Twin Lamps unto our Feet

Twin Lamps unto our Feet: Scripture and Literature Life Connect

by Matthew Adukanil, SDB

New Leader Publications (NLP) - Pages: 190 - MRP: 120/- ISBN: 978-93-83141-25-8 - Available at: New Leader Books (NLP), Tamil Nadu and at Pauline Book and Media Centre, Mumbai.

Is the Bible and religious literature related to it, the only books that lead us to deeper communion with God? Or are there other secular books penned through the centuries that also teach us Christian values and virtues? Fr. Matthew Adukanil, a former Salesian professor of English and school principal, in his book ‘Twin Lamps unto our Feet’ conclusively proves to us that along with the Bible, which is the very ‘Word’ of God, secular works in English literature like those of William Shakespeare, William Blake, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, Robert Frost, W. H. Auden, William Wordsworth, et al., also lead us towards spiritual enlightenment. Thus, religious scripture and secular literature act as twin lamps unto our path on this dark journey of the soul into a world of sectarianism, religious fundamentalism, and pain.

The book in fact, for those of us who are regular readers of NLP literature which contains all these erudite writings, were actually published by the author in the New Leader magazine as a monthly series under the title ‘Scripture and Literature Life Connect’. It is exciting to know that the articles are now printed together in the form of this awesome book by NLP.

What Fr. Adukanil has done in this book is to divide into it two parts. The first part is dedicated to discussing how the Bible acts as a beacon of light in everyday life, while the second discusses how secular English Literature also lights up our path in a world full of despotism, fake news, discrimination, et al. Fr. Adukanil’s writing is precise and to the point, making the book a quick and easy read.

I picked this book up at St. Paul’s. Being a writer and teacher of literature myself, I was attracted to this book and immediately went back home to my office-cum-writing hut to read it. The presentation is so eclectic that you as a reader and believer of the Gospel are really moved by the powerful words and analyzation of Fr. Adukanil. This book is just one more reason why I love books penned by the Salesian Community of the religious (SDB). Trust me; you will love to read Fr. Adukanil’s analysis and criticism on the Shakespeare plays that are so very similar sometimes to the way we are leading our lives. I especially loved the take on Shakespeare’s plays namely ‘Othello’, ‘Macbeth’, and ‘The Merchant of Venice’. Poems of Robert Frost, Arthur Hugh Clough, Sir Henry Wotton, and T. S. Eliot through the lens of Fr. Adukanil really make us believe that God’s message can also come through the writings of great authors and poets in a direct and sometimes an indirect way.

This book focuses on the very ‘Word’ of God in Scripture as well as in secular literature. It shows us how words can change lives, inspire nations and make us sublime in thought. The author also brings up current issues to mind and how Scripture and good, clean secular literature has solutions to problems in this post-truth era world. Scriptural passages are delved upon in their correct context and we are cautioned to beware of the power of words. This book proves to us that the Bible is not a book just to be read, but lived. The Bible deals with all aspects of life and has in many cases inspired great literature like ‘The Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffrey Chaucer who is the Father of English Poetry, John Milton’s 12 volume epic ‘Paradise Lost’ (one of my favorites) and all the plays of William Shakespeare.

If you are looking for a book about the Bible and it’s correlation with English Literature, this is the book you should be reading. If you are studying or teaching English Literature and feel that the writers you have read also showcase virtues, fruits and charisms of the Gospel then this is the book for you. If you want to become a serious reader of both the Holy Bible and secular literature then this book is a good start on your way to good, clean and inspirational reading.

Let’s read the Scriptures with discernment and secular literature to glean evidence of spiritual fruits. Let these two categories of books be the twin lights unto our path, to guide, counsel and be with us every step of they way.

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Fiza Pathan is an accomplished author of twelve award-winning books and has won a number of international awards. She lives with her maternal family in Bandra and blogs on insaneowl.com. She reviews and researches books for The Examiner.