Introductions

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Found this practical tip in a church bulletin….

When reading books on Orthodoxy, writings of the Fathers, lives of Saints, and the like, it is often (not always, by any means) a good idea to skip the Introduction! Be particularly wary of it if it is long. There seems to be a fashion for giving books introductions which are intended to give a certain slant to the main text which follows. Such slants are best avoided, and it is preferable to simply let the text speak for itself. As a precaution, at least always read the text before reading the introduction.

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2 thoughts on “Introductions

  1. As a Christian and a writer, I agree with this ‘advice’ from a church bulletin. I am one of those that CE Lathrop refers to as ‘those who seek such advice in church bulletins,’ though I do not accept his categorization of me as such. I don’t ‘seek’ such advice, but I welcome wisdom wherever I find it. As for introductions, ultimately, it depends on the kind of book in question. Technical writing, yes, of course I read the introduction. Poetry, maybe. Biography, history, religion, probably not. It all depends on the book, and the author. Introductions by known authors whom I trust, yes, I probably read the introduction. But the four holy gospels, never! If written in my native language, I don’t ever read anyone else’s ‘introduction’ before the words of Christ Himself recorded therein. Besides, I read or hear these words every day, and if I don’t quite get their meaning by now at age 63, I probably never will.

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