One is the Savior of the world. The other is a 19th-century English novelist. Together, they both take center stage in Jane & Jesus, an original podcast by SoulShop that explores how Jane Austen’s literary works can teach us about Christianity.
What makes life worth living? What are our obligations to each other and to ourselves? What does love mean, and what does it look like? These are the kinds of questions that Jane & Jesus seeks to answer (and does quite well). The pairing might seem like a stretch at first, but as host Karen Swallow Prior explains, Austen was indeed a serious Christian whose life and works were heavily influenced by Christianity. “Her novels have a lot to teach us about the Christian faith but also general life wisdom too,” Prior says in the show.
The first season takes a deep dive into Pride & Prejudice, highlighting one character per episode. Prior lends valuable commentary and invites novelists, professors, and religious figures to share their expertise as well. Together, they discuss the characters in the context of topics like holiness, virtue, truth, and—of course—pride. A common thread throughout the show is the idea of seemingly ordinary moments being so much more than ordinary.
Although there is ample discussion over historical context and academic themes, Jane & Jesus is truly an entertaining podcast. Pride & Prejudice is comical and satirical, and Prior seems to enjoy highlighting some of those moments from the novel. She also does an excellent job of bridging early religious traditions and 19th-century ideas with the world of today. The result is a show that is equal parts education and delight.
According to the Jane and Jesus Twitter account, season two is in the works and likely will focus on the novel Sense & Sensibility. For now, the first season is available for listening on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms.