Life of John Knox
Short but power-packed with inspiration and truth!
John Knox. Have you heard of him?
If you are fairly knowledgeable about The Reformation, then you probably have. But honestly, before receiving this book to read and review from Attic Books, I had not heard of him.
This short, easy-to-read biography of "The Scottish Reformer" was written and published by the American Sunday School Union (now American Missionary Fellowship at InFaith.org) back in 1833 and has recently been reprinted beautifully and republished by Attic Books.
Here is their description of him and of this biography:
Rare vignettes featuring the Protestant Reformation's fiercest defender! John Knox had a life of exciting adventure, harsh imprisonment, and brilliant scholarship. Fighting battles both political and religious, Knox bravely defied royalty, nobility, and the established power of the Papacy to speak the truth. A fiery and inspirational preacher, he fiercely upheld the authority of Scripture and salvation through Christ's sacrifice. In perilous times, Knox risked his life daily in a fearless and tireless defense of the faith!
After reading Life of John Knox, I am inspired once again to continue living a life that speaks with actions as well as words of the Truth, power, and encouragement of the gospel of Jesus Christ and who He is in my life.
This man had the conviction and courage to stand up to---of all people---Mary, Queen of Scots! He engaged both politically and theologically in a passionate yet respectful manner in order to stand for the Truth of God's Word and not just follow along with the accepted ways of living and practicing "religion."
I hope to daily become more and more like him in my walk of faith.
I leave you with this quote from John Knox himself as you go about your days in this life on earth:
Do as you will answer before God, who at present works powerfully, however blind the world remains; fight ye in the truth, and for the liberty of the same; and be assured of triumphing with Jesus Christ, to whose mighty protection I unfeignedly commit you.
Amen and amen!
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Attic Books, an imprint of New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.
September 10, 2011
Marvelous little Knox Bio
Ã¢ÂÂThe Life of John Knox,Ã¢ÂÂ written by an unknown author (I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt find his name anywhere in the publication) is a fantastic little volume. In this work there are several scenes in KnoxÃ¢ÂÂs life that are unavailable in other biographies, most notably his encounters with Mary, Queen of Scots.
Myself being on a bit of a Knox bent lately, when I heard about Attic BooksÃ¢ÂÂ republication of a long forgotten work, I was interested right away. Of course the book can be somewhat difficult to read at times, but not nearly enough to have no idea what the author is trying to convey. At times, the specificity is quite helpful, and the thoughtfulness of his writings is much appreciated.
The book does hammer away at the Roman Catholicism of KnoxÃ¢ÂÂs day (and for good reason), so do not be shocked at some of the authorÃ¢ÂÂs bold statements in this regard; intertwined with this are the leaders of that day, political and otherwise, who were generally evil people in search of power and affluence. This power and affluence could in many ways be granted by the corrupt Roman church, which in many ways helped to give rise to the Reformation.
KnoxÃ¢ÂÂs encounters with Mary, Queen of Scots are marvelously portrayed in the book. Also, her character is unveiled as a duplicitous and unworthy Queen, oftentimes herself lying and going back on her word to the detriment of the people under her leadership. If you are interested in a small Knox biography, this perhaps may not be the first to read (for that I would recommend WilsonÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂFor Kirk and CovenantÃ¢ÂÂ), but it is great for looking into those points of KnoxÃ¢ÂÂs life that you are left hanging in the other biographies. Highly recommended.
I would like to thank New Leaf Publishers and Attic Books for the complimentary review copy of this wonderful book.
September 3, 2011
Old fashioned language requires reader's attention
I love old books. And I'm finding I really do like books that just have an appearance of age. This "new" series of biographies by Attic Books is one that is designed with the appearance of age. Distressed cover, funky & uneven pages.
And of course, the fact that it was originally published in 1833 and includes fairly extensive quotes of a guy born in 1505 means that the language most assuredly adds to that antique feel.
Life of John Knox is a biography of a man I really didn't know. Given the language being used in the book, I wish I had found even a Wikipedia article and read a little bit about him before diving into the book.
This isn't a long book... 140 pages in all. But it isn't light reading. This is one of those books I ought to keep next to me for the next time one of those little Facebook games comes along. You know, "Grab the nearest book. Turn to page 58. Type the 2nd complete sentence as your status."
For this book, that would be:
"The affairs of the protestants, however, soon after took an unfavourable turn ; and after several reverses and disasters, they were at length compelled to leave Edinburgh, and retire in great confusion to Stirling ; but during their calamities, Knox spared no exertions to revive the languid spirit of his countrymen."
At least in this example sentence (which is random), I did understand each individual word!
The point here is that this book is definitely written in the style prevalent in the early 19th century, with plenty of lengthy quotes from the 16th century as well. That means modern readers need to be paying attention, or you'll be like me... finishing a sentence and wondering what in the world I just read. And it also means that the biographer doesn't try to make it look like he is being objective (like any biographer could achieve that anyway!) which "sounds" funny to modern ears.
It is fascinating. But definitely to be read when you are actually able to be paying full attention!
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.
June 29, 2011
Challenging to Read Style & Excellent Dialogue
Life of John Knox
I had a little difficulty finishing this book. I was unaccustomed to the style of writing. It was originally written in 1833, so the language used required a deeper level of concentration than what I am used to needing in reading. I liken it to being made to lift heavy weights, of which you havenÃ¢ÂÂt lifted in many years. In the end, I thought that was actually a positive thingÃ¢ÂÂ I needed my reading level challenged!
Another attribute about the actual writing style was that it was Ã¢ÂÂdryÃ¢ÂÂ. What I mean is that there was almost no descriptive language helping the reader picture the story in their heads. If it werenÃ¢ÂÂt for the very liberal use of dialogue quotes, IÃ¢ÂÂm not sure I could have even finished it. I wonder if the original writers (from the American Sunday-School Union) were auditory learners as opposed to visual learners which may account for that particular aspect of the writing style.
The actual story itselfÃ¢ÂÂabout John KnoxÃ¢ÂÂ was very interesting. I particularly found the dialogues between him and Queen Mary fascinating (which illustrates the other plus for the plentiful use of dialogue quotes). I especially liked the conversation they had when he basically was justifying how subjects could and should overthrow their rulers. I can see why Queen Mary didnÃ¢ÂÂt like him (and thatÃ¢ÂÂs putting it mildly).
Without the dialogue quotes it would have sounded like a dry textbook. In fact the book began with, Ã¢ÂÂJohn Knox was born in the year 1505Ã¢ÂÂ¦Ã¢ÂÂ. How dry is that? But it does have the quotes and they more than Ã¢ÂÂsaveÃ¢ÂÂ the book. HereÃ¢ÂÂs a piece of oneÃ¢ÂÂ¦Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂGod forbid,Ã¢ÂÂ replied Knox, Ã¢ÂÂthat I should ever command any to obey me, or set subjects at liberty to do whatever they please; my desire is, that both princes and subjects may obey God.Ã¢ÂÂ
Another bright point was through the plentiful and excellent use of dialogue, the great boldness and devotion that John Knox possessed in his character shone brilliantly through. As a Christian, It is well worth your while to study his life, and this book would make a good start.
One more Ã¢ÂÂwarningÃ¢ÂÂ. Since Knox was a literal protestantÃ¢ÂÂprotesting against the Roman Catholic Church of his timeÃ¢ÂÂ modern day Catholics may find this book offensive.
For homeschoolers this book would be wonderful because this was written before scholars started re-writing history and as homeschool parents you would want your children to be exposed to different and more difficult to read styles of writing and as Christian parents you would want your children to learn about devout historical Christians from the past.
Is this book for you? It depends. Are you Protestant? Do you like old historical books? Are you a homeschool parent? If you answered yes, to at least two of those, then you are sure to like this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New Leaf Publishing GroupÃ¢ÂÂs blogging for books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 225: Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.Ã¢ÂÂ
June 16, 2011