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

Ben: Lewis has often been touted as the great Christian apologete of the 20th century. What struck me in reading your discussion of this is that you were certainly well positioned to critically evaluate the merits of what he wrote and said of this nature, since you’ve done a fair bit of apologetics yourself. Now that we are in a more post-modern and post-Christian era in the West, in what ways does Lewis’ approach look dated, and in what ways still helpful? (N.B. It has struck me as very odd tha … [Read more...]

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

Ben: 6) Chronological snobbery is a phrase we find at various points in Lewis’ work. It seems that this concept is even more relevant now than ever in the age of rapid technological turnover where the latest is the greatest and the newest is taken to be the truest. How does Lewis’ approach help us to combat historical and theological and even literary amnesia?Alister: This is a critically important point, given our culture’s obsession with novelty and the “latest research” – which is so oft … [Read more...]

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

Ben: I was reading along on p. 70, and read these lines from Lewis “Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills”. A line you give in the context of discussing his war poems. I have to say this certainly corresponds with my own experience when we suddenly lost Christy our eldest child at 32 to a pulmonary embolism. My way of coping was to write a poem about this, and then reflections on grieving entitled ‘When a Daughter Dies” which apparently has he … [Read more...]

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...]