The phrase 'People of the Book' may be the best way to access Ralph Wood's most recent work. Used originally by Muslims to describe both Jews and Christians, the name calls attention to the story-borne essence of Christianity and the Christian call to center one's life 'around the singular Story of God's ordering and reordering of the world' (Wood). It makes perfect sense that a people sustained by story-the Gospel in particular-should produce stories of their own. Truth begets truth; and as St. Augustine observed, 'I must confess that I have learned many things I never knew before.just by writing.' Ralph Wood might add to that confession, 'and reading.' In seven thought-provoking essays, he attends to the themes of baptism, vocation, companionship, martyrdom, hospitality, doubt, and eschatology through perceptive readings of Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, J.R.R. Tolkien, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and Walter Miller. His interpretations of these stories are blessedly free of theological jargon yet rich with the (sometimes surprising and often difficult) wisdom inherent to each. Wood's best gift is reading. Quietly and joyfully, he reveals the Story within each story, teaching by example for the sheer love it, never by rote. 110 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
Literature and Theology is a volume in the Horizons in Theology series. It offers a highly engaging essay on the major concerns and questions regarding literature (fiction and poetry) as it intersects with theology past and present. Ralph Wood is a senior scholar in this field, one who is able to address in a clear and concise style the scope and contours of this question as it relates to theological inquiry and application. He opens the broader lines of discussion in suggestive, evocative, and programmatic ways by focusing on representative and core literary texts. Horizons in Theology serve as supplements and secondary required texts in colleges and seminaries, as well as the interested nonspecialist reader.