Each essay is interesting enough, but taken as a whole they do not live up to the title.


Greeley, the controversial Catholic sociologist who moonlights as a popular novelist (see Irish Eyes, above), offers a slender

investigation of the Catholic imagination. We are soon presented with a dichotomy between what Greeley claims to be demonstrating about the Catholic imagination and what he actually accomplishes. He would have us believe he has set out to illuminate the deep religious sensibility that votive candles, stained-glass windows, vestments, and incense only hint at—a sensibility Greeley calls "sacramental" (because Catholics see all "created reality" as revealing "the presence of God"). What Greeley in fact provides is not nearly so grand: in a handful of essays on loosely related themes, he examines various Catholic subjects, such as sacred time and salvation. In one chapter, Greeley explores the idea of how the Virgin Mary embodies the maternal aspects of God and suggests that American Catholics tend to have a very positive view of her. (An added tidbit: married couples who are gung-ho about the Virgin Mary also tend to say they are very sexually fulfilled.) In later chapters Greeley considers the role of hierarchy and community in the Catholic imagination. Catholicism, he states, is an intensely communal religion—but it is one where communities are organized hierarchically (although Greeley prefers the less threatening word structure to hierarchy). Nevertheless, Catholics are not simply taking their marching orders from Rome—according to Greeley, the local parish priest is the authority figure to whom most Catholics look. The second chapter features a refreshing discussion of the erotic aspects of religious art. Drawing on the Song of Songs, the writings of Saint John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, and the Book of Tobit, Greeley urges Catholics—and Protestants—to consider erotic art as "quite necessary to a Christian worldview." Other findings, however—like Greeley’s musings on the relationship between church attendance and fine-arts consumption—should be viewed with suspicion. In the end, the book fails to hang together.

Each essay is interesting enough, but taken as a whole they do not live up to the title.

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-520-22085-4

Page Count: 231

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2000

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Worthwhile reference stuffed with facts and illustrations.


A compendium of charts, time lines, lists and illustrations to accompany study of the Bible.

This visually appealing resource provides a wide array of illustrative and textually concise references, beginning with three sets of charts covering the Bible as a whole, the Old Testament and the New Testament. These charts cover such topics as biblical weights and measures, feasts and holidays and the 12 disciples. Most of the charts use a variety of illustrative techniques to convey lessons and provide visual interest. A worthwhile example is “How We Got the Bible,” which provides a time line of translation history, comparisons of canons among faiths and portraits of important figures in biblical translation, such as Jerome and John Wycliffe. The book then presents a section of maps, followed by diagrams to conceptualize such structures as Noah’s Ark and Solomon’s Temple. Finally, a section on Christianity, cults and other religions describes key aspects of history and doctrine for certain Christian sects and other faith traditions. Overall, the authors take a traditionalist, conservative approach. For instance, they list Moses as the author of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) without making mention of claims to the contrary. When comparing various Christian sects and world religions, the emphasis is on doctrine and orthodox theology. Some chapters, however, may not completely align with the needs of Catholic and Orthodox churches. But the authors’ leanings are muted enough and do not detract from the work’s usefulness. As a resource, it’s well organized, inviting and visually stimulating. Even the most seasoned reader will learn something while browsing.

Worthwhile reference stuffed with facts and illustrations.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 978-1-5963-6022-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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The name of C.S. Lewis will no doubt attract many readers to this volume, for he has won a splendid reputation by his brilliant writing. These sermons, however, are so abstruse, so involved and so dull that few of those who pick up the volume will finish it. There is none of the satire of the Screw Tape Letters, none of the practicality of some of his later radio addresses, none of the directness of some of his earlier theological books.

Pub Date: June 15, 1949

ISBN: 0060653205

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1949

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