Christianity’s Contributions: Cultural artifacts (Part 2)

This series of blogs continues to chronicle the contributions Christianity made to the culture at large.  Today we focus on literature. While this is not an exhaustive list, the following are some milestones in the field of literature written by Christians.

  1. The City of God by St. Augustine (354-430)

 A contrast of the “City of Man” and the “City of God”

  1. An Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation by St. Bede (673-735)

The first history of the Christian church in England; the first to use the concept of “A.D.”

  1. Opus Majus (Major Work) by Roger Bacon (1214-1294)

The first to argue that the natural world needs to be studied by the empirical method

  1. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

– A journey through life to the eternal state

  1. 5. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)

Pilgrims telling stories on a journey

  1. An Open Letter to Christian Nobility by Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Introducing the modern concept of the separation of church and state

  1. Utopia by Thomas More (1478-1535)

A fable mocking utopian thinking due to man’s corruption

  1. Astronomia Nova (The New Astronomy) by Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

– A work stating that planets orbit elliptically, not circularly; planets move faster closer to the Sun

  1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1628-1688)

Pilgrim traveling from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City

  1. Paradise Lost by John Milton (1608-1674)

            – Satan’s and Man’s fall with the promise of a Messiah

  1. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1723-1790)

– Advocating a free market economy, free of government control

  1. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)

 The history of Rome

  1. Faust by Johann Goethe (1749-1832)

Faust sells his soul to the devil for happiness

  1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Christmas is a time for goodwill and giving

  1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

– Th evils of slavery

  1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

 The conflict of doubt and faith

  1. Ben-Hur by Lewis Wallace (1827-1905)

– A falsely accused man’s journey from the galleys to being an eyewitness of Christ

  1. The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber (1864-1920)

Hard work, thrift, and personal responsibility gave rise to capitalism

  1. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

            – Christianity makes sense and is useful for daily life

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