Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Noted Review: Alexander

Abbott, Jacob. Alexander the Great (Makers of History). Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2009. 196 Pages. Paper. $12.00. http://www.canonpress.org/shop/item.asp?itemid=1526&catid=  (N)

The classical world is a very interesting place. Yet, for some reason, the notion of "progress" has taken over the world of education. That is most unfortunate. The oft-repeated phrase, "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it," is quite true. And not enough people know the true story of Alexander the Great.

Alexander of Macedonia, son of Philip, was great because of his promise and accomplishments as a young man, and his greatness in those areas were matched by the greatness of his later debauchery and cruelty. 

Early on, Persian ambassadors said, "Alexander is great, while our king is only rich" (20).

This is a story that needs to be told and retold that we may imitate Alexander according to his virtues and know what not to do when it comes to his vices. Knowing this history is extremely important to understanding the context of the Greek New Testament, the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the rise of Christianity "when the time had fully come." Alexander brings cultural and linguistic unity that even his early death (at 33) could not destroy. 
Alexander is also a great study in contrasts with another 33-year-old, our crucified, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ. Alexander desired to magnifiy his own name and drank himself to death. Christ poured out His life as a ransom for many, giving His Body for us to eat and His Blood for us to drink for the forgiveness of our sins.

A hearty "thank you" to Canon Press for gently updating and republishing this classic book and history. The size and format of the book and friendly font and type size made this book a joy to read. 

We look forward to reading the other volumes in the series, Nero, Hannibal, and Julius Caesar and earnestly hope more books like this will be republished soon.

"Alexander the Great is part of Makers of History, a 19th century biography series by two brothers—Jacob and John S.C. Abbott. Reprinted by Canon Press, these biographies have been edited and brought up-to-date for readers twelve and up. Not only are these editions given vintage style paperback covers, but they also include introductions that explain where these men and women fit into the timeline of history" (Publisher's website).

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR