This is the cover of "The Blessed Book of Beasts" by Jonathan Scott. The book is reviewed by Eugene J. Fisher. (CNS)
"The Blessed Book of Beasts" by Jonathan Scott. Eastern Christian Publications (Fairfax, Virginia, 2014). 221 pp., $19.95.
This is a book for parents to read to and with their children. A bestiary, the author explains in his introduction, was a medieval, illuminated manuscript about animals mentioned in the Bible, and some not mentioned, but creatures of fantasy.
Devotional in intent, poems were written about the various creatures, verses that aimed to teach moral and spiritual lessons, imaginative lessons to bring home to the readers theological truths in a vivid way.
In this, the bestiary is akin to the stained-glass windows of medieval churches, which illustrated biblical stories and the lives of the saints to assist the faithful, who were often illiterate, in understanding better the Christian faith. Various saints such as Francis de Sales, the author notes, used stories of animals to teach profound truths.
Jonathan Scott's "The Blessed Book of Beasts," one of the first bestiaries to be produced in centuries, is organized in three "volumes," roughly corresponding to the order of creation in the first chapter of Genesis.