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Orthodoxy (Milestones in Catholic Theology)

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  20,328 Ratings  ·  1,129 Reviews
In Orthodoxy, Gilbert K. Chesterton explains how and why he came to believe in Christianity, and more specifically, the Catholic Church's brand of orthodoxy. In the book, Chesterton takes the spiritually curious reader on an intellectual quest. While looking for the meaning of life, he finds truth that uniquely fulfills human needs. This is the truth revealed in Christiani ...more
ebook, 148 pages
Published March 25th 2013 by Start Publishing LLC (first published 1908)
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Kevin Nope. But Heretics is so short and such a page-turner it couldn't hurt to read it first and might probably be a more satisfying overall experience…moreNope. But Heretics is so short and such a page-turner it couldn't hurt to read it first and might probably be a more satisfying overall experience that way.

Think of Heretics as The Hobbit and The Everlasting Man as Lord of the Rings.

Hope you enjoy!
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Community Reviews

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jenn
Jul 30, 2007 jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought it because I heard this quote recently

"A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough... It is possible that God says every morning, "D
...more
Gwen Burrow
Jun 11, 2009 Gwen Burrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, favorites
I have to think of Chesterton as happy nitroglycerin. This book sends your head up into the clouds while driving your feet deep into the earth. It spins you dizzier than you've ever been, yet makes you walk straighter than you've ever walked.

Read this first in 2007, again in 2011.

Shane Avery
Jul 29, 2008 Shane Avery rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thought
It is with extreme reluctance that I condemn this work as worthless. The person who recommended it to me is one whose opinion and learning I respect greatly.

Chesterton seems to think (although I'm not entirely sure of anything in this book, inasmuch as the author refuses to write in anything but figurative language and metaphor. In fact, the term "mixed metaphor" is an entirely inappropriate descriptor. One would need to use exponents to keep track of the metaphors and smilies that he heaps upon
...more
Fr.Bill M
This is an absolute must for either Catholics or Protestants, as Chesterton addresses an aspect of mere Christianity (it's profound and monumental common sensensicalness!) in a way that sparkles with wit, humor, and intellectual derring-do.

Incidentally, if you set yourself to reading it out loud, you will put yourself through a training in diction and oral expression that far surpasses anything you could ever hire.
John
Mar 02, 2007 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
imagine walking into a dangerous and violent bar with the biggest, baddest ufc champion ever to grace the octagon. or walking into a house party with the hottest date ever. or entering a church basketball tournament with an nba caliber ringer on your team. i'm guessing that's what it would have felt like to walk with gk chesterton into a room full of skeptics and post-modern christian haters.

okay, that whole paragraph did not work. but this book deserves credit for being mostly a pre-modern wor
...more
Owlseyes
Mar 19, 2015 Owlseyes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, faith, catholic

"And though St John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators"

"It was natural, perhaps, that a modern Marxian Socialist should not know anything about free will"

"The new scientific society definitely discourages men from thinking about death"

"Mr. McCabe thinks me a slave because I am not allowed to believe in determinism"



"But the Greeks were right when they made Apollo the god both of imagination and of sanity,for he was
...more
Douglas Wilson
Feb 09, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Superb. Finished it again in January 2017.
Clare Cannon
May 26, 2010 Clare Cannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, adults

A complex work of great scope that I will need to read a few more times. Chesterton uses metaphors to explain the meaning of his theses, and the reader must work to comprehend what they signify on different levels. I find it amazing that this was first published in 1908. Its ideas refer to - but are so independent from - the philosophies of that time, as though it were written today looking back on them rather than their contemporary.

I'll not write a comprehensive review, but just wish to list
...more
Jonathan
Nov 05, 2012 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jonathan by: Steve Kendall

"Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true."

Certainly nothing is irrelevant to discussing Christianity when G.K. Chesterton writes a classic apologetics work. Orthodoxy is and is not a typical apologetics work. It defends the orthodox Christian world-view and it moreover discusses and reveals what Chesterton's own views and values were. As such Chesterton does not back away from discussing
...more
Jamie
Oct 17, 2007 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to understand why people would believe Catholicism
Recommended to Jamie by: C.S. Lewis, Peter Kreeft, Fulton Sheen
I learned that the Orthodoxy of the Catholic faith is what keeps it (and the world) sane. It calls to us from our fairy tales while at the same time appealing to our logic.

I also learned why so many people, like C.S. Lewis, Scott Hahn, and J.R.R. Tolkien have made reference to G.K. Chesterton - he is brilliant. His mastery of the English language is second to none.

The only difficulty of this book is that it may come off as "high-brow" because it was written in the U.K. (and their English is diff
...more
Douglas Wilson
May 22, 2013 Douglas Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I first read this in 1975. It was a life-saver then. Not sure how many times I have read it since, but Nancy and I just finished reading it aloud together (May 2013). Fantastic, as always.
Werner
Aug 25, 2009 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Both Christians and non-Christians interested in what evidence exists for faith
Recommended to Werner by: My Goofreads friend Bruce
Chesterton was one of the premier Christian thinkers of his generation, fully engaged in the intellectual debates of his day (which turn out to be not much different from those of our own!). His writing is frequently characterized by love of paradox, exuberant humor, and intellectual rigor which can make his thought demanding to follow in places (a quality mitigated by his clear effort to tailor the presentation to the average educated reader). All of those qualities are in evidence here. It's a ...more
Chris
Jul 06, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first started reading this book, I was dumbfounded, and I quickly sensed my vulnerability. I’m used to reading challenging authors who work hard to drop-kick your old paradigms and hold you teeth-down to the grinding concrete they’re speeding recklessly over in pursuit of truth. I can sense when an author is sliding towards sensationalism and theatrics in his attempt to convince readers that their life is a sham and essentially a waste of time. I even like it when authors do that, because ...more
Skylar Burris
Apr 12, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
Chesterton is witty but dense; his reasoning requires concentration. If I am reading him and not paying close attention to the trajectory of his thought, I find myself saying, "What is he babbling about? What does this have to do with anything, let alone Christian orthodoxy?" If I am paying attention, however, I often find him extremely insightful, and I wish to highlight nearly ever line. I also find him quite contemporary; what he says seems to apply somehow to every age. This is not apologeti ...more
K.M. Weiland
Nov 03, 2014 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title belies the true depth and value of this book. Chesterton writes, ostensibly, to share his own conclusions about why Christianity is true and worth following. But the book is so much bigger than that, just as it is so much more intimate than a mere treatise on orthodoxy. Chesterton offers clarity of thought and imagination and wit. Every single page offers something interesting and new to chew on. I’ll be returning to this one over and over.
Kris
Controversial, but brilliant. Striking, but baffling. Quotable, but confusing.

I almost gave this five stars -- the content is certainly profound and incredible at some points -- but the methods in which Chesterton tackles his ideas are too tangled up and confusing. He makes large leaps in his logic, leaving the reader no room to catch up before going on. While Chesterton repeatedly describes his ideas through pictures, often these explanations still aren't sufficient -- he fails to remember that
...more
Elevetha
3.5 stars.

This would have been 5 stars, except it went way over my head in the last 3 chapters or so. The first three-fourths of the book were absolutely brilliant and insightful and, with a little extra time taken to ponder, fairly easily taken in and understood, which I can appreciate, being a silly and easily befuddled young'un.

You ever read something and you think, "Man, that's deep. I know this is genius, but I can't quite wrap my head around it", and then your brain starts to hurt, but you
...more
Regina Doman
Sep 22, 2008 Regina Doman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially those interested in Catholicism or Christianity
Recommended to Regina by: My English teacher
One of the three most influential books in my life outside the Bible. This book would have made me Catholic, if I wasn't already. It also kept me a Catholic, as I was on my way out of the Church before I read it. It confirmed me in my Catholic faith, made the Church make sense for the first time, and set me on the way I'm still traveling. It gave me a vision for where I was and where I was going. I'm still on my way.
Jim
Apr 07, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chesterton, religion
This is the third time I have read Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, and I hope it will not be the last. Written near the beginning of his career, it is by far his best book on the subject of religion. Although he was to return a number of times to the same well, the water was fresher in 1908, some fourteen years before he made his decision to convert to Catholicism. Afterwards, there was an institutional tinge to his writing that vitiated many of his later efforts.

As a lapsed Catholic, I was surpri
...more
LeAnn
Mar 23, 2010 LeAnn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy is a daunting task, given the purpose of the book, his sophisticated and subtle commentary, and the nature of the subject. Nevertheless, I'll try to write a response that will enable potential readers to determine what Chesterton wrote about, why, and how successfully.

Already I find myself laboring to pull salient points and summarize arguments from Chesterton's book. The main thing to understand is that this book isn't an apologia for Christianity; I believ
...more
Amy
I LOVED Orthodoxy. I feel like I barely skimmed the depths of it. I am definitely going to re-read this one many times. Chesterton is utterly brilliant and reading him is like thinking on a different level. It took me a while to get through this book because I felt like I needed to take it slowly.
I don't know where to begin with this book, primarily because I feel like I have only just begun.
I feel like I have been stretched on my thoughts about stories, worldview, and the role of joy in the C
...more
Leah Bird
This was a pretty straightforward book. It read like a justification essay, and it had some clear thoughts about the subject.

On the negative side, it was kind of boring, but that does not mean it was bad!

Until the next book,
Leah Jay (Reading Cavy)
Declan Huerta
Brillante, lúcido. Escrito hace cien años, y narra los errores de hoy. El capítulo VIII es profético. Pero sigo poniendo por encima El hombre eterno.
Andrew
Jul 06, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this review first appeared on [http://intraspace.blogspot.com]

i've finally finished reading his book 'orthodoxy'. it looks little, like a quick read, and then it isn't.

this book seems to have had a revival in the last couple of years. it's recommended by philip yancey, john eldridge mentions it a lot in his writings, and relevant media (purveyors of christian cool) have just released a version under their imprint. i suppose it was also considered a 'christian classic' before this recent press -
...more
Jason
Oct 26, 2007 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Christian apologetics or top notch rhetoric
Shelves: churchy-stuff
G.K. Chesterton is a rhetorical master, and nowhere is his virtuosity on better display than in Orthodoxy. This book is saturated with classical rhetorical devices, so it may be a bit heavy-handed for modernists. If you enjoy a clever turn of phrase and a top-notch wit, Chesterton is hard to beat.

Orthodoxy is noteworthy for its substantive content as well. In this book, G.K. defends Christianity against the amoral relativism of his day (the turn of the 20th Century). His primary foil is George B
...more
Hannah
Apr 12, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chesterton is so quintessentially quotable that I thought it would be fun to try filling a commonplace book of nothing but Chesterton quotes. But then I gradually realized that this work is a commonplace book of nothing but Chesterton quotes so that making my own would simply be redundant.

Orthodoxy is filled with one brilliant moment after another, but the book as a whole seemed a bit haphazard, like it might have a hard time passing a sobriety test. But maybe that's the point: the wild and unp
...more
Barnabas Piper
Dec 11, 2012 Barnabas Piper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chesterton expresses things about the faith that I have long felt and not been able to express. He is truly brilliant. This is a powerful book to help Christians and non-Christians alike understand the faith.
Gavin Breeden
Oct 17, 2012 Gavin Breeden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2012-reads
All I can say for right now is WOW. Adding this to my "favorites" and will probably read it every few years. Consider this: I'm an unashamed Calvinist and Chesterton maligns Calvinism in almost every chapter and he still managed to dazzle and delight me with this book.
Megan
This is not the book you think it is.

I read the title and expected this to be a book of doctrine. I expected Chesterton to baldly state that he believed in the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the resurrection - all the things that make up orthodoxy - and then defend them. That's not what Chesterton did. This is not a book of doctrine; it is a book of social creeds.

By "social creed" I mean that Chesterton, instead of describing actual orthodox doctrines, describes the kind of mental attitudes
...more
Jordan Jeffers
Feb 24, 2013 Jordan Jeffers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wisdom

This book in one tweet

Dead, cape-wearing English guy from early 1900s still wiser/funnier than anyone you know. #apologetics #iwishpeoplestillworecapes

Favorite quote

But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may b
...more
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Top 10 Books That Have Influenced My Life with God 1 9 Oct 25, 2016 10:41AM  
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Catholic Thought: Orthodoxy Chapter 5 5 11 Nov 27, 2015 02:19PM  
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  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est
  • Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World
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  • For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy
  • Handbook of Christian Apologetics
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols
  • Christianity and Culture: The Idea of a Christian Society and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
More about G.K. Chesterton...

Other Books in the Series

Milestones in Catholic Theology (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Spirit of the Liturgy
  • The Trinity
  • The Mystery of Christian Worship
  • The Spirit of Catholicism
  • I Believe in the Holy Spirit: The Complete Three Volume Work in One Volume
  • Augustinianism and Modern Theology
  • Symbolism: Exposition of the Doctrinal Differences Between Catholics and Protestants as Evidenced By Their Symbolical Writings
  • Scripture in the Tradition
  • The Mystery of the Supernatural
  • Old Testament Theology: Reading the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture

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“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” 919 likes
“Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.” 481 likes
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