Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Arts
“Jerram Barrs offers a compelling Christian defense of the imagination as a vehicle of truth and of the need to reclaim an imitative (as opposed to a self-expressive) view of the arts. He not only quotes C. S. Lewis wisely, but has written a book of which Lewis would have approved.”See All
Professor in English, Scholar in Residence, and Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities, Houston Baptist University; author, Restoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C. S. Lewis
“In a clear and attractive style, Jerram Barrs writes with passion about the Echoes of Eden in the arts, which are so central to our humanity, whatever our beliefs. Graciously and with wisdom, he picks up a conversation that has already included such Christian thinkers as John Calvin, Dorothy L. Sayers, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. Illustrations that he draws from the fiction of Lewis, Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, the still enormously popular Jane Austen, and others make even more vivid his insightful reflections. Reading his gift of a book is an enriching and inspiring experience not to be missed.”See All
author, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend and C. S. Lewis: A Biography of Friendship
“When a lawyer asked Jesus, Who is my neighbor? Jesus didnt preach a sermon; he told a story, and with it he disclosed a profound truth. In Echoes of Eden, Jerram Barrs shows us how novelists, playwrights, and poetsmuch like Jesusopen our eyes and broaden our understanding. He shows us how, by creating worlds, people, problems, and circumstances, great writers put us in touch with the human condition: the struggles and joys, as well as the grief and great satisfactions. In these few pages, Barrs shows us why, especially in the twenty-first century, we need good books: they help us become fully human.”See All
Editor, byFaith magazine; author, Safe at Home
“This is a marvelous book for Christians who wish to think well and biblically about culture. Professor Barrss thesisthat human cultural production always has its genesis in something I have for years called the Edenic memoryis spot on. By providing a careful theological analysis of the origins of culture, the book teaches us how to live wisely and rightly in a world overflowing with cultural artifacts. Barrss observation on the nature and role of fantasy in the Harry Potter chapter is particularly thoughtful, and his chapter on how we are to judge the arts is as fine as anything Ive read on the subject.”See All
Associate Professor of Renaissance and Reformation, The Masters College; author, Meaning at the Movies
“This is a wonderful book, especially for those who want to enhance their knowledge of how the church should view the arts. Jerram Barrs brings an intellectually informed and profoundly pastoral approach to confront the misunderstanding and animosity that frequently exist between evangelical Christians and popular contemporary literature such as the Harry Potter series. This book is a must read for anyone who has a burden to see the creation as it is reflected in todays pop culture.”See All
Dean of Students, Covenant Theological Seminary
“One of the obvious virtues of this book is its balance between theory and literary criticism of specific authors. The first five chapters are a carefully constructed Christian aesthetic. The second half of the book applies the theory to five authors. The splendid organization of the book makes it easy to read, and there is an admirable range in the subjects covered, as the five theoretic chapters systematically discuss the questions that Christians really ask about the arts, while the addition of Shakespeare and Jane Austen to Christian fantasy writers provides a pleasing scope. Finally, the book has a latent apologetic angle that I liked, not only in the theoretic chapters with their defense of the arts, but also in the chapters on specific authors, as Barrs explains why he is an enthusiast for each of them.”See All
Professor of English, Wheaton College
“Evangelical Christianity has long been conflicted over the arts and in particular the literary artistry of such lights as Austen, Tolkien, and Rowling. Some justify such literature only insofar as it functions as an elaborately coded gospel tract. Others, despairing of any Christian rationale, confess such writings to be a distraction, a guilty pleasure, or even satanic. Now, with his typical blend of profundity and lucidity, Jerram Barrs clears away the clutter of much-touted but ultimately muddled arguments and sets forth a clear framework for any Christians interested in thinking biblically about art, not least those Christians who like to spend time in such places as Hogwarts or Middle-earth. Turn the page and prepare to worship!”See All
Dean, Wheaton College Graduate School
“For as long as I have known him, Jerram Barrs has passionately loved the arts. In Echoes of Eden he lets us share his passion by allowing us a glimpse of the beauty, truth, and grace he sees in the imaginative work of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, William Shakespeare, and Jane Austen. If he stopped there, this would be a book worth reading, but he digs far deeper, framing our understanding of the arts within the biblical worldview. From that perspective, human creativity is a good gift of God in a broken world, an expression of the image of the Creator in which we are made. Because of the brokenness, Barrs outlines eleven broad categories by which to judge a piece of art, since Gods image is always portrayed in ways that are flawed and incomplete. I hope Echoes of Eden is read and discussed widely by Christians. The truth of its message can help nurture a Christian imagination, restore the arts to their proper place in the church, and help us frame the unchanging gospel in a way that will cause a postmodern world to consider its claims.”See All
Director, Ransom Fellowship; Visiting Instructor in Practical Theology, Covenant Seminary
“Jerram Barrs clearly loves the Christian vision of being human, and he loves human beings of all sorts. In this book he helps us to enjoy the fundamentally human activity of the arts, showing us how all great art contains elements of the true story: the story of the good creation, the fallen world, and the longing for redemption. The chapters giving us a tour of great Christian writersLewis, Tolkien, Rowling, Shakespeare, and Austenbubble over with passionate delight in these authors artistic and moral achievements.”See All
C. John Collins
Professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary; author, Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?
“Echoes of Eden is the most accessible, readable, and yet theologically robust work on Christianity and the arts that you will be able to find. It is biblical, theologically sound, filled with examples, and edifying. It anticipates and answers well all the most common questions that evangelical people ask about the arts. I highly recommend it.”See All
Timothy J. Keller
Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City; author, The Reason for God
Books at a Glance
Source: The Gospel Coalition
Art is all around you. Yet few of us can explain why certain movies, books, plays, and songs resonate so profoundly within us, and more importantly, how they attest to God's character.
Professor Jerram Barrs gives us the three key elements for evaluating great art. He then puts those qualifiers to the test by investigating five of the world's most influential authors—empowering us to better understand the character of God and helping others to know him too.
Case quantities only: USA orders will be drop-shipped directly from the publisher. Delivery will be delayed from our regular shipping schedule. Sales tax will be charged for shipments to the following states: CA, GA, KY, WA, LA, NJ, MI, RI, MA, NC, TN, IL, OH, and PA.