By David Jasper (auth.)
The advent to a chain of interdisciplinary titles, either monographs and essays, all for issues of literature, paintings and textuality inside of non secular traditions based upon texts and textual study.
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Yet it would be difficult to define Auden's lullaby as 'Christian' and 'A Prayer for my Son' as 'Non-Christian'. Such distinctions would be dangerously exclusivist, and would judge the poetry simply by what we know, or imagine we know, of the poet- a fallacy of intention. In the end, however, the task of poetry is the imaginative one of looking hard at what is the case and sharpening our perceptions of the truths about humanity. In this task it will often be seen to conform with the great truths of religion which lie at the very centre of our being.
S Did his new understanding of the continuity of myth, learnt from his reading of Frazer's The Golden Bough, simply prove to him the fragmentariness of Christianity, a religion with images significant yet indeterminate? The poet's address to the Creator in the last two stanzas of 'A Prayer For My Son' expresses Christian doctrine with precision rather than indeterminacy. Though You can fashion everything From nothing every day, and teach The morning stars to sing, You have lacked articulate speech To tell Your simplest want, and known, Wailing upon a woman's knee, All of that worst ignominy Of flesh and bone; 14 The Study of Literature and Religion And when through all the town there ran The servants of Your enemy, A woman and a man, Unless the Holy Writings lie, Hurried through the smooth and rough And through the fertile and waste, Protecting, till the danger past With human love.
T9 Lawrence continued to respond to such hymns long after he rejected the 'didacticism and sentimentalism' of religious teaching and the cant of 'Christian dogma'. Keble's hymn affected him with a sense of wonder and mystery; he loved the poetry with a 'natural religious sense', even while despising the Christian doctrine which it was written to serve. Even in hymns, therefore, the art of poetry retains some autonomy, and the definition of 'Christian' in the idea of Christian verse is not easy.
The Study of Literature and Religion: An Introduction by David Jasper (auth.)