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I’ve at times found the great English writer and apologist G.K. Chesterton wearisome for his seemingly unending parade of paradoxes, some of which strike me as the discovery of paradoxes for paradox’s sake.  Yet paradox, as Peter Kreeft notes in his Foreword to ABCs of the Christian Life: The Ultimate Anthology of the Prince of Paradox (Ave Maria Press, 2017), is both the fundament and the essence of Chesterton’s thought, not simply his preferred means of expression.  In other words, no paradox, no G.K. Chesterton.  “He shows us,” Kreeft says, “that what seems to us outrageously paradoxical is in fact simple truth, and what we see as simple truth is in fact outrageously paradoxical.  That’s the real paradox.”

ABCs is an anthology consisting of 26 chapters, one for every letter of the alphabet.  Thus, Chapter One, “Asceticism,” Chapter Two, “Bethlehem,” etc.  All selections are taken from his many books save one, “On Lying in Bed,” which comes from Tremendous Trifles, itself comprising the author’s early essays published in the Daily News.  These include some of his greatest works: Orthodoxy, The Everlasting Man, the biographies of Ss. Francis and Thomas Aquinas (praised by Etienne Gilson, the great Thomist scholar,...

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