This book has set out to explore certain relationships between religion and literature, and has attempted to do so by assessing the kinds of value we might attach to the idea of the person. I have suggested that today’s Western secular culture can make a profitable engagement with the most humanising aspects of its own spiritual inheritance by deploying the tools of literary criticism as a means of coming to understand that inheritance. ‘Religion’ might then appear a less specialised or private behaviour than is suggested by the supposed neutrality towards the churches of the secular state. Literature in turn might seem the secular custodian of values latent in a culture that cannot now easily call them by their old Christian names. This is not to say that all literature is religion in disguise, or that religion is simply equatable with the literary. For the religious person, literature will seem to indulge the imagination without leading to definite beliefs or praxis; for the literary sensibility, the dogmas and truth-claims of religion will offend against the complexities of experience that imagination sets before us. In short, there is a point at which religion and literature must agree to separate agendas.
KeywordsHuman Person Divine Nature Spiritual Discourse Supposed Neutrality Separate Agenda
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