what made them so great was that their works showed this hunger for the Gospel. This book is perfect for high school students and includes numerous review and discussion questions for curricular use.

What People Are Saying:

"Leithart doesn't simply discuss the intricacies of the texts; he goes further and allows unique biblical insight to illuminate the conflict between the heroes of the city of man and the city of God. The most obvious virtue of Leithart's book is its scope. In a single volume he provides a defense for the value of reading classical literature, a methodology for integrating that literature with the Christian faith, and a reader's guide to the works of classical literature that a contemporary reader would most benefit from reading." -Leland Ryken, Wheaton College

"With verve and cunning, Leithart centers the reader in a sound theology of story before equipping him to engage ancient texts like The Iliad with profound Biblical and literary insight." -Bruce L. Edwards, Bowling Green State University

"[Leithart] brings out insightful character studies and examinations of the worldviews presented in each work." -Leigh Bortins, Classical Conversations

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