Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game

John Sexton, Author, Thomas Oliphant, Author, Peter J Schwartz, Author
John Sexton with Thomas Oliphant and Peter J. Schwartz. Gotham, $27.50 (352p) ISBN 978-1-592-40754-5
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Can baseball be a “road to God”? Sexton, the president of New York University, a former Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and tortured Yankees convert, considers the question as only an academic can. He draws heavily on the writings of University of Chicago professor Mircea Eliade, who proposed the existence of a phenomenon known as a “hierophany,” a connection to the “ineffable domain” of sacred manifestations, or in layman’s terms, the “touching of a transcendent plane.” With assists from journalists Oliphant (The Boston Globe) and Schwartz (Forbes), Sexton weaves supporting testimonials from physicists, authors, transcendentalists, and theologians into his reasoning over the course of nine chapters, or innings, with his summary reserved for the 10th. After loading the bases through nine, though, Sexton confesses that his thesis is little more than a balk. Baseball is not a “Road to God,” even if it can awaken us to an “often missing” dimension of life. That’s deflating after his logical progression from thesis to proof, but it’s a thought-provoking proposition for zealots and skeptics alike. (Mar.)
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