One of the things I love about reading and exploring new ideas is continuing to trace the ideas further and further back. When you find a book or author who resonates with you, take note of who he or she quotes (especially if repeatedly). Then read that author and do the same. This allows you to trace the origin and evolution of ideas and allows you to grasp them in deeper ways.
The merits of this thinking have been explained in different ways, but here is an intriguing way to consider it:
“Chew on one thinker – writer, activist, role model – you really love. Study everything there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people the thinker loved and find out everything about them. Repeat this as many times as you can. Climb up the tree as far as you can go. Once you built your tree, it’s time to start your own branch.”Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist
One of the “thinkers” whose name has emerged numerous times in my theological studies has been the French philosopher René Girard. Girard died in 2015 at the age of 91. I recently read his book called I See Satan Fall Like Lightning (see: Amazon link). While it isn’t an easy read (possibly because it is translated into English or it’s just really deep), this one offers plenty to chew on.(more…)