There’s the “Antique Allegory” and the “Contemporary Christian (novel)”. I’ve given these unofficial terms to two sorts of Christian literature identified by Wikipedia. Honestly, I’d never made the distinction. I would have lumped them together. But being drawn to Christian allegory for its unique qualities after having read Pilgrim’s Progress, my interest was piqued and I wanted to learn more.
“Antique Allegory” isn’t always and necessarily old (not like Puritan literature is); I just liked the alliteration. And perhaps I get the feeling that allegory is old because the only true allegory I’ve read is The Pilgrim’s Progress written in the 1600s. This genre uses symbolic figures to communicate Christian truths. Perhaps Jesus’ parables were the pioneering works of “Ancient Allegory”.
Allegory may not be confined the be “olden days,” but the contemporary Christian novel is far more popular in our time. These works are classified more definitively as having been written by Christians for Christians with Christian themes which are direct rather than through symbology. In Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, for example, one story is taking place and it’s not intended to be interpreted as having a parallel interpretation.
These categories involve overlaps and blurred lines. I would have put CS Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia under allegory, but Wikipedia calls them Christian novels.
Today I’m especially interested in hearing your thoughts. Take the following questions as prompts:
- Are you drawn to either the ancient allegory or the Christian contemporary novel over the other? Do you swing back and forth between the two – like them each for their own reasons?
- Have you ever thought of books in terms of these, definitions do you pick your reads based on something entirely different?
- Have you ever come across a modern Christian allegory that you would recommend?
Let me know down below.