[Milton-L] "the only great Christian writer this nation has produced"

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Thu Jan 21 14:14:59 EST 2010

The assumption below seems to be functioning like an ideology, expressing an
expectation that runs contrary to all observed evidence (J.R.R. Tolkein,
O'Connor, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, Bunyan, the author of the Shepherd's Play,
those who painted icons, etc.) and to the expressed opinion of authors such
as O'Connor (in Mystery and Manners).  Since the elements of every story,
novel, or poem do not necessarily involve the elements of orthodoxy, there's
no reason that orthodoxy should either impede or help the creative writer.
The opinion expressed below seems to proceed from an assumption that a truly
orthodox writer will only write about the subject of his or her orthodoxy
strictly within confines defined by that orthodoxy.  Yes, that would be a
doctrinaire fiction indeed, and probably quite dull, but even that can be
creative.  Creativity involves a mode of expression, not the content of

The assumption gets even more absurd when we apply it beyond Christian
orthodoxies.  Surely Brecht was a poor dramatist because he was an orthodox
communist, and we know of no examples of brilliantly creative works by
orthodox Jews...

Jim R

On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 2:06 PM, Dr. Larry Gorman <larry at eastwest.edu>wrote:

>  I agree with Hannibal about the relation between greatness and
> orthodoxy.  It seems to me that an orthodox imaginative can explore
> creation, sin, atonement, and grace.  The trinity seems the kind of point
> best left to theologians.  I would think that orthodoxy is a structuring and
> limiting principle for the imagination, which the imagination stretches and
> subverts.  A really orthodox writer would be doctrinaire.
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