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Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Gameby John Sexton
Synopses & Reviews
A love letter to America's most beloved sport and an exploration of the deeper dimensions it reveals
For more than a decade, New York University President John Sexton has used baseball to illustrate the elements of a spiritual life in a wildly popular course at NYU. Using some of the great works of baseball fiction as well as the actual game's fantastic moments, its legendary characters, and its routine rituals—from the long-sought triumph of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, to the heroic achievements of players like the saintly Christy Mathewson and the sinful Ty Cobb, to the loving intimacy of a game of catch between a father and son—Sexton teaches that through the game we can touch the spiritual dimension of life.
Baseball as a Road to God is about the elements of our lives that lie beyond what can be captured in words alone—ineffable truths that we know by experience rather than by logic or analysis. Applying to the secular activity of baseball a form of inquiry usually reserved for the study of religion, Sexton reveals a surprising amount of common ground between the game and what we all recognize as religion: sacred places and time, faith and doubt, blessings and curses, and more.
In thought-provoking, beautifully rendered prose, this book elegantly demonstrates that baseball is more than a game, or even a national pastime: It can be a road to a deeper and more meaningful life.
"Can baseball be a 'road to God'? Sexton, the president of New York University, a former Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and tortured Yankees convert, considers the question as only an academic can. He draws heavily on the writings of University of Chicago professor Mircea Eliade, who proposed the existence of a phenomenon known as a 'hierophany,' a connection to the 'ineffable domain' of sacred manifestations, or in layman's terms, the 'touching of a transcendent plane.' With assists from journalists Oliphant (The Boston Globe) and Schwartz (Forbes), Sexton weaves supporting testimonials from physicists, authors, transcendentalists, and theologians into his reasoning over the course of nine chapters, or innings, with his summary reserved for the 10th. After loading the bases through nine, though, Sexton confesses that his thesis is little more than a balk. Baseball is not a 'Road to God,' even if it can awaken us to an 'often missing' dimension of life. That's deflating after his logical progression from thesis to proof, but it's a thought-provoking proposition for zealots and skeptics alike." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The president of New York University offers a love letter to Americas most beloved sport and a tribute to its underlying spirituality.
For more than a decade, John Sexton has taught a wildly popular New York University course about two seemingly very different things: religion and baseball. Yet Sexton argues that one is actually a pathway to the other.
Baseball as a Road to God is about touching that something that lies beyond logical understanding. Sexton illuminates the surprisingly large number of mutual concepts shared between baseball and religion: faith, doubt, conversion, miracles, and even sacredness among many others.
Structured like a game and filled with riveting accounts of baseballs most historic moments, Baseball as Road to God will enthrall baseball fans whatever their religious beliefs may be. In thought-provoking, beautifully rendered prose, Sexton elegantly demonstrates that baseball is more than a game, or even a national pastime: It can be a road to enlightenment.
About the Author
John Sexton is the fifteenth president of New York University and previously served as dean of the NYU School of Law. In addition to his executive duties, he teaches a full course load, making him one of the only university presidents to do so. He lives in New York City.
Thomas Oliphant was a columnist for The Boston Globe for more than forty years and is a New York Times bestselling author. He has been part of the “Baseball as a Road to God” seminar for years. He lives in Washington DC.
Peter J. Schwartz is a former reporter for Forbes and was the first student ever enrolled in the “Baseball as a Road to God” seminar. He lives in New York City.
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