The Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Christian Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays


Peter Leithart

This book is a Christian introduction to Shakespeare for high school students and includes analysis, questions, and reviw for six of Shakespeare's most meaningful (and enjoyable) plays.

"Shakespeare was, as Caesar says of Cassius, 'a great observer,' able to see and depict patterns of events and character. He understood how politics is shaped by the clash of men with various colorings of self-interest and idealism, how violence breeds violence, how fragile human beings create masks and disguises for protection, how schemers do the same for advancement, how love can grow out of hate and hate out of love.

Dare anyone say that these insights are irrelevant to living in the real world? For many in an older generation, the Bible and the Collected Shakespeare were the two indispensable books, and thus their sense of life and history was shaped by the best and best-told stories. And they were the wiser for it.

This book by theologian Peter Leithart is written for high school students and includes analyses of six of Shakespeare's plays (Henry V, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Much Ado About Nothing), as well as numerous review and discussion questions for anyone who wishes to incorporate them into their high school curriculum.

What People Are Saying:

"Brightest Heaven of Invention by Peter Leithart purports to be a Christian guide to six Shakespearean plays. But it is far more than that. In addition to providing an excellent introduction to Henry V, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, and Taming of the Shrew, it also is a bracing tonic of history, theology, literary theory, social criticism, and practical application. I have been a student of Shakespeare for years, but I have never had a more able or enjoyable instructor than Mr. Leithart." -George Grant, WORLD magazine

"Leithart's walk through six Shakespeare plays is written especially for high-school level course, but older students will benefit as well." -Leigh Bortins, Founder of Classical Conversations

"Many Christians shy away from Shakespeare because of concerns about witches, ghosts, murders, and other elements that occur in his plays. Peter Leithart presents these studies of six of Shakespeare's plays from a Christian point of view. He shows how these possibly objectionable elements are used to illustrate eternal truths in keeping with Scripture.... This is far more than the superficial treatment typical of must study guides. It gets into philosophy, history, culture, and other significant factors." -Cathy Duffy, author of 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum

"a refreshing change. [Leithart's] writing is a pleasure to read and his ideas are insightful and well developed. Leithart presents an overview of six Shakespearean plays from a Christian perspective. However, this book is far from a typical Christian literary analysis. Leithart opens the book with a thoughtful discussion of literary study. His approach to literature is intelligent, convicting, and gracious. Only after fully explaining his views on literary study does he examine the plays.... He provides wonderful insights, helpful contextual information, questions, and resources. His writing is meaty, and he leads his readers through the plays slowly, pointing out biblical themes and images in the playwright’s work." -Emily Adams, Homeschooling Today

"Whether used independently by one student or used in a group, the Christian interpretations in Brightest Heaven of Invention make it a valuable guide in the homeschool." -Karen Andreola, Homeschool Highlights

Peter Leithart  (PhD, Cambridge) is President of Theopolis Institute in Birmingham, Alabama and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. He is the author of numerous books on theology and literature, including The Baptized Body, Against Christianity, Brightest Heaven of Invention, and Ascent to Love. He has also authored articles in journals such as Pro Ecclesia, Journal of Biblical Literature, Westminster Theological Journal, and First Things. Peter and his wife Noel have ten children and a fetching collection of grandchildren.

Look Inside the Book

AUTHOR: Peter J. Leithart

PAGE COUNT: 288 pages

SIZE: 5x8"

BINDING: Paperback

ISBN 10: 1885767234

ISBN-13: 9781885767233

RELEASE DATE: June 1, 1998