George MacDonald is one of the most intriguing figures in the church in the past several centuries. I myself, like many others, have come across his writings and his works thanks to C.S. Lewis and his fondness of this 19th century Scottish pastor and writer. He is most known for his poetry and fantasy writings that spark the imagination and pull out the children in all of us. This book, George MacDonald in the Age of Miracles, is a part of the Hansen Lectureship Series which reflects on the life and work of several British authors (including Lewis and Tolkien).
Larsen has produced three lectures that help us learn from George MacDonald in his historical and religious context. The first highlights how MacDonald, as well as the religious and theological milieu that he lived in, was heavily impacted by the incarnation of Christ. Talk of the wonder and truth of Christmas and the first advent is seen through all of his work. The second takes a look into the religious culture of doubt in 19th century Britain and how this impacted MacDonald’s view. MacDonald viewed doubt as a pathway to authentic faith, and that honest doubt is a step in the right direction. Lastly, we see get a glimpse into how Macdonald sought to reenchant the world he lived in by creating awe-inspiring and wonderful pieces of literature.
What makes this book so intriguing is how it portrays MacDonald. A lot of his faults are exposed here, a long with some of his controversial theological positions. It is a good mix of Victorian literary and religious history and a glimpse into the mind and work of MacDonald, and how these impacted each other.
I’d recommend reading some of MacDonald’s works before reading this book. Being familiar with his writings, even some of his well-known fantasy works, will enrich your journey reading these lectures and will help you further appreciate why Larsen writes what he does.
Grab this book if you love history, especially both literary and religious. It is focused on the life and work of one man, but really does a great job helping to understand the cultural climate of 19th century Victorian Britain. And of course, if you’re a fan of MacDonald, it’s a must have!
*This book was graciously provided by IVPress in exchange for an honest review.
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