made Like the Maker
Christian Ethics, Vol. 2
By Thomas Traherne, Modernized by Colin Redemer
Publication Date: November 14, 2023
About this book
To be like God is the way to be happy
Christian ethics challenges us to embody divine virtues, fulfilling the command to “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” and to “love one another as I have loved you.” But how can flawed humanity reflect the incomparable Wisdom, Righteousness, and Goodness that are the essence of the Divine? How can the creatures align with their Creator?
In this insightful and enriching second volume of his Christian Ethics, Thomas Traherne delves deep into these divine paradoxes. He probes the realms of wisdom, righteousness, goodness, holiness, justice, mercy, faith, and hope, delineating how, through divine grace, we can be re-molded into the image of our Creator, imitating Christ and so finding true happiness.
This modernization by Colin Chan Redemer invites contemporary readers to rediscover this underappreciated masterpiece, navigating it without the barriers of archaic language. The edition is enriched by an illuminating introductory essay, “The Spiritual Technology of Christian Poetics.” This essay exposes the connections between philosophy, poetry, technology, and the God of Jesus Christ, providing readers with a profound understanding of Traherne’s harmonious blend of theology and anthropology, and of virtue ethics and Christian practice as a form of spiritual devotion.
Traherne’s eloquent prose and thoughtful integration of diverse strands of thought make him an indispensable voice in Christian literature, a hidden treasure awaiting rediscovery.
Paperback | xxii + 87 PAGES | 5×8 | PubliSHed november 14, 2023 | ISBN: 978-1-949716-21-4
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From the Introduction
“Traherne knows that to remain human we must know God. We must be restored to right relationship with God. To know God we must study the twin poems of God; we must know his creation, and his word. What we find in learning from the creation and the word is that the work of man is not finished. The finishing touches of creation are still ours to freely fill. With the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and the vocations of the people of God who are filled with his love, our ability to fulfill the primal vocation of Adam has begun again. We must investigate reality. We must name reality. In naming, we master reality. We rule for the benefit of the ruled, and for the common good. We put the interests of others before ourselves. In this way the work of our hands becomes a blessing and not a curse.”
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: “The Spiritual Technology of Christian Poetics”
Colin Chan Redemer
About the Authors
Thomas Traherne (1636-1674) was an Anglican poet and theologian, known for his distinctive union of scholarship and spirituality. After graduating from Oxford in 1656, he entered the ministry of the Church of England, and he continued in ministry until his in death in 1674. While only one of his works were published in his lifetime, many others were discovered and published afterwards, gradually disclosing his uniquely poetic piety. His most famous work is Centuries of Meditations, which C. S. Lewis praised as “almost the most beautiful book in English.”
Colin Redemer (Ph.D. candidate, University of Aberdeen) is Vice-President of the Davenant Institute and the Provost of Davenant Hall, Poetry Editor and podcast co-host for Ad Fontes, as well as a professor at St. Mary’s College, California. He also regularly lectures in Philosophy at Davenant Hall, including ongoing cycles in the works of Plato and Aristotle. Follow him on Twitter @REDEMTHETIMES.
Praise for made like the maker
“Can a seventeenth-century Anglican parson and poet, who has been called “one of the sanest men who ever lived,” speak to our Silicon Valley-induced technological malaise? With philosophical clarity regarding the risks and rewards of modern gadgetry, Colin Redemer answers with a resounding yes. Traherne is here rescued from the wearying admiration of English departments and hurled into the most pressing issue of our time. The result, in Redemer’s words, is a recovery of Christian freedom—freedom “from our fears, but also from our false hopes that perhaps this next human creation will set things right.”
– mATTHEW J. MILLINER
Professor of Art History, Wheaton College
“When I was an undergraduate at Traherne’s alma mater, Brasenose College, the chaplain called him the nearest figure we had to a saint. Aided by Colin Redemer’s lucid modernisation and illuminating notes, Traherne expounds the life of virtue as the way “to be like God [which] is the way to be happy.” Redemer’s occasionally whimsical introductory essay on technology illustrates the relevance of Traherne’s articulation of the virtues of justice, faith and hope, while Traherne’s treatment of holiness and mercy should explode any lingering myth that he had no real interest in sin or the person and work of Christ. It is to be hoped that this modernisation of Christian Ethics will inspire others, as it has inspired me, further to study Traherne’s works.”
– daniel newman
Lecturer in Theology, New St. Andrew’s College
“As Traherne elaborates, the heart of Christian virtue is our participation in God’s creative act—we are most fully ourselves, most fully human, when we make well. Because God speaks creation into being through his Logos, to be made in God’s image is quite literally to be made a poet. This simple biblical insight has profound implications for life in the technological society, implications which Colin Redemer draws out in his learned introduction, modernization and notes. By putting Traherne’s theological aesthetics in action, Redemer has made him not just accessible, but exhilarating.”
– JUSTIN LEE
Associate Editor at First Things
“Made Like the Maker offers another entry in the fresh, relevant modernization of Traherne. Though rooted in ethical concerns, Traherne’s vision is broader, looking most of all to theology for his orientation of human reason and human action. The volume gives a lovely and concise window into some of the more creative and fascinating wellsprings of Protestant, Anglophone thought, and for that reason proves not only historically interesting but also presently vital.”
– ANNE M. Carpenter
Danforth Chair in Theological Studies, Saint Louis University
C. S. Lewis on Traherne
“Remember too what Traherne says: that our appreciation of this world–and this becomes fully conscious only as we express it in art–is a real link in the universal chain. Beauty descends from God into nature: but there it would perish and does except when a Man appreciates it with worship and thus as it were sends it back to God: so that through his consciousness what descended ascends again and the perfect circle is made.”
Letter 150 in They Stand Together: The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914-1963)
“At present I’m re-reading Traherne’s Centuries of Meditations, which I think almost the most beautiful book (in prose I mean, excluding poets) in English”
Letter 205 in They Stand Together: The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914-1963)
“A good book to balance it [The Imitation of Christ] is Traherne’s Centuries of Meditations, which I expect you know. (Not to be confused with his poems, which I don’t recommend.) There is all the gold & fragrance!”
Letter 286 in They Stand Together: The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914-1963)
MORE FROM DAVENANT PRESS
The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness. Below are some of the works we’ve published towards that end.