The refusal of Christians to read widely is an oddly modern impulse. Pastors and Christian pundits of the last hundred years seem more likely to circle the wagons around explicitly “Christian” or “biblical” literature than their predecessors.

Many of the church fathers were classically trained and knew their way around the library. Basil the Great, for instance, showed great familiarity with Greek literature and formally recommended it to students. In an address on the topic, he referenced Hesiod, Homer, Solon, Theognis, Heracles, Prodicus, and others. Of the last he says, “he is not a man to be rejected.” For his part, John Chrysostom was no raging fan of Greek literature, but he nonetheless found reason to recommend it to his congregation and assumed their familiarity regardless.

So why should Christians read non-Christians? The short answer is truth.

— Joel J. Miller on What is Christian literature?