I have now read Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring up the bodies. I was attracted to the large volumes by their subject matter - Thomas Cromwell (a key figure in Henry VIII's reign) the Tudors being my best loved and known historical period - and their award winning success. They certainly are very well written and I think give an insight into the period not easily gained from ordinary history books. I am not a fan of historical fiction. When doing A level history many years ago Jean Plaidy (Eleanor Hibbert was her real name - she also wrote as Philippa Carr and Victoria Holt). The class was nearly all girls and they would always ask if Plaidy was worth reading. The teacher's cautious answer meant I never bothered. In fact, one of the Philippa Gregory Boleyn novels is the only venture into historical fiction I have made, I believe. Anyway, Mantel is clearly superior to either of those authors but still you have this problem - not knowing what is credible fact and what is patent fiction. I tend to look behind every sentence of a book wondering what prompted it and reading these books I was constantly wondering what prompted it - whim or research. So, given that these are such long books I am not altogether satisfied but I'm glad I've got through them. Given that there is one more book to come (The Mirror and the Light) I am rather tied in I guess but that is not until 2015 they say. Meanwhile, the thought of Mark Rylance and a presentation of the material as Shakespearean drama does appeal. See here.
Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.