Thursday, May 20, 2010

Author Spotlight: Christian Encounters: Jane Austen by Dr. Peter Leihart

Raised in the Church, the real Jane Austen drew inspiration for her life, as well as her writing, from her strong Christian faith. In his new book, Christian Encounters: Jane Austen, author, pastor and theologian Dr. Peter Leithart details the spiritual life of beloved author Jane Austen.

Focusing on the faith that guided her life and work, Dr. Leithart, an Austen aficionado and author of Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen, showcases a side of Austen most readers have not seen. From her childhood as a pastor’s daughter to her adulthood penning some of the most famous novels of all time, every stage of Austen’s life was influenced by her faith.

“I was riveted by Leithart's excellent biography of Austen, the woman who profoundly influenced me to search for the universal truth in my novels,” says Colleen Coble, best-selling author of The Lightkeeer's Daughter. “I was able to see the flesh-and-blood woman I've admired since my teens.”

Christian Encounters: Jane Austen is the first in a new series of biographies from Thomas Nelson exploring the faiths of 10 historical figures. From Isaac Newton to Johann Sebastian Bach, these short, casual biographies highlight important lives from all ages and areas of the Church and encourage readers in their challenges and lessons of faith. In addition to Jane Austen, the first five books in the series include John Bunyan, Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton and Saint Patrick. The remaining books in the series, set to release in August, are: Johann Sebastian Bach, William F. Buckley, St. Francis, Anne Bradstreet and J.R.R. Tolkien.

From Solomon to Shakespeare, there aren’t many topics Dr. Peter Leithart hasn’t written about. The author of 19 books, Dr. Leithart applies his background in literature, history, religion and theology to exploring some of history’s most important figures.

Dr. Leithart received a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Hillsdale College, a Master of Arts in religion and a Master of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He also holds a doctorate from the University of Cambridge in England. Dr. Leithart has taught theology and literature at New Saint Andrews College since 1998, where he currently serves as dean of graduate
studies and senior fellow of theology.

Dr. Leithart previously served as a pastor of Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He currently serves as pastor at Trinity Church in Moscow, Idaho.

A prolific writer, Dr. Leithart’s previous works include Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture (Baylor University Press, 2009) and Against Christianity (Canon Press, 2003). He has also written numerous articles on topics ranging from biblical analysis to commentary on literary masters such as Shakespeare, Dante and Austen. His work has appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Birmingham News, The Dallas Morning News, First Things, Modern Theology, The International Journal of Systematic Theology, The Tyndale Bulletin, and other publications. He served as editor and writer for American Vision and currently works as a contributing editor for Touchstone magazine, an interdenominational Christian journal.

Dr. Leithart currently lives in Moscow, Idaho, with his wife, Noel. They have 10 children and three grandchildren. To learn more about Dr. Leithart and Christian Encounters: Jane Austen, please visit

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