Orthodoxy Paperback – Jul 25 2011
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If G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith is, as he called it, a "slovenly autobiography," then we need more slobs in the world. This quirky, slender book describes how Chesterton came to view orthodox Catholic Christianity as the way to satisfy his personal emotional needs, in a way that would also allow him to live happily in society. Chesterton argues that people in western society need a life of "practical romance, the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome." Drawing on such figures as Fra Angelico, George Bernard Shaw, and St. Paul to make his points, Chesterton argues that submission to ecclesiastical authority is the way to achieve a good and balanced life. The whole book is written in a style that is as majestic and down-to-earth as C.S. Lewis at his best. The final chapter, called "Authority and the Adventurer," is especially persuasive. It's hard to imagine a reader who will not close the book believing, at least for the moment, that the Church will make you free. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Whenever I feel my faith going dry again, I wander to a shelf and pick up a book by G. K. Chesterton." ---Philip Yancey --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.See all Product Description
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The world around Mr. Chesterton was rife with Modernism in the early twentieth century. Based on philosophies of the late nineteenth century, religious and political traditions were being questioned. Anarchism, communism, and socialism were the parlor topics of the day; the merely symbolic importance of religion was being settled upon. These are the roots of our post-modern society today in which the meaning of nearly everything (even words, according to literary deconstructionists) is now in doubt. At one point in the chapter entitled "The Suicide of Thought," Mr. Chesterton quips, "We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table." An exaggeration even today, undoubtedly. Still, we have traveled quite a distance philosophically since the era before the World Wars, and "Orthodoxy" is an excellent snapshot of where we've come from.
But be warned: This snapshot captures a lot of active thought. It took me a couple of reads over as many years to get a handle on the structure of the book, and now the rest of it has been becoming clearer to me. Part of the problem is Mr. Chesterton's writing style.Read more ›
Chesterton was a contemporary of Leo Tolstoy, H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw. Much of what he writes is "in answer" to them and their divergent views of the meaning of life.
Chesterton came to a deeply held Christian faith that took its outward expression in his 1922 conversion to Roman Catholicism. Today, Chesterton is best remembered as the creator of the "Father Brown" detective stories, but he was a prolific writer, penning studies of Robert Browning (1903) and Charles Dickens (1906), novels including The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904) and The Man Who Was Thursday (1908), poems, collected in 1927 and essays, collected in Tremendous Trifles (1909) and Come to Think of It (1930).
In the opening chapter of Orthodoxy, Chesterton "eliminates the competition" by skewering competing world-view theories, showing their warts and all. He then describes flawed approaches to life that will lead to despair, in the second chapter, "The Suicide of Thought." Having put erroneous views to rest, for the remainder of the book he describes the central truths of Christianity as the only correct way of understanding creation and human life.
Chesterton portrays himself as one who has traveled all around the world, only to have arrived at home again as if it were some new and strange land. "Home" being the traditions of Christian faith.Read more ›
(...)The orthodoxy Chesterton speaks of is not the Eastern Christianity but traditional Christian doctrine from even before there was a division in the Church. It is akin to Lewis's Mere Christianity in that it is not in any particular denomination but mainly to be found in the early creeds of the Church which the vast majority of Christians acknowledge as authoritative (e.g., Apostles', Nicene).
In response to those who dismiss Chesterton's views as "unscientific" or "outdated," I answer, as Chesterton might, that a strictly empirical method of acknowledging reality is not defensible on strictly empirical grounds, and to assert such is thoroughly narrow-minded and dogmatic, or something to that effect. Chesterton's treatement of foreign peoples may often be characterized by ill-informed or distorted views, but I cannot recall any malice towards them. In our society so eager to be offended, many often overlook the truths within satire, or satirical writing. As for his views just being an excuse to be contrary, if anything he was seeking to be the same, similar to two thousand years of Christianity. As he famously writes "Tradition is the democracy of the dead."
Finally, I believe that any unprejudiced person, while perhaps not agreeing completely, would find it difficult to deny out-of-hand Chesteron's characterizations of man, man's sinful nature, and his wonder at the universe. And at the very least, his style is engaging and Orthodoxy is certainly great reading.
Most recent customer reviews
Anything by G.K. Chesterton is absolutely a delightful read. He covers serious material and I find myself chuckling out lout at the way he handles it. Great stuff!Published 29 days ago by Lucy Adams
Glad to see this on Amazon/Kindle! Everyone who has ever loved Chesterton simply must read it. Over and over again.Published on Feb. 18 2014 by Warren P.
He has a great sense of humour to impart the truth in a way I would never have thought of. I highly recommend it.Published on Sept. 23 2013 by Blanche Crowder
I deeply respect the man's integrity and as a thinker. I hate to admit this but I think he's overrated as a writer. Read morePublished on March 1 2013 by Dmitri Martini
If you are looking to read one of the most gifted writers of the last century, then this is the place to start. I love G.K. Chesterton and this is, perhaps, his best work. Read morePublished on July 15 2012 by Brent Wiley
Chesterton was a gleefully confessed madman and a genius with language, but he's also very "Johnsonian" in his own way--and by that I mean that much like dear Dr. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Cherie Priest
A Catholic friend recommended "Orthodoxy" by way of trying to justify faith. While it is a very elegant and wittily written book, I can't say it meets that mark. Read morePublished on April 10 2004 by Jerry Brito
I myself recently returned to the Catholic church, and I really wanted to like Chesterton's book. And I did *enjoy* it. His style is entertaining, and as a long-time C. S. Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2003 by Evelyn Uyemura
After reading the first paragraph, I thought, "I wish I had written this book."
Chesterton has the gift of thought and the gift of expression, a rare commodity in the age of... Read more