21 Astonishing Leland Ryken Quotes

Leland Ryken is a professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois. A number of his works revolve around the study of classic literature from a Christian perspective including his own literary writing titled ‘The Christian Imagination.’ Here is a look at some of the most notable Leland Ryken quotes ever documented.

“A Christian philosophy of literature begins with the same agenda of issues that any philosophy of literature addresses. Its distinctive feature is that it relates these issues to the Christian faith.”

“For the Puritans, the God-centered life meant making the quest for spiritual and moral holiness the great business of life.”

“In Puritan thinking, the Christian life was a heroic venture, requiring a full quota of energy.”

“It is true that the Puritans banned all recreation on Sundays and all games of chance, gambling, bear baiting, horse racing, and bowling in or around taverns at all times. They did so, not because they were opposed to fun, but because they judged these activities to be inherently harmful or immoral.”

“Literature incarnates its meanings as concretely as possible. The knowledge that literature gives of a subject is the kind of knowledge that is obtained by (vicariously) living through an experience.”

“My claim is simply that the literary approach is one necessary way to read and interpret the Bible, an approach that has been unjustifiably neglected. Despite that neglect, the literary approach builds at every turn on what biblical scholars have done to recover the original, intended meaning of the biblical text.”


“No group of people has been more unjustly maligned in the twentieth century than the Puritans. As a result, we approach the Puritans with an enormous baggage of culturally ingrained prejudice.”

“Puritanism was a youthful, vigorous movement.”

“Readers should aspire to what is excellent. They should refuse to read a substitute Bible. They should want a Bible that calls them to their higher selves – or to something higher than their current level of attainment.”

“Since God is the one who calls people to their work, the worker becomes a steward who serves God.”

“Stressing the God-centered life can lead to an otherworldly withdrawal from everyday earthly life.”

“The Bible is obviously a mixed book. Literary and nonliterary (expository, explanatory) writing exist side by side within the covers of this unique book.”

“The goal of Bible translation is be transparent to the original text – to see as clearly as possible what the biblical authors actually wrote.”

“The oldest theory of art belongs to the Greeks, who regarded art as an imitation (mimesis) of reality. The strength of that theory is that it explains the way in which art takes its materials from real life.”

“The Puritans removed organs and paintings from churches, but bought them for private use in their homes.”

“The Puritans’ sense of priorities in life was one of their greatest strengths. Putting God first and valuing everything else in relation to God was a recurrent Puritan theme.”

“The Puritans were obsessed with the dangers of wealth.”

“There is a quiet revolution going on in the study of the Bible. At its center is a growing awareness that the Bible is a work of literature and that the methods of literary scholarship are a necessary part of any complete study of the Bible.”

“When you think about Puritanism, you must begin by getting rid of the slang term ‘Puritanism’ as applied to Victorian religious hypocrisy. This does not apply to seventeenth-century Puritanism.”

“With so many contradictory renditions of the biblical text, the public has lost confidence that we can actually know what the Bible says. It is an easy step from this skepticism to an indifference about what the Bible says.”

“Writers themselves benefit from all helpful information about their task and methods. Readers, in turn, can have both their understanding and appreciation of literature enhanced by information about the writer’s work.”

Here is a speaking event featuring Leland Ryken as he discusses the Book of Books.

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