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The Mind of the Maker

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  1,379 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews

This classic, with a new introduction by Madeleine L'Engle, is by turns an entrancing mediation on language; a piercing commentary on the nature of art and why so much of what we read, hear, and see falls short; and a brilliant examination of the fundamental tenets of Christianity. The Mind of the Maker will be relished by those already in love with Dorothy L. Sayers and t

Hardcover, 229 pages
Published February 4th 1971 by Greenwood Publishing Group (first published January 1st 1941)
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Nov 24, 2009 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is godlike in ourselves? Sayers conveys her thoughts as to how humans are made "in the image of God." She explains that the first thing we are told about God (through His Word) is that "God created...." and artists also "create..." We are most like our God when we exhibit his love and our work in a “finite” yet glorious way while we create something -- whether it is a story, a song, a painting, a sculpture, a photo, or dance.

Her theory that humans are each a trinity unto ourselves when we a
Sep 30, 2016 Melanti marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of the Lord Peter books and her essay "Are Women Human?" was really interesting - so I figured I'd give this a try despite not being the least bit religious.

She starts off in her intro with griping about the reading comprehension skills of those who disagreed with her previous essay - stating that it was not a matter of opinion, it was a statement of doctrine. It feels a bit like entering an argument en media res, but that's not so uncommon in intros.

In the beginning of the second
Aug 16, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
Recommended to Amy by: Jasmine...I think?
I've waffled back and forth between four and five stars for this one. I love Sayers's writing and her approach to the Trinity intrigued me. Even better, not only did I learn about a theological concept, I got to learn more about the writing and creative process. I was forced to think more deeply about what it means to be made in the image of God and I love that Sayers tackles our "analogy" of God as a Creator. Very interesting and thought provoking.
There were some really fabulous quotes and obse
Abigail Hartman
Sep 13, 2012 Abigail Hartman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
I don't have a proper Goodreads bookshelf for this: it's an exposition of the Trinity, but it's also just what the title says - a look into the workings of the creative, or artistic, mind. Sayers plainly states the doctrine of the Trinity and then proceeds to show how the mind of a human creator follows the same pattern of the Godhead: Father-Idea, Son-Energy, and Spirit-Power. She defends an admittedly cloudy doctrine in clear terms, traces the workings of the human mind in creation, and delive ...more
Mar 20, 2015 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fantastic, this is one of those books that has shifted my way of seeing God work and the world. Sayers helped to see the heresies that my personality predisposes me to believe. that is a great gift.
Aug 12, 2009 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers and readers
Shelves: theology, wry-ting
Well Mrs. Sayers... you sound like Lewis and Chesterton. That's a very good and, at times, a somewhat frustrating characteristic.

She writes on art, man, and God. Sayers has much good to say and said it well, but her conception of God's sovereingty and the free will of men seems haphazard.

The most enjoyable chapter in this book was entitled "Scalene Trinities." This was an elucidation of her theory for literary criticism as well as a defense of the Trinitarian doctrine in Christianity. If you ar
Sep 23, 2016 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This little gem offers scope to the life of the writer—to any artist—and gives perspective to the relationship with God and humanity.
David Withun
Jan 02, 2014 David Withun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: language
Among the noise of the various competing postmodernist approaches to literary theory, from neo-Marxism to feminism to deconstructionism, it often seems that the traditional Christian worldview and its accompanying approach to the production, interpretation, and understanding of literature have been buried in the morass. What Sayers gives us in this book, however, is a resurrected Christian literary theory. While the Christian worldview has certainly been eclipsed since the Renaissance, Sayers pr ...more
Skylar Burris
The Mind of the Maker is an unusual amalgam of theology and commentary on writing and art. As a Christian and a writer, I assumed I would enjoy this book. It is, in part, an attempt to elucidate the nature of God (and many of the questions that accompany belief in God, such as questions about evil, free will, and sin) by way of metaphorical comparison to the act of writing. And although it did at times succeed in elucidating matters (there was an aha! moment or two--yes, that makes it make more ...more
Oh, Dorothy L. Sayers, your erudition and classic university training are showing. And showing me up! I've been plugging away at The Mind of the Maker for four days--which is rather a long time for me for a book just over 200 pages long. But I found this one to be very slow going and way over my head, too. I usually find Sayers to be easy to understand, even when her classic university training is showing and she throws in Latin and French for good measure. I just can't grasp this one--the words ...more
Anne Hamilton
Mar 26, 2014 Anne Hamilton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
I loved the introduction by Madeleine L'Engle, in part because it clarified for me where she got the idea of 'serving the work' which is such a prominent aspect of Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. In fact, the concept is much more easy to understand here with just a few sentences than the fuller explanation elsewhere. Only going to prove that sometimes, less really is more.

For some reason I struggled with the rest of the book. Although I read it, nothing leaped out at me and somet
This book was a little difficult to get into a first, but well worth it. I have pulled so many quotes and chewed on several thoughts throughout my time in this that I plan to engage it again at some point. As a Christian, I realize I don't think enough about the Trinity. I love Sayers' use of analogy (and her defense of analogy) when speaking of it. As a maker, one who mirrors God's creativity, this stretched me in different ways as to how I create, why I create, and why sometimes my creations f ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, philosophy
This is a really fascinating look at discerning the mind of God using his image bearers as an analogy. I'm sure many have done (or attempted) this before but it is my first foray into this mode of analysis. Sayers uses the creative artist, specifically his method and product, to see God's creative character in the world and mankind as an ongoing work of "creation." She also uses the "trinitarian" nature of artistic creation (idea, energy, power) as analogy for God's work in man and creation.

Daniel Wright
Amid all the possible analogies that may be used to attempt to explain God (and they can only ever be incomplete attempts), Sayers expounds one: God as a writer or author, and creation as his work. In her hands it is remarkably fruitful, describing the basics of Christian theology in original and illuminating ways. I think I would appreciate it better if I were an actual writer; an actual writer would also be in a better position to quibble with it.
Tyson Guthrie
Dec 30, 2015 Tyson Guthrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging exposition of the vestigia trinitatis in art. You don't need to buy Augustine's trinitarianism (I don't) to benefit from this book (I did), but I suspect you'd find it even more convincing.
May 29, 2009 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This happens to be one of my favorite books. I reread it often and have kind of a semi-tradition of starting it on Trinity Sunday. I find Sayers' analogies helpful in thinking both about theology and about writing.
Stephen Roach
Oct 11, 2014 Stephen Roach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No one else I've read has drawn such strong and comprehensible parallels between the creative process and the nature of God.
Kelsey Bryant
Feb 04, 2017 Kelsey Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It's really amazing how Sayers makes us understand certain mysterious aspects of God through examining the creative process of the artist's mind. I was able to identify with much of what Sayers says about writers, which was exciting (and ennobling!). There were such gems: "as an artist, he retains so much of the image of God that he is in love with his creation for its own sake."

I also really enjoyed her statements about what makes a book or play into a well-written work of art, such as: "if th
Jana Crea
Feb 12, 2017 Jana Crea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
"As soon as the mind of the maker has been made manifest in a work, a way of communication is established between other minds and his. That is to say, it is possible for a reader, by reading a book, to discover something about the mind of the writer. And it is interesting to see how, in a minor way, the same difficulties and misunderstandings which are encountered in establishing communication with God crop up in the apparently much simpler matter of communication between writer and reader."

Sara Whear
Jan 09, 2017 Sara Whear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm always staggered by the depth and breadth of Dorothy Sayers intellect and knowledge. This book is an excellent defense of Trinitarian doctrines and of creativity. I think my favorite section was the end of the book where she addressed the idea that social ills are problems that have solutions like math problems have solutions. "The problem of unemployment" doesn't have a Platonic ideal of a solution that simply needs to be thought up and put into action.
Edoardo Albert
Jan 03, 2015 Edoardo Albert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A while back, when taking a theology MA, a group of we students were put together in a group and left, by our tutor, with the instruction to talk about the Trinity. Now, this wasn't one of those assemblages where fear of talking leads to agonised glances around to see if someone else will be brave enough to start things rolling - no, we were a voluble group, with most of us (not least me) quite convinced that what we had to say was quite as valuable as our tutor (so what if he had about four dif ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Andrea Nolan
This is not the kind of book I usually read, and while I'm only giving it three stars, I think some of my friends who enjoy philosophy and theology might give it more. Sayers, a friend and contemporary of C.S. Lewis, introduces a fascinating metaphor for the process of creativity, using the concept of the Trinity to explain how the Idea, Energy and Power of creativity collaborate in an artist's mind/work much like the traditional ideas of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together in the act of ...more
[The following review is a "book summary" written for a class. The style employed is required in the syllabus. If you have suggestions on how to improve the review please let me know as this is not due until May of 2011.]

In The Mind of the Maker novelist, playwright, and theologian, Dorothy Sayers discusses the doctrine of trinity by comparing God’s creativity to the human creative process. By unfolding how human beings (specifically writers, since that was her own craft) create works of art – f
Cindy Rinaman
Sep 20, 2016 Cindy Rinaman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-reviews
It took me years to complete this title, but I'm so glad I did. Such richness deserves contemplative sampling over time. Other than the "Scalene" chapter, I found the final third or half of the book the strongest, with wild flights of imagination joining the work of God with the work of a creative artist or writer. Sayers does well to help us understand both by illuminating their similarities. For those who like *Shop Class as Soulcraft,* the final chapters, especially, make close ties between t ...more
Dorothy Sayers undertakes an explication of the Trinitarian nature of God by analogy with the trinitarian manifestation of the creative mind as experienced by human artists. She describes the Idea as the unifying principle of a work of art, the Energy as the manifestation of that Idea in matter (i.e. the actual creation of the work of art), and the Power as the reception of the work of art as a finished object in comparison with the Idea; and she analogizes them to the Father, the Son and the Ho ...more
Luke Paulsen
Apr 15, 2016 Luke Paulsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to define the genre of Dorothy Sayers' classic nonfiction work, The Mind of the Maker. Theology? Lit-crit? Apologetics? Social commentary? To pigeonhole it into any one of these categories would do it an injustice. The central thesis of the book is easy to state: that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, far from being a crazy unrealistic theological construct, is simply an accurate description of how any creative mind works-- including the mind of a human author.

Most of the book is
Rebekah Choat
Sep 29, 2009 Rebekah Choat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
First, the author makes it clear that this book is neither a work of apologetics nor an expression of her personal religious beliefs, but a commentary on particular statements contained in Christian creeds. The specific statements she addresses are those regarding the nature of God, especially in His capacity as Creator. Her intention is to show how these characteristics attributed to God are applicable to the human mind engaged in imaginative creation as well.
Sayers acknowledges that many peopl
Tough book to rate. I’ve read several of Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, but this was my first attempt to read her nonfiction. At times I found it dry and difficult—in fact, I almost threw in the towel a few times. But surprisingly, it had me engaged more often than not, in spite of the number of times I caught myself rereading not just sentences but entire paragraphs to glean the points of her argument. And that’s exactly how this book reads—as an argument. Dorothy Sayers had one fierce in ...more
Michael Joosten
Oct 26, 2015 Michael Joosten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I debated between a 4-star and a 5-star rating here, because although I greatly enjoyed it, The Mind of the Maker is not perfect. Here and there Sayers seems to repeat herself and despite being one of the most lucid writers I've read, parts of this book require careful attention.

But I went with the five-star review because I really LIKED The Mind of the Maker.

Outside of actually taking a Trinitarian theology course, this is the most in-depth experience I've had of examining what it means for God
The book on writing and artistic creation that C.S. Lewis never wrote (well, sort of - Lewis and Sayers actually disagreed quite a bit on the role of the artist in society - one can find some of the letters they exchanged on the subject in the collections of Sayers' correspondence). Like her friend Lewis, Sayers is heavily indebted to Platonic/Augustinian concepts as she unpacks the creative process (with reference to writing literature and plays, primarily) in terms of "Idea" (authorial imagina ...more
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The Anglican group is going to discuss this 5 15 Jun 25, 2013 05:27AM  
  • The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing
  • Through a Screen Darkly: Looking Closer at Beauty, Truth and Evil in the Movies
  • Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale
  • Angels in the Architecture: A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth
  • Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
  • Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
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  • Descent into Hell
  • Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
  • Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World
  • For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts
  • Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology (Spiritual Theology #1)
  • It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God
  • Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning
  • Tremendous Trifles
  • On the Apostolic Preaching
  • Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age
  • Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis
Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned British author, translator, student of classical and modern languages, and Christian humanist.

Dorothy L. Sayers is best known for her mysteries, a series of novels and short stories set between World War I and World War II that feature English aristocrat and amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. However, Sayers herself considered her translation of Dante's Divina Co
More about Dorothy L. Sayers...

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“When a job is undertaken from necessity, or from a grim sense of disagreeable duty, the worker is self-consciously aware of the toils and pains he undergoes...But when the job is a labor of love, the sacrifices will present themselves to the worker--strange as it may seem--in the guise of enjoyment. Moralists, looking on at this, will always judge that the former kind of sacrifice is more admirable than the later, because the moralist, whatever he may pretend, has far more respect for pride than for love...I do not mean that there is no nobility in doing unpleasant things from a sense of duty, but only that there is more nobility in doing them gladly out of sheer love of the job.” 18 likes
“To complain that man measures God by his own experience is a waste of time; man measures everything by his own experience; he has no other yardstick.” 17 likes
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