On my return to the office from Italy, I found the manuscript of a book that will be published by Ignatius Press in the spring. The title is "Ronald Knox as Apologist." The author is Fr. Milton T. Walsh.
I was especially pleased to be asked to write a promotional blurb for the book because (a) Knox might be my favorite Catholic writer (certainly he is in the top five) and (b) for twenty years I have had in my library a copy of Walsh's Ph.D. dissertation, which was on Knox and which might be considered the first draft of this book.
You might be interested in reading Walsh's account of a recent trip to England, where he made a "Ronald Knox pilgrimage," visiting sites where Knox lived and worked, such as Eton, Oxford, St. Edmund's in Ware, and Mells. The trip report, and much else about Knox, can be found at the web site of the Ronald Knox Society: http://www.ronaldknoxsociety.com.
Knox not only was an apologist (my favorite book of his along these lines, co-authored with Arnold Lunn, is "Difficulties") but a writer of detective stories, translator of the Bible (singlehandedly!), satirist and wit, and very effective preacher.
Several publishers have reprinted some of Knox's many books or have printed books about Knox. My own "Controversies" (Ignatius Press) includes what I think are some of the choicest apologetic pieces by Knox. Aside from Ignatius Press, I recommend you look at Roman Catholic Books, Sophia Institute Press, Requiem Press, and Dover Publications (one Knox title each, with Dover's being a detective story).
Knox's translation of the New Testament--the translation I prefer for devotional reading--has been reprinted by Templegate Publishers. His magnum opus, "Enthusiasm," has been reprinted by the University of Notre Dame Press. His authorized biography, written by Evelyn Waugh, is out of print but, as of today, still is available through Amazon, as are new and used copies of a fair number of his books.
By the way, the Walsh book can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.
In case you're wondering why I titled this section "The Good Knox," it's because in religious circles the name "Knox" usually first brings to mind "The Bad Knox," which is to say the Protestant Reformer John. This confusion of names induced G.K. Chesterton to write this poem:
Mary of Holyrood may smile indeed
Knowing what grim historic shade it shocks
To see wit, laughter and the Popish creed
Cluster and sparkle in the name of Knox.
The "grim historic shade," of course, was John Knox, who was not the kind of fellow known for wit or laughter and certainly not for the "Popish creed"!
"Mary of Holyrood" refers to Mary, Queen of Scots, who was a Catholic and who was executed in 1587 with the decided acquiescence of Elizabeth I.
Monsignor Knox (Ignatius Insight author page) has been one of my favorite Catholic authors and apologists since I first discovered his wonderful book, The Belief of Catholics, several years ago. My review of that book can be read here. Ignatius Press has also published:
- Captive Flames: In his vivid style, Ronald Knox tells the stories of a variety of these Christian stalwarts including St. Cecilia, St. George, St. Dominic, St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas More, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Philip Neri, St. Anselm, St. Joan of Arc, and many more.
- The Hidden Stream: The Mysteries of the Christian Faith: This book is a collection of stimulating, informal discussions in which Msgr. Knox re-examines some of the fundamental precepts of the Catholic faith as well as the formidable challenges facing Catholics today.
- Pastoral and Occasional Sermons: This volume is a collection of Knox's homilies on all the important themes of the spiritual and moral life, and on his favorite saints, men and women of history who were "inflamed with the love of Christ".
Keating is the author/editor of Controversies, which focuses on the apologetic work of Knox and four other fine Catholic controversialists of the 19th and 20th centuries:
Controversies: High Level Catholic Apologetics
In his book Controversies: High Level Catholic Apologetics, best-selling Catholic apologist and author Karl Keating presents writings from five of his favorite apologists who give a clear and forceful exposition of Catholic truth. These five well-known British writers of the 20th century had strong convictions, were not afraid of controversy and defended the truth with vigor and charity.
Examine and learn from the writings of John Henry Newman, Hilaire Belloc, Herbert Thurston, Arnold Lunn, and Ronald Knox. This book will introduce you to some of the best defenses of the faith ever and provide a peek at great minds at work.