Pagan Foreshadowings by R. V. Young

Pagan Foreshadowings

Myth Made Fact: Reading Greek and Roman Mythology Through Christian Eyes
by Louis Markos
Classical Academic Press, 2020
(420 pages, $27.99, hardcover)

Louis Markos has written a book unlike any other I have reviewed or read, and, apart from any consideration of its quality, I must say that I was immediately struck by the ingenuity of the idea. Inspired by C. S. Lewis's essay, "Myth Became Fact," Markos has undertaken to work out in practice the notion that Christianity is not discredited because it is mythical, like (for instance) classical paganism. The reason is that Christian "myths," unlike those of paganism, are true. "The heart of Christianity," Lewis writes,

is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be a myth [emphasis in original], comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens [emphasis in original]—at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Baldur or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical Person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate [emphasis in original]. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle.

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R. V. Young is Professor of English Emeritus at North Carolina State University, and a former editor of Modern Age: A Quarterly Review. His Shakespeare & the Idea of Western Civilization is forthcoming in January from Catholic University of America Press. He and his wife are parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Dunedin, Florida. They have five grown children, 15 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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