Myth Made Fact
The Myth Made Fact: Reading Greek and Roman Mythology through Christian Eyes
by Louis Markos PhD review by Sarah Mast
When I first saw this book cover in my inbox from Classical Academic Press’ newsletter, I knew I wanted to read it, and I knew Classical Education Books would carry it as quickly as it could be published. I thought it was going to be similar to their adult education series; books that are as encouraging as they are informative. This book was so different than my expectations; in the best way.
The Myth Made Fact crosses genres to become not only a historical, literary, and Christian studies textbook, but also an anthology of ancient Greek and Roman myths, a charitable academic seminar on truth and virtue, and a guidebook on how to teach these subjects to students or yourself. It also includes art pieces from throughout the millennia to help dramatize some of the texts with art history. This book is a cross-disciplinarian dream.
I love books, art, field trips, and the like to be as interwoven as possible with other subjects. It makes the experience so much richer when we can help our children (or ourselves) comprehend meaningful connections within our learning.
The minute I opened up the first page to Markos’ Table of Contents, I knew I’d be given all the information I needed, including but not limited to: A Note on Virtue, Appendices (mythology in pop culture, pedagogical approaches, and classroom usage), a Character Glossary and more. Although lengthy introductions are included, I’m so glad I didn’t skimp on them and just fast-forward to the myths chapters. I would have missed so much ‘meat’!
He practically breaks down the myths into subsections which were helpful to me as someone who did not grow up reading myths. After each myth, Markos writes his “Reflections”. These put the myth in context for us today and marries it with theological truth and virtue. He has ample footnotes provided, and I am so glad they are thorough. What I lack in classical understanding, he guides me along like a patient Dante, providing the background that I need to understand the full weight and meaning.
After the reflections come the next section to each myth chapter, the Applications. Markos has written between 1-10 questions (often with a subset of questions) that a highschool student could work through for History, Literature, and Christian studies learning, or if you’re like me, an adult who wants to rub my eyes to ‘see through the dark glass’ more clearly, from antiquity to present day. These questions will challenge someone who has been a Christian for a long time, and it will invite students to stretch and wrestle with their own faith-based questions.
I have been homeschooling for many years, and my son and daughter have grown up with a love of myths thanks to a popular and prolific writer. When my son saw the cover of this book he said, “Hmm. That looks pretty interesting.” This is teenage-speak for excitement and I knew I immediately had buy-in, but I wanted to read it first so I could really engage well with him and go through the Applications questions together; something his debater nature loves to do.
This book has encouraged me in my Christian faith, guided me through my historical gaps, and has helped my son and I take part in ‘the great conversation’ together. I look forward to keeping this treasure on my shelves for many years, but “don’t take my word for it”, pick it up and deep-dive into a delightful study of truth, goodness, and beauty.
1 Although I may not have the classical understanding I wish to (yet), I do know that Rick Riordan has helped a generation of kids learn the Greek, Roman, Norse, (etc!) myths with humor and fast-paced plot. 2 LeVar Burton, presenter of “Reading Rainbow”; one of my reading mentors from childhood
My name is Sarah Mast and I homeschool my two kids in Ft. Langley, BC. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is the community gained, and I volunteer with a local support group to help foster that and connect others. My family loves the outdoors and traveling, and our weekends include skiing, swimming, hiking, or biking depending on the season. I found Classical Education Books at a conference and noticed their well-curated selection of children’s books. I kept tabs on their collection of the classics and hard-to-find books and reached out. Now I get to help customers hone their collections, and work on the ever-growing inventory here at CEB!