Pastors in the Classics

Timeless Lessons on Life and Ministry from World Literature

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Discover wisdom for today in the literary classics of the past

Throughout the history of English literature, clergy have figured prominently in novels, plays, morality tales, and even poetry. Pastors in the Classics is a unique exploration of literary masterpieces in which the pastor's experience is a major part of the story. This collection uncovers the good, the bad, and the ugly ways in which pastors have been presented to the reading public for the past half millennium, and how pastors today can glean wisdom from those who have gone before. Whether you are a pastor or a lover of great literature, you will find insight, humor, and grace within these pages.


"Our basic book is the Bible. But anyone in ministry will be further enriched by getting acquainted with the pastoral classics discussed in this book. (A classic is a distinguished book that speaks to every generation and doesn't have to be rewritten.) Whether you are new to ministry or a veteran, the books discussed in this guide can help you better understand yourself and your calling beyond what you may have learned from textbooks and lectures. These classics offer enlightenment as well as entertainment, and this book is one of the best guides I have seen. I highly recommend it."--Warren W. Wiersbe, author, former pastor, Moody Church

"Many pastors know the power of a well-chosen citation from Kierkegaard or Dostoevsky when preaching to others. But for pastors who are tired, discouraged, isolated, trapped in some lethal sin, or in danger of losing their faith, here is an ideal guide to find in the classics the deepest, most relevant, emotionally gripping wisdom to preach to oneself. May God use it to revive many of us, remind us of the height from which we have fallen, and restore us to our first love."--Gordon P. Hugenberger, senior minister, Park Street Church, Boston

"Pastors in the Classics is a splendid and unique guide to the portraits of pastoral ministry found in the great works of Western literature. The useful information provided here will be enlightening, and the insightful commentary appreciated by anyone who has ever pastored a flock. Lovers of great literature will find their reading more enjoyable and their understanding deepened by this satisfying work."--Devin Brown, department of English, Asbury University; author of Inside Narnia

"We come to know ourselves--and others--through stories. Here the authors invite us into literary worlds replete with stories of pastors: pastors who preach and suffer, who sin and repent, who fail in small and spectacular ways, who stand always in need of grace. If we accept the invitation to enter these tales, we will emerge challenged and encouraged, our hearts returned to love of God and neighbor."--Susan Felch, professor of English, Calvin College

The Authors

  1. Leland Ryken

    Leland Ryken

    Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) is professor emeritus of English at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and the author or editor of nearly forty books, including Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible.

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  2. Philip Ryken

    Philip Ryken

    Philip Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford, England) is president of Wheaton College. He was formerly senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books and lives with his family in...

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  3. Todd Wilson

    Todd Wilson

    Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) is senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, and lives with his family in Illinois.

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