Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis: A Life— Part Five

Ben: One of the things your biography of Lewis could not be accused of is being hagiography. I have often wondered why exactly Americans have so often sought to polish the halo of Lewis including those who have written about him, and revere him to such a great degree, whereas by in large this is not true in the U.K. and never has been. I wonder if you have thought as to why the reception of Lewis in the U.K. vs. in America differs to a significant degree? Recently I went and saw a British actor … [Read more...]

Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis:A Life– Part Four

Ben: ‘Northerness’ is of course a topic that comes up again and again when it comes to Lewis’ developing imagination and later his fiction, but I have to say I found it strange to hear about Norse mythology lumped together with things Germanic like Wagner!! Wagner was about as Norse as me, and if Wagner’s fantasy world was a major influence shouldn’t one call it ‘Southerness’ compared to the geographical locales of Lewis?Alister: Point taken – but maybe you press it too far. As a boy, Lewis … [Read more...]

Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis– A LIfe— Part Three

Ben: One of the keys, you suggest, to Lewis’ intellectual survival during his WWI service was his ability to compartmentalize things, and to continue to have and protect his ‘inner life’ and imagination without being unduly traumatized. Could you say more about this? Was Lewis retreating into some fantasy world to protect himself from being deeply wounded by his experiences in France?Alister: It’s very difficult, and probably quite unwise, to try and reconstruct someone’s mental defences. N … [Read more...]

Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis a Life— Part Two

Ben: Why do you suppose it is that so little attention has been paid in the past to Lewis’ Irish background and upbringing, especially when it comes to his religious background, growing up in an environment where the Lewis’ and the Tolkien’s of this world were unlikely to fraternize or be friends?Alister: It’s partly because previous biographers weren’t really familiar with it. Nor had Lewis’s full correspondence – which makes clear the importance of his Irish identity, especially in h … [Read more...]

A.D. The Bible Continues— Episode Five

One of the angles Downey and Burnett have chosen to pursue in order to fill out the story of early Christianity is by exploring the nature and fate of the Zealots, those in favor of the violent overthrow of Rome, sometimes at whatever cost. In Episode Five with follow the story of Boaz the Zealot, but this is juxtaposed with the story of the persecution of Peter, and the stoning of Stephen which draws this episode to a climax. Along the way Downey and Burnett have used the device of having the … [Read more...]

Philip Jenkins on the Endings of John’s Gospel

Here's a interesting recent post by my friend Philip Jenkins, for reflection this morning. See what you think. BW3The first Sunday after Easter was “Low Sunday,” so-called because of the anticlimactic nature of anything following the high drama of Easter itself. But the readings for the day actually tell us a great deal, not just about the Resurrection, but about the way in which the New Testament itself was composed.In the Revised Common Lectionary, the day’s gospel reading is John 20: … [Read more...]

Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis– A LIfe: Part One

Alister McGrath has recently provided us with a top drawer biography of C.S. Lewis, which has as its subtitled 'Eccentric Genius. Reluctant Prophet' (Tyndale, 449 pages, about $18 U.S.). Unlike it's notable predecessors (by George Sayer or Roger Lancelyn Green), McGrath did not know Lewis personally, and therefore presents us with more of an outsider's portrait of the man, based on the literary evidence. When I say literary evidence, I mean not only his published works but especially the 3,000 … [Read more...]

Chronological Snobbery

Chronological snobbery—it’s a factA sin of mind and act.It relegates the past to the dustbinAnd it will not retract.It thinks the latest is the greatest,And the new is the true,No matter what naysayersSay or do.Chronological snobbery—it’s a crime.‘dwell no more in the past it says,leave it all behind.’As if historical amnesia could set us freeOr myopia could help us see.But those who ignore the past’s sinsAre doomed to repeat them… agai … [Read more...]

Woman in Gold–Helen Mirren Shines Brightly

Last summer Ann and I went to Austria so I could give a lecture at the International SBL meeting. It was mostly just an excuse to go see a beautiful European city and see some friends there and in Prague. Everywhere we went, we saw trinkets, pictures, posters, of the art work of Gustav Klimt especially his portrait, 'The Kiss'. At the time, we knew nothing about a new movie starring Helen Mirren which had just been filmed in Austria and the U.S. telling the remarkable tale of how Maria Bloch … [Read more...]