Wrestling with God: The Meditations of Richard Marius
Historian, novelist, and masterful teacher Richard Marius struggled with religious belief throughout his life. His very devout mother taught him to memorize the Bible from a very early age and influenced him to make a commitment to enter the ministry when he was a senior in high school. However, during his first year at the University of Tennessee, his faith was shaken by a reading assignment in freshman English--an essay in which the author argues that the universe is purposeless and meaningless. After receiving a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, Marius attended graduate school at Yale University to study Renaissance and Reformation history, receiving a PhD in history with a dissertation on Sir Thomas More. During his years as a student, he occasionally held the position of supply pastor, but, after graduation from Yale, he decided to enter the academic world as a history professor. And he continued to preach when the opportunity arose. Wrestling with God is a collection of twenty-three sermons or meditations, delivered in a variety of settings, and spanning Richard Marius's adult life from the late 1950s until a few months before his death. Many of them were delivered at Morning Prayers, a daily service in the Appleton Chapel of the Memorial Church at Harvard University. In these selections, he explores the questions of faith and doubt, belief and unbelief, good and evil. His explications are informed by an eclectic knowledge of the Bible, art and architecture, music, literature, history, philosophy and theology, politics and current events, travel, and languages. A skeptical humanist, Marius nevertheless was infused with his own kindof religious feeling, and his struggle to find meaning and purpose in his life will resonate with all readers who struggle with the ultimate questions of existence.
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