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Orthodoxy (Wheaton Literary Series) [Hardcover]

G.K. Chesterton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1994 087788630X 978-0877886303
A Timeless Argument for Traditional Christianity
If you think orthodoxy is boring and predictable, think again. In this timeless classic, G. K. Chesterton, one of the literary giants of the twentieth century, presents a logical and personal reasoning for Christianity in model apologetic form. Gilbert Keith Chesterton was a self-described pagan at age 12 and totally agnostic by age 16. Yet, his spiritual journey ultimately led to a personal philosophy of orthodox, biblical Christianity. The account of his experiences, Orthodoxy bridges the centuries and appeals to today's readers who face the same challenges of materialism, self-centeredness, and progress.

"Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all. And faith mean believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all."
--G.K. Chesterton

A unique book, Orthodoxy addresses our faith struggles and how we communicate our faith to others. Through philosophy, poetry, reason and humor Chesterton leads us on a literary journey toward truth.

This edition includes a foreword by Philip Yancey who, like C. S. Lewis and other leading Christian writers, found this book to be pivotal his Christian experience. Yancey credits Chesterton with helping to revive and define his faith.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Shaw (Harold) Publishers,U.S. (31 Dec 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087788630X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877886303
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 13.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,420,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Philip Yancey's 'desert island book'! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

G. K. Chesterton ranks alongside C. S. Lewis as one of the twentieth century's leading Christian thinkers and writers. He is perhaps best known for his much-loved Father Brown series of detective stories.
Philip Yancey, who introduces this book, is editor of Christianity Today and himself a bestselling author.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Portly, fun loving, witty G.K. Chesterton decided to write this book as a companion volume to his book HERETICS. Since HERETICS had criticised contemporary philosophies, ORTHODOXY was written to present an alternative viewpoint, and is therefore both affirmative in tone and autobiographical in many places. A sampling of his chapter titles gives some idea of Chesterton's sense of fun as well as his unusual approach to the matter of Christianity. Chapter one is "In Defense of Everything Else" (one pictures Chesterton with a whimsical, impish smile on his face as he wrote this). There are also chapters on "The Suicide of Thought", "The Ethics of Elfland" (a really superb chapter), "The Maniac", and "The Paradoxes of Christianity". In this easily readable book (only 160 pages in the small paperback edition), Chesterton shows that theological reflections and philosophical ruminations need be neither boring nor incomprehensible. This was jolly good fun to read, being both funny and intellectually stimulating. Highly recommended.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orthodoxy and democracy 23 Jan 1998
By A Customer
G. K. Chesterton's book "Orthodoxy" argues forcefully that democratic reforms and revolutions must be founded on a fixed ideal, that the false concept of "progress" impedes real progress, that a doctrine of "Original Sin" is the only real basis for political equality, and many other things much worth thinking about. I highly recommend his chapters "The Suicide of Thought" and "The Ethics of Elfland" for a wonderful critique of modern philosophy. His style is superlative. Reading Chesterton is a joy.
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84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FRUSTRATINGLY GOOD 30 Jan 2004
By Michael JR Jose VINE VOICE
Chesterton's books often defy reviewing and 'Orthodoxy' is probably the prime instance of the class. The dilemma is how to praise it in a five-star mode, without burying it for its faults—I not being a skilled panegyrist or spin doctor. So, the bad news first, and I hope you bear with me.
While it is fair to say that this is a very rewarding read in the long run, I admit that even as an avid and omnivorous reader it took me about five passes to feel I grasped all of it, and I would still approach an exam question on it with trepidation. It is also dated in places, but this is trivial. Chesterton is not so much a windbag, or really repetitious, but plain garrulous. He himself admits that this is 'a sort of slovenly autobiography', and that it details the intellectual and emotional path that brought him to the orthodoxy of the church and the Apostles' Creed in a 'set of pictures rather than a series of deductions'. Even worse, our genial genius says that he sets out to write all this personal history of theology and soul-forming for 'any average reader'. It is true. He uses very few difficult terms and technicalities. But you cannot study this like a textbook or read it like a novel, unless it be taken as on odd species of the stream of consciousness type. He does not so much write as think out loud on the paper. It requires that you absorb his meaning by a sort of spiritual osmosis. And of course to do that you have to open your heart as well as your mind, which implies considerable trust in the author. An element of humility helps, as well as some patience. Is that brainwashing? In no way: the whole time you have the option to disagree or stop reading. After all, (as he would say), it is only a book which enables you to meet the author by your own free will.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Those who have read Chesterton realize that he is the sort of man with whom the world is blessed every 100 years or so. A master writer and wry philosopher, Chesterton provides in his book Orthodoxy one of the best summaries available concerning the life in Christ. Even though he found God calling him to the Church of Rome, readers from a wide range of backgrounds - evangelical Protestants of all "flavors", fundamentalists, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopalians, Baptists, Pentacostalists, Lutherans, and yes, Roman Catholics - will discover new insights into their walk with the Christ.
Chesterton has the ability to make us see things anew. In Orthodoxy, he helps us to see the Church in a new way, and he helps us to see afresh the One who founded His Church - Jesus Christ. The book is not an apologetic for Roman Catholicism, but rather one for orthodox Christianity itself.
Chesterton is simultaneously a master of the written word and one who knows his Master. To borrow a phrase (applied to something else, but applicable here) of Richard John Neuhaus, Chesterton is a "singular grace note in God's creative purpose". For those who have not read Chesterton, Orthodoxy is probably the best place to start, followed by The Everlasting Man, followed by the delighful (and insightful) Father Brown stories, followed by ...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read before you die 8 April 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary book, a definite `must read' before you die. I was expecting a sort of early version of C.S. Lewis, a robust defence of traditional Christianity. It is much more than that. Whereas Lewis gently takes you along with a persuasive argument, Chesterton pulls you into a room full of mirrors and out of the box thinking, not just in the paragraphs, but almost in every sentence there's an irony, a contradiction, a reflection saying something you don't quite expect. Take the opening sentence of Chapter Two, entitled, `The Maniac' - `Thoroughly worldly people never understand even the world; they rely all together on a few cynical maxims that are not true.' As he gets into the argument, the crackling irony continues. A worldly maxim is that the man who believes himself will go far, the truth: `The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums'. Of course he's right, all the way through, and even if you don't agree with him, the polemic is superb. In this chapter he establishes that materialism, the void, makes men mad, and what keeps people sane is mysticism, the irony that `man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand'. Every chapter is like a glass of cold water in a desert, but probably the best was `The Ethics of Elfland' Again we start with mirrors - `The vision is always a fact. It is the reality that is often a fraud.' And so soon he is turning our clichéd way of thinking on its head by passionately arguing for fairy tales, superior both to religion and rationalism, `the sunny country of commonsense'. This is not just to do with the morals you get from the tales, but that they are more accurate in their observations than science. The answer to both why eggs turn to birds, and Cinderella's mice to horses is the same: magic. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Straw-man on Buddhism
Chesterton is a clever entertaining writer, who has a lot of interesting things to say about society and the ways of the world, but has a mistaken view of Buddhism: Jesus, like... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. J. Ozanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Thought-provoking
An interesting 'stumbled upon' gem. Written as though Chesterton were sitting having a cosy conversation with you, this book made me think about my past exposure to religion and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by millem
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful but perhaps Rambles a Little
I did find this book helpful, however, I found his writing style a little hard to follow. I found he rambles a little. That isn't to say his writings are not intelligent. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2012 by Dave Kinsella
3.0 out of 5 stars An afternoon with an intriguing uncle
I was delighted and surprised with how weird The Man Who Was Thursday turned out to be, having always thought of G. Read more
Published on 17 Aug 2011 by R G
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece.
Brilliant and flawless: most useful for believers that want to review the main reasons behind the Faith in a very original and entertaining way.
Thank you G.K. Chesterton!
Published on 4 Jun 2010 by Marco Bonora
4.0 out of 5 stars C.S.Lewis with a sense of humour
If you have read the more famous C.S.Lewis' books on philosophy and theology then you may be in the market for some more from the period and genre. Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2010 by Mr S. E. Weeks
5.0 out of 5 stars A head and heart defence of faith
Orthodoxy is a work wit and exuberance. I wouldn't have discovered it if it hadn't been for Phillip Yancey's excellent chapter on him in his book `Soul Survivor. Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2009 by Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars Pointedly prolix
Chesterton is hard to take at times; his irritating metaphors and play on words can grind one down. But, what is extraordinary is that this book is so relevant to the "now". Read more
Published on 23 July 2008 by Aquinas
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the classic I expected....
I bought this book with a great sense of anticipation - it is often cited and comes highly recommended. The edition I read had a foreword by Philip Yancey. Read more
Published on 19 Jan 2008 by David Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading
This is a fascinating book, which, like all good things, requires initial effort to adjust oneself to the very particular style of the author and an awareness of it's place in... Read more
Published on 5 April 2007 by J. Coleman
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