For more than a decade, New York University President John Sexton has used baseball to illustrate the elements of a spiritual life in a wildly popular course at NYU.Read more...
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For more than a decade, New York University President John Sexton has used baseball to illustrate the elements of a spiritual life in a wildly popular course at NYU. Using some of the great works of baseball fiction as well as the actual game's fantastic moments, its legendary characters, and its routine rituals from the long-sought triumph of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, to the heroic achievements of players like the saintly Christy Mathewson and the sinful Ty Cobb, to the loving intimacy of a game of catch between a father and son Sexton teaches that through the game we can touch the spiritual dimension of life.
"Baseball as a Road to God "is about the elements of our lives that lie beyond what can be captured in words alone ineffable truths that we know by experience rather than by logic or analysis. Applying tothe secular activity of baseball a form of inquiry usually reserved for the study of religion, Sexton reveals a surprising amount of common ground between the game and what we all recognize as religion: sacred places and time, faith and doubt, blessings and curses, and more.
In thought-provoking, beautifully rendered prose, this book elegantly demonstrates that baseball is more than a game, or even a national pastime: It can be a road to a deeper and more meaningful life."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-12-10
- Reviewer: Staff
Can baseball be a “road to God”? Sexton, the president of New York University, a former Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and tortured Yankees convert, considers the question as only an academic can. He draws heavily on the writings of University of Chicago professor Mircea Eliade, who proposed the existence of a phenomenon known as a “hierophany,” a connection to the “ineffable domain” of sacred manifestations, or in layman’s terms, the “touching of a transcendent plane.” With assists from journalists Oliphant (The Boston Globe) and Schwartz (Forbes), Sexton weaves supporting testimonials from physicists, authors, transcendentalists, and theologians into his reasoning over the course of nine chapters, or innings, with his summary reserved for the 10th. After loading the bases through nine, though, Sexton confesses that his thesis is little more than a balk. Baseball is not a “Road to God,” even if it can awaken us to an “often missing” dimension of life. That’s deflating after his logical progression from thesis to proof, but it’s a thought-provoking proposition for zealots and skeptics alike. (Mar.)