Reading: an experience of life more intense and profound

Theologian C.H. Dodd with his best analogy for what reading The Bible should do for you:

It’s place as a whole is rather with the masterpieces of poetry, drama and philosophy, that is, the literature which does not so much impart information but stirs the deeper levels of personality. “Tragedy”, said Aristotle, “effects through pity and fear the purgation of such passions.” The dramatist has experienced life in terms of the suffering that besets it and the spirit that triumphs over the suffering. The compassion and awe that the experience arouses in him he succeeds in conveying to his audience or his readers. Through identifying themselves with his personages in their pitiful and terrible experiences, they undergo an emotional awakening and cleansing. Thus King Lear or Tess of the D’Urbervilles does not instruct us in a theory of life, but makes us sharers in an experience of life more intense and profound than our normal level. We are greater men, potentially, for reading such works.

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