Christian Literary Studies Group
CLSG: exploring Christian and Biblical themes in literature
The Christian Literary Studies Group aims to explore some of the implications of the Christian faith in the study and teaching of literature. Members have a wide range of interests, from Anglo-Saxon texts to literary theory. The topics are not confined to British or even Anglophone literature, and extend to literary approaches to Biblical studies. Some CLSG members are academics and teachers, some professional or freelance writers, some are students and others ‘just interested’. Our project is to approach a Christian understanding of literature and of issues in current literary studies, and to encourage members in their own writings and readings.
The annual seminar style conference held each year at Oxford usually has a single theme. Details appear here.
The CLSG’s journal, The Glass, is produced annually. Details of our publications are in the ‘Journal’ and ‘Publications’ sections of this site. Offers from members to contribute to the journal or to the conference are welcome.
Christianity in English Literature
Christianity’s major part in the English literary tradition may be represented in this way:
‘Imagine a television program that everyone in the country has been watching every week, sometimes more than once, for their entire lives, having seen some episodes dozens of times. Suppose your parents and grandparents had watched all the same episodes, and suppose further that millions of people in other neighbouring countries had watched these episodes too, dubbed into their own languages. Suppose people had actually been watching this show, in still other languages, for over a thousand years, and that vast libraries had accumulated over the centuries full of books about how best to interpret the show. Suppose that it was illegal not to watch this show and, moreover, that your eternal salvation was understood to depend on it. Suppose that this TV show was the basis for your country’s literature and art, its political theory, its history, its philosophy, its understanding of the natural world as well as human nature, and essential to most other fields of knowledge as well. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, the Bible was that show; it was always in reruns, and it never went off the air.’ – Hannibal Hamlin, The Bible in Shakespeare, 2013.