Faith, Apostasy, and History: Marilynne Robinson’s Christian Imagination
A faculty seminar with William Gonch, Ph.D.
What are the possibilities for Christian literature today? How is a Christian spiritual imagination related to moral responsibilities and particular communities? Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead addresses these questions. Robinson’s novels are widely praised for their visionary language, their deep engagement with history, and their original narrative structures. In this seminar, William Gonch, a Visiting Scholar at Princeton Theological Seminary and Managing Director of the Scala Foundation, will reveal the interconnections among history, faith, and literary form in Robinson’s work. He will argue that she represents a new way of imagining God, spirituality, and salvation in the novel, and points the way towards a literature that is, in some surprising ways, more open to the Gospel than we might think.
The seminar will be of interest to any students interested in faith and the literary imagination, or in the ways in which literature grapples with the problems of God, faith, and theology. No knowledge of Marilynne Robinson’s work is required, although participants are encouraged to read Gilead ahead of time if they wish—and there will be spoilers.