Christ the Life: A Gospel Psalm (Hardcover)
The Life of Christ As It’s Never Been Told Before
Every scene, in wondrous prose, comes to life anew in this powerful book.
How might a literary artist write the incomparable story of Christ for our time? God said so much in the life of his Son, our perfect Savior and his fullest Word. The most beautiful poem in the world occurred when God spoke his Word in time: God’s divine poem performed, as old Simeon says, “in the sight of all nations.”
As readers walk through these pages, sensory detail brings life to the story of Jesus in Roman-occupied Judea of the first century, his words and life unfolding across the major scenes of the Gospels with renewed significance. Christ the Life tells the story of “the consolation of the ages” in a fresh and compelling way to the next generation.
About the Author
Thomas L. Martin is professor and chair of English at Wheaton College in Illinois. He is the author of Poiesis and Possible Worlds, co-author of The Renaissance and the Postmodern, editor of Reading the Classics with C. S. Lewis, and co-editor of Reading for Life. He is also author of various articles on Renaissance literature, literary theory, and literature of the fantastic.
“Christ the Life is replete with rough-hewn fragments, like the quick notes of a man entranced by a vision and needing to get it all down, gradually, echo by echo and image by image. These rise into the full music of wonder and praise.” —Thomas Gardner, author of John in the Company of Poets
“I completed ‘The Life’ last night. I imagine reading this devotionally to my family over the coming years and decades. What better way to cultivate a love for Christ in them? So Scripture saturated. So imaginative and yet faithful to the text—not an easy balance to strike.” —Garrett League, Research Scientist, Cornell University
“At once both a fresh and faithful reading of the gospel story. The narrative rhythms compel the reader forward. The poetic insights embedded within the narrative cast the vision beyond the horizon of the moment to peer more deeply into the eternal truths unfolding within the story. The result is a radically fresh (and refreshing) meditation on the gospel itself.” —P. Andrew Montgomery, Associate Professor of Classics, Samford University
“It is an intellectual and spiritual joy to read Martin’s poems, but ‘The Life’ amazes by the way it incarnates timeless complexity into realist simplicity, subtle nuances tensed to surprise the reader. Among its principal strengths are the embedded allusions providing a parallel contextual bridge between the Old and New Testaments, just as Christ does in the Gospels. Incarnational words crystallize a connection between past and present (the simultaneous, paradoxical present of Jesus and the reader) and a future union. Whatever audience it receives here, I’m reminded of what Gerard Manley Hopkins said about Wordsworth’s Immortality Ode: that there is a greater appreciative audience in heaven, something Milton himself broaches in Lycidas.” —Steve Blakemore, Professor Emeritus of English Literature, Florida Atlantic University
“Some commentaries on the life of Christ drown in jargon even as they attempt to be relevant, or obscure in historical arcana as they pursue some new theological speculation. Tom Martin’s subtle and stirring ‘The Life’ recreates the story of Jesus for readers as its meditative, literary language puts them back in first-century Palestine. What might be long familiar scenes come to life in fresh language that delivers the original’s power, poignance, and pathos. The images are unforgettable and the spiritual insight invigorating. Somewhere, George Herbert is smiling.” —Duke Pesta, Associate Professor of English Literature, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh