Great works in the Western literary tradition are incomprehensible apart from Christianity. One cannot understand Dante, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Coleridge, Dostoevsky or Dickinson without understanding the Christian faith that these writers assumed, professed or resisted. That much is evident to almost any student of the humanities.
Lucy Beckett is not just any student. Her claim that these writers make sense only “in the light of Christ” is not a historical observation but a theological assertion. The value of their works, she maintains—“that is to say, their truthfulness, beauty and goodness”—rests “in their relation to the absolute truth, beauty and goodness that are one in God and that are definitively revealed to the world in Christ.” Countless readers are justifiably attracted to these texts because, finally, they reflect some truth about God.