Mennonite academic launches new book on theology and popular literature

December 21, 2016 | Artbeat | Volume 21 Issue 1
Beth Downey Sawatzky,

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) professor Paul Doerksen launched a new collection of essays, Take and Read: Reflecting Theologically on Books, at McNally-Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg on Dec. 4, 2016.

Officially associate professor of theology and Anabaptist studies, Doerksen’s vibrant interdisciplinary work has made him something of an “honorary member” in CMU’s English department. Still it was not his academic work that inspired Take and Read, but a theological book-discussion group of the same name that Doerksen has hosted now for 12 years. Open to all regardless of age, background or occupation, the conversations of this diversified group have been highly productive for Doerksen.

Minding its origins both in style and accessibility, Take and Read works through the theology inherent in various works of popular literature, including fiction and non-fiction, addressing salient contemporary topics such as food security, violence, dementia and indigenous issues. In his introduction, Doerksen writes, “I am keenly aware that in this context I am not writing reviews for an academic journal. . . . Many of these essays have what may feel like a decidedly inconclusive or even unfinished quality to them. . . . Insofar as that is the case, they have that quality precisely because they were intended to open discussion.”

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