Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Quote of the Day: gentle gospel?

Dorothy Sayers, introduction to The Man Born to be King, 1943:
[T]his story is a very great story indeed, and deserves to be taken seriously. It is often taken, and treated, with a gingerly solemnity: but that is what honest writers call frivolous treatment.

Not Herod, not Caiaphas, not Pilate, not Judas ever contrived to fasten upon Jesus Christ the reproach of insipidity; that final indignity was left for pious hands to inflict. To make of His story something that could neither startle, nor shock, nor terrify, nor excite, nor inspire a living soul is to crucify the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame. And if anybody imagines that its conventional presentation has of late been all that it should be, let him stop the next stranger in the street and ask what effect is has had on him. Or let him look at the world to which this Gospel has been preached for close on twenty centuries: Si calvarium,
si sepulchrum requiris, circumspice.
Let me tell you, good Christian people, an honest writer would be ashamed to treat a nursery tale as you have treated the greatest drama in history: and this in virtue, not of his faith, but of his calling.

You have forgotten, perhaps, that it is, first and foremost, a story - a true story, the turning-point of history, "the only thing that has ever really happened".

And that from a Roman Catholic.

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