I have just finished Bill Bryson's Shakespeare (2007)- witty (as you would expect) but also mightily informative. Three things particularly struck me. First, the absence of hard information about Shakespeare's life. As Bryson typically puts it: "he is a kind of literary equivalent of an electron - forever there and not there." I had no idea that so little detail exists. Second, Shakespeare's sheer genius. For example, his torrent of new words - he recorded the first use of 2,035 words! And his amazing gift of phrases, which total about one-tenth of all the quotations in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. But third, it was the prodigious efforts of so many later "authorities" to trash his reputation - that his work was really the work of another, or that he was too brilliant to be a single person. Deftly, Bryson undoes their "authority."
Inevitably, (as a preacher), I thought of Jesus about whom there is much more evidence of course. But he had both a unique impact on the world, (with unequalled spiritual grace and power), yet also many continuing detractors. While accepting Christ has something to say, many still reject his self-claims to be divine. I was interested in a review of Eckhardt Tolle's A New Earth, to see that Jesus is quoted more than any other. Yet, in The Power of Now, Tolle says: "Never personalize Christ. Don't make Christ into a form identity. Avatars, divine mothers, enlightened masters, the very few that are real, are not special as persons." (Christianity Today,August 2008 ) For real, for me, the person of Jesus Christ is central to everything!