Sunday, July 4, 2010

Religion and the Arts

Increase Mather (Discourse Concerning the Danger of Apostasy, an election sermon preached before the Massachusetts General Assembly in 1677, published in A Call From Heaven (1679)):

Some have well and truly observed that the interest of religion and good literature hath risen and fallen together.

Martin Luther, Letter No. 580 to Eobanus Hessus (March 29, 1523), in Preserved Smith and Charles M. Jacobs, trans. and ed., Luther's Correspondence and Other Contemporary Letters, Vol. 2, pp. 175-176:

I am convinced that without knowledge of literature pure theology cannot at all endure, just as heretofore, when letters have declined and lain prostrate, theology, too, has wretchedly fallen and lain prostrate; nay, I see that there has never been a great revelation of the Word of God unless he has first prepared the way by the rise and prosperity of languages and letters, as though they were John the Baptists. There is, indeed, nothing that I have less wish to see done against our young people than that they should omit to study poetry and music. Certainly it is my desire that there shall be as many poets and rhetoricians as possible, because I see that by these studies, as by no other means, people are wonderfully fitted for the grasping of sacred truth and for handling it skillfully and happily. To be sure, "Wisdom maketh the tongues of those who cannot speak eloquent," but the gift of tongues is not be despised. Therefore I beg of you that at my request (if that has any weight) you will urge your young people to be diligent in the study of poetry and rhetoric. As Christ lives, I am often angry with myself that my age and my manner of life do not leave me any time to busy myself with the poets and orators. I had bought me a Homer that I might become a Greek. But I have worried you enough with these little things.

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    We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for Blog
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    be submitted online here Submit your interview.
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