Jacob’s Ladder

Do you remember that book The Shack that was out some years ago? A man who lost his daughter goes on retreat to a cabin and meets three unusual people who turn out to be the Holy Trinity. He engages in a spiritual, theological discussion with them and learns a lot and grows a lot.

Peter Kreeft’s Jacob’s Ladder-10 Steps to Truth  is a Catholic version of that kind of book. A young gal named Libby meets a mysterious woman on the beach i the 1970s and they engage in a philosophical, theological discussion.

Kreeft’s book is an updated use of the Socratic method of teaching–learning by posing and answering questions. The step by step logical progression of the book is a winner, and keeps the reader turning the pages. Kreeft starts off with the idea of Passion and takes us up the ladder to the fullness of the Catholic faith chapter by chapter to Truth, Meaning, Love, Principles, God, Jews, Jesus, Catholics and Authority. The discussion is quirky and fun and much more sound and in depth than the sometimes cloying discussions in The Shack.

Jacob’s Ladder is a fairly quick and enjoyable read, and my only criticism is that the conversations between Libby and “Mother” are sometimes strained–the need for philosophical discussion is clearly more important than the characters or the almost non existent plot line.  It’s a quibble though, as long as you know that the characters and plot are only a device for the philosophical discussion you’re good.

Finally, like most of Kreeft’s books, this one is worth worth a second read once you’ve got through it the first time. If you’re looking for some summertime reading take Jacob’s Ladder. In fact, most of the conversations take place on the beach. Why not read it there?

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker

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