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Shedding Light on His Dark Materials: Exploring Hidden Spiritual Themes in Philip Pullman's Popular Series [Hardcover]

By Kurt Bruner (Author) & Jim Ware (Author)
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Item Number 63678  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.84" Width: 5.28" Height: 0.83"
Weight:   0.68 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2007
Publisher   Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN  1414315643  
EAN  9781414315645  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The bestselling authors of "Finding God in the Lord of the Rings" team up again in a study of Philip Pullmans popular "His Dark Materials" fantasy series. Released to coincide with the feature film, this book equips parents, teachers, and readers to better understand Pullmans troubling work.

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More About Kurt Bruner & Jim Ware

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! KURT BRUNER is a graduate of Talbot Seminary who spends most of his time as Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas. He and Olivia host the HomePointe ministry, helping create a culture of intentional families. Kurt also serves as Executive Director for the Strong Families Innovation Alliance, a network of leading churches driving new strategies for impacting the home. The bestselling author of more than a dozen books, Kurt spent twenty years with Focus on the Family where he was Vice President over films, books, magazines, radio drama, broadcasting, internet and other media groups.

STEVE STROOPE is Lead Pastor of Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas. He also provides coaching to partnership churches and missionaries throughout the world. He is a sought-after speaker and is the co-author of Money Matters in the Church. A graduate of Hardin Simmons University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Steve and his wife, Marsha, have two grown daughters and four grandchildren.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good Overview of His Dark Materials  Dec 17, 2007
I picked this book up because of the publisher, SaltRiver. They also published the best analysis of the Harry Potter series I have ever read ("Finding God in Harry Potter"). So I picked it up, having read Northern Lights (retitled "The Golden Compass" later on) when I was younger, and having seen the recent film adaptation.

The book is a collection of short meditations on certain themes found in Pullman's His Dark Materials from a Christian perspective. They tend to be good, but very, very basic. For instance, one of the mediatations is on "Family," and they talk about all the broken family relationships in the His Dark Materials books, and then talk about how God is our Father and we are his family.

In terms of literary criticism, the book does not provide any overview or summary of the story or Pullman's world, and so in that way assumes you have *some* knowledge of the His Dark Materials universe, while the writing style makes it clear they do not expect you to have any knowledge of the story, which is odd.

In addition, the book does not really explore Pullman's universe and analize it in any kind of depth. Mostly they simply use bits and pieces of it as springboards for thematic discussion. In the way of simply describing and dealing in the universe as is, Finding God in Harry Potter does a much better job of it.

I do recommend this book, though. Bruner and Ware reveal a very important fact about the His Dark Materials trilogy, which is that atheist Pullman *assumes* a Christian world, a world where free grace, love, self-sacrifice, nobility, and honor hold sway, in order to attack that world. No matter what atheist Pullman does, he is revealing the God he doesn't believe in. That is one of the best values of this book. Its discussions on the "Authority" (aka God) and the "Magisterium" (aka the Church) are quite good.

One last thing I enjoyed about the book. It does take Pullman to task, but it also recognizes the value of storytelling and Pullman's talents as an artist, so it is not fully negative, nor fully positive. There is little rhetorical fire-and-brimstone, and simply a reasoned, balanced analysis.
A Thoughtful Christian Perspective on the work of Philip Pullman  Dec 9, 2007
There has been a strong outcry within the religious community about the anti-Christian worldview of Philip Pullman with movements to boycott The Golden Compass film and the books. Instead of joining the boycott (which traditionally doesn't work and only drives more people toward whatever is being boycotted), I decided to read Kurt Bruner & Jim Ware's insight.

Each chapter of this book opens with an excerpt from Pullman then the authors examine different themes from the books and compare them to traditional Christian views, include Scriptures and their own theological insight. It results in a well-crafted and excellent text. In the afterthought section, when a friend hears that Jim Ware is working on this book, he says, "Pullman. Pretty dark stuff, huh?" Many Christians will find the answer surprising.

Ware says, "I've given that last question a lot of thought during the weeks and months since Kurt and I first undertook this project. And the more I've pondered it, the more certain I've become that my friend was wrong...That's not for lack of trying on the author's part, of course. Pullman definitely deserves an A for effort. He's done his level best to offend the sensibilities of traditionally minded, God-fearing people...Yet despite the shadows that hang about the perimeter of his imaginary world Pullman hasn't quite succeeded in keeping out the light. It seeps in relentlessly through the cracks. It upstages the writer's purported agenda and steals the scene at every opportunity. And it makes its presence felt most effectively at the very heart of the drama." (p. 154-155)

Yes, you can go along with the herd mentality and boycott the Pullman books and the film. Or you can take a more balanced approach and celebrate the skilled storytelling from Philip Pullman and understand how he didn't fulfill his intended agenda.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to examine the spiritual themes in His Dark Materials.

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