I did my research before going to the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference this summer, and was delighted to see that writer, Bob Hostetler, would be serving on the teaching faculty this year. I knew his name well as co-author of a book that was indispensable to me twenty years ago when I was teaching and serving in youth ministry, Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door.
When I looked to see what was new with him these days, my heart skipped a beat at the sight of his new book release, The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional.
ANYTHING with a vintage image of William Shakespeare on the cover is going to captivate my attention in seconds. The main title might suggest it was an academic work. But, when my eyes focused on the subtitle, A Shakespeare Devotional, I knew that book would be coming home with me! Autographed. And a second copy for my daughter who is more of a Shakespeare aficionado than I am.
One’s initial thought might be that this is an innovative approach to a daily devotional.
In my teaching years, when I taught Shakespeare, it was part of my original curriculum lessons to include the natural biblical connections to God’s Word. The Bard’s work is chock full of direct references and thematic allusions to the Bible and biblical principles. Rosalie J. Slater, whose work has been a fundamental influence in the development of my own love of literature and teaching methodology, often referred to William Shakespeare as “the Bard OF the Bible” in the Noah Plan Literature Study Guide from the Foundation for American Christian Education.
Well, Bob Hostetler has gone to the next amazing level of connecting the words of Shakespeare to the Word of God. He has culled a year’s worth of daily readings together by tying select verses from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets to Scripture. Using wit and humor, he deftly expands our understanding of the underlying principles in the verses. This deepens our understanding as illustrated in the context of the plot and characters of Shakespeare’s work, and the practical application we can make of that to our own life.
As I slowly read through each day’s selection, I anticipate coming to the bottom of the page. There, Bob includes two fascinating facts about the play or poem from which the reading was inspired. Often a bunny trail of literary history teases me to search out more information on these tasty little details.
Here’s Bob in his best Elizabethan attire to tell you all about it himself:
Want to know more about how I’d use this devotional beyond the realm of personal reflection, and take it into an academic classroom setting as an enrichment tool?
Are you a lover of Shakespeare’s work? Share your favorite play or verse in the comments below.
Sharing Book Review: The Bard and the Bible this week with: