Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Three Philosophies of Life

Three Philosophies of Life is a wonderful set of meditations centered on the biblical books of Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Songs. Peter Kreeft does not attempt to write commentary about the books or delve into critical debates about composition, dating, etc. Rather he approaches these three books as books of philosophy, and seeks to understand them in light of what they can teach us about the human condition and the life of the Christian. He focuses on the three books as representing three philosophies of life, and, since these are inspired scriptures, “no more perfect or profound book has been written for any one of these three philosophies of life.

I really appreciated this book and recommend it to any Christian who wants to get a deeper understanding of the wisdom literature of Scripture and to ponder how this literature can be used to examine our lives “under the sun.” I would quibble with Kreeft’s understanding of Ecclesiastes, as I think that Joy at the End of the Tether by Douglas Wilson presents a more coherent view of the book, but that doesn’t mean that his thoughts are not worthwhile and insightful. Kreeft is strongest when discussing the book of Job, and I will probably return to this time and time again as I walk through the book of Job with my high school students.


Erica said…
I heard a podcast on Ancient Faith radio where the speaker discussed Job in light of ancient Middle Eastern poetic literature, which was often written in the form of "disputes" between various people or objects. I'll try to find the link and get it to you.
Rick said…
There were several poems like that in the ancient world. There was an Egyptian poem about a man and his ka, there was the Babylonian theodicy, and there was an Akkadian poem too, but I can't remember the off the top of my head what it's called. Kreeft doesn't really put the Job in it's historical context in this book though. He's more interested in the devotional/philosophical aspect of the book. I'd love to hear the podcast if you've got the link.