Playing with Dragons: Living with Suffering and God

By Andy Angel

A fascinating study of a neglected form of biblical imagery, showing how the portrayal of dragons creates a language through which suffering can be explored.

ISBN: 9780718893484


There be dragons all over the Bible. From the great sea monsters of Genesis to the great dragon of Revelation, dragons appear as the Bible opens and closes, and they pop their grisly heads up at various junctures in between. How did they get there and what on earth (or indeed in heaven) are they doing there?
From Chapter One

This is a book for those who find standard discussions of faith and suffering frustrating. Andy Angel opens up the rich biblical tradition of living with God in the midst of suffering. He takes the reader on a journey of exploration through biblical texts that are often overlooked because of their strangeness – texts about dragons. He shows how these peculiar passages generate a language of prayer through suffering in which people share their anger, weariness, disillusionment, and even joy in suffering with God. Angel explores how such ‘weird’ Scriptures open up a whole new way of praying and reveal a God who approves of honest spirituality, a spirituality that the Bible holds open but too many of its interpreters do not.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 138

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Andy Angel is an Anglican priest and the Vice Principal of St John’s College, Nottingham. He is the author of Angels: Ancient Whispers of Another World (2012).


Foreword by N. T. Wright
Abbreviations of Ancient Texts

1. By Way of Background
2. From Chaos to Creation and Back Again
3. Out of the Depths
4. Wrestling with an Absent Almighty
5. Talking Back to Tradition
6. Playing with Dragons

Index of Ancient Sources
Index of Modern Authors


Endorsements and Reviews

Angel has that rare gift of writing with great scholarship about the texts, but in a compelling way, and so that we meet him as a fellow pilgrim. Biblical texts we often gloss over spring to life as we see how ‘monster stories’ are used to face the age-long question about appalling suffering; ‘is God really in control?’ The texts call us to complete honesty in prayerful lament, to trust, and not to give evil the last word.
Bishop Graham Dow, Assistant Bishop in the Dioceses of Chester and Manchester, former Bishop of Carlisle

A book about dragons – surely a waste of time? On the contrary, this is a fascinating engagement with a neglected seam of biblical material that not only helps us understand its context but also points the way for a more creative contemporary response to God in times of struggle or suffering. A good read that will nourish spirituality as well as inform scholarship.
Canon Christina Baxter CBE, former Principal, St John’s College, Nottingham

This is a magical little book from a seriously able teacher whose treatment of the subject, and notably of the Book of Job in Chapter Four, is exemplary.
Lavinia Byrne, in Church Times, 14 August 2015