C.S. Lewis Then and Now

C.S. Lewis Then and Now

C.S. Lewis Then and Now

C.S. Lewis Then and Now

Synopsis

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was a distinguished scholar of medieval and Renaissance literature who taught at both Oxford University and Cambridge University. After his conversion to Christianity, Lewis began writing Christian apologetic works aimed at a popular audience. It is for these works that Lewis is now best remembered; especially in the U. S., where his books have sold in the millions and continue to be popular today. Perhaps because of this popularity, however, Lewis's Christian writings are generally dismissed by theologians as oversimplified and conceptually flawed. With this book, Wesley A. Kort hopes to rehabilitate Lewis and to demonstrate the value and continuing relevance of his work.

Excerpt

A few years ago, a major in our department who had taken a couple of my courses asked me to offer her an independent reading course on C. S. Lewis. I knew of her active involvement in evangelical student groups, and I was not surprised, when I asked about her interest in Lewis, to learn that she was intrigued because he was both a “Christian”—she gave extra force to that word —and a well-positioned academic. She wanted to see how he managed that. She wanted help bringing together two important parts of her own life, her strong religious beliefs and her energetic intellectual pursuits. I suggested that she reconsider, because the course would not give easy answers but rather would raise tough questions and call for difficult choices.When she returned she said that six of her friends wanted to take the course, too. I proposed a seminar to maximize discussion. Due to demand I have been offering the course to large classes ever since.

I am intrigued both by the widespread, serious interest in Lewis among undergraduates and by their parallel desire to explore the relation of religious faith to the world opened up to them by their academic experiences and their intellectual curiosity and energy. Discontent with the prospect of a life divided into personal or internal and intellectual or public compartments seems widespread among students, as is also the willingness both to work at the question of the relation of intellectual inquiry and critique to religious faith and to incur the risks that such work entails. Lewis, I have found, becomes an occasion and guide for students to undertake in their own way and with varying degrees of success, a process of healing breaches in their lives.

I am also intrigued by the pedagogical opportunity their interest in this process and in Lewis offers. Usually an instructor must work hard to engage students in the topic of the course and to sustain that interest over the semester.

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