A Covenant in Wonder with the World: The Power of Stories and Songs

A Covenant in Wonder with the World

The Power of Stories and Songs

by J. Edward Chamberlin


  • Available July 2012
  • ISBN 978-1-55380-148-1
  • ebook ISBN 978-1-55380-154-2
  • 5-1/2″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 52 pp
  • Literary Criticism

In this 2010 Grand River Forum Lecture, Ted Chamberlin describes how stories give shape and substance to the things we believe in, from scientific theories and sacred texts to literary tales and philosophical propositions. They promote ideals and identities, and sustain institutions and communities. They raise questions about the nature of truth and the character of belief. And they create a covenant in wonder that is at the heart of all storytelling, a ceremony of belief that may be different for each tradition of story and song—ancient or modern, oral or written—but eventually becomes as familiar as “once upon a time” or “let x be such and y be so” or “hallelujah.” In his progress across the continents and centuries, Chamberlin explores the art and ideas of William Wordsworth, Lorna Goodison and Wallace Stevens as well as the oral stories of the ≠Khomani people of Africa, the story designs of Blackfoot warriors, and the spiritual ideals of Mongolian herders.