September 22: Why read old stuff? Who really cares?

On September 22, the first meeting of my new small group will discuss, “Why read old stuff?  Who really cares?”

This is really the fundamental question facing anyone who is curious at any level about Classic Christianity, for even to engage with with the devotional practices of those who go before us, we must read old stuff.  A portion of one’s journey into the Great Tradition can be spent with art, traditional liturgy, old music, and suchlike, but a significant portion will be spent reading, unearthing, evaluating, discussing old texts.

So what is the value in reading old texts?

On Tuesday, our first guide to this question will be GK Chesterton and his essay “On Reading” from The Common Man. I have posted it on the website here.

The second guide will be CS Lewis and his “Introduction” to On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius (published by SVS Press, 1977).  This essay is apparently available online along with the entire text of On the Incarnation!  It sometimes appears in Lewis anthologies as something like, “On Reading Old Books,” or “Why Read Old Books.”

Once we have read these and discussed a bit the why of reading old books, John Wesley will stand up and help us see how to read, we shall read part of Wesley’s introduction to The Christian’s Pattern, his abridgement of The Imitation of Christ.

I trust that the evening will be excellent, thought-provoking, and challenging.


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