Date of Award

Fall 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Douglas Greene

Committee Member

R. Baine Harris

Committee Member

William H. Brennan

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H85F69


This thesis explores the theological thought of G. K. Chesterton, particularly as it is found in his detective short stories about Father Brown. In his other works (e.g., Orthodoxy, Heretics, and his many books of essays), the theology of Chesterton is obvious. However, in the light, whimsical Father Brown stories the theology expressed is often profound, but underrated if not ignored by his critics. Specific examples from his stories will be used to highlight the theological points within the mysteries.

The life and times of Chesterton are discussed as having highly influenced his thought. His unconventional religious upbringing, in particular, allowed for the freedom he felt to express his thoughts on religious issues. The times in which he lived are also of importance to the religious attitudes reflected in his stories.

Other factors of note for this topic are: the genre of detective fiction and how this form was used by Chesterton to make a point within the mystery; Father John O'Connor, the model for Father Brown; and a look at Chesterton as a Thomistic thinker as reflected in his great work, The Dumb ox, and in the quaint character of Father Brown.


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