Saturday, December 23, 2006

Essential books for understanding Christianity

George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the author, most recently, of God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, named five "essential books for understanding Christianity" for Opinion Journal, including:
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, translated by Dorothy L. Sayers (Penguin Classics, 1949, 1955, 1957).

Dorothy L. Sayers was far more than the mystery writer who created Lord Peter Wimsey. Her Dante remains among the best, both for the elegance of the translations of the "Inferno," "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" (this last completed by Barbara Reynolds after Miss Sayers's death in 1957) and for the subtle theological intelligence of her introductory commentaries and notes on this greatest of Christian poems, a complex allegory of the breadth of human experience and yearning. At a time when it is frequently suggested that nature--humanity included--is an accident of galactic biochemistry, Sayers's "Divine Comedy" offers a genuinely humanistic alternative: a glimpse (to cite the last phrase of Dante's masterwork) of "the love that moves the sun and the other stars."
Click here for Weigel's four remaining recommendations.

--Marshal Zeringue