Author Topic: Cs Lewis  (Read 5122 times)

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Offline MartinIntlStud

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Cs Lewis
« on: April 30, 2003, 07:17:34 PM »
Anyone ever read his commentaries on Christianity? Are they any good? Do they contradict Orthodox teaching?

Offline Linus7

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Re:Cs Lewis
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2003, 07:29:09 PM »
I have read some of C.S. Lewis' stuff and enjoyed it immensely.

As I recall it is fairly orthodox, except when it comes to ecclesiology. He seems to embrace a sort of Anglican "Branch Theory" of the Christian Church that is not acceptable to Orthodox Christians.

I seem to remember that Lewis goes into this in the introduction to his book, Mere Christianity, where he likens the choice of churches to a person standing in a hallway and choosing from different doors: there is one marked "Roman Catholic," another marked "Anglican," etc.

I really like C.S. Lewis' writings, but it has been years since I have read them.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re:Cs Lewis
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2003, 07:47:11 PM »
By "commentaries on Christianity" do you mean his writings and not an actual text named that? :)

If so, I would give a cautious thumbs up to Lewis. Screwtape Letters is a fantastic book, and is very close to Orthodox teachings. I think it's one of the most insightful works dealing with psychology ever written. The Problem of Pain doesn't have anything blatantly unorthodox in it (that I can remember), and I seem to recall enjoying the book; however, Mr. Lewis doesn't give the answers that I think Orthodox Christians would find in most Orthodox material, so I'd be cautious with it. Mere Christianity is sort of like The Problem of Pain, I think: there's nothing totally unorthodox in it that I can remember, but then it doesn't always come to the same conclusions as Orthodox texts. Again, a good read, but caution is needed. The Chronicles of Narnia are, I guess, children's books, but I still enjoy reading one every now and then. As long as it's kept in mind that it's fantasy, I think it's a really great set of books (especially for children). I've even found some of the terminology in the books to be helpful in religious discussions (most notably, from the 7th and last book, the phrase "go further up and further in").
« Last Edit: April 30, 2003, 07:50:40 PM by Paradosis »
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Offline sinjinsmythe

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Re:Cs Lewis
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2003, 10:55:19 PM »
I am reading Mere Christianity right now.  :reading: I am enjoying the book so far, and I plan to read more of his works. Lewis in Mere Christianity does say the say the statement that Linus was paraphrasing. I don't think it is harmful for an Orthodox Christian to read his works. Reading his book has helped me to understand things that I previously did not understand. In fact there are a lot worse things an Orthodox Christian can read out there today. I would recommend reading some of his works, I think you might enjoy them.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2003, 10:56:35 PM by sinjinsmythe »
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Offline David

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Re:Cs Lewis
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2003, 11:54:22 PM »
I would say not only is it not harmful to read the works of C.S. Lewis, but they can be of exceeding value especially to secular non-Christians.  I am of course biased, as it was after reading Mere Christianity that I led me on the path to belief in Christ.  One book not mentioned that is of great value for the Orthodox reader is the Four Loves, an examination on the four greek words(agape, storge, philia, and eros) that are all translated into the english word love, and the distinct meanings of each.  

My favorite Lewis book would have to Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold, a fictional retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche that is an examination on secularism versus the concept of the divine.  While not specificially Christian parts of it are abashedly proto-Christian.  

I also try to start lent each year by read The Screwtape Letters, only takes a few hours, but it is a good reminder on how we feed on the flesh of those around us while we fast from meat and dairy.
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Offline TomS

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Re:Cs Lewis
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2003, 09:43:12 AM »
I am reading "Mere Christianity" now and find it very thought provoking.

I very much enjoyed his book "The Great Divorce".

Here is one review:

"Lewis provides an utterly original view of the afterlife through the mechanism of a bus trip from Hell to Heaven. The portrayals of the vast, nearly-empty city in Hell and a Heaven more real and solid than our reality are so profound that many will find their thoughts on the two places forever altered.

Also included is an examination of the question that has haunted many: "How can a loving God send people to Hell?" Lewis brilliantly answers this in a way that is completely satisfying to even the most demanding inquirer. You'll have to read the book to see.

There are so many gems in "The Great Divorce" that any further discussion would spoil the book. But suffice it to say, this work of fiction may be the greatest ever written for provoking long and enjoyable discussions with others. As a worthy diversion from more heady small group studies, it is without peer. "

Offline Brigid of Kildare

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Re:Cs Lewis
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2003, 11:23:22 AM »
Here's a recent article on Lewis from the Books and Culture Corner of Christianity Today:

Why There Are Seven Chronicles of Narnia
British scholar discovers hidden design of C.S. Lewis' perennially popular series.
By John Wilson | posted 04/25/2003

In February, Michael Ward was reading Lewis' poem, "The Planets," published in 1935. A former president of the Oxford University C.S. Lewis Society, Ward lived in Lewis' home, The Kilns, for three years as curator/warden. Now living in Cambridge and working on his doctorate from St. Andrews University—with a dissertation on Lewis—while preparing for the Anglican priesthood, he knows Lewis' work inside-out. And as he read that poem, he noticed something that no previous reader had seen.

As Ward explains in an account of his discovery published today in the Times Literary Supplement, he was reading the section of "The Planets" that deals with Jove, or Jupiter, when he was struck by its resonance with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The poem speaks of "winter passed / And guilt forgiven," and goes on to give what is, Ward says, "essentially a plot summary" of the first book in the Narnia Chronicles.

By the medieval reckoning, there were seven "planets": Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn. Was it possible, Ward wondered, that each of the seven Narnia books was written under the sign of a different planet? Looking closely at the Narnia Chronicles side-by-side with Lewis' 1935 poem, and other of his writings that touch on the planets, especially his posthumously published book, The Discarded Image, a retrieval of the medieval worldview, Ward found that indeed there is such a correspondence: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe corresponds to Jupiter, Prince Caspian to Mars, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to the Sun, The Silver Chair to the Moon, The Horse and His Boy to Mercury, The Magician's Nephew to Venus, and The Last Battle to Saturn.

Each planet, in crude summary of the medieval understanding, represents a certain set of linked emotions and images, a temper, a disposition, along the spectrum. And these are reflected, Ward found, in the Narnia books, both in the big arc of each story and in countless fine touches throughout each volume.

We can imagine the reaction of the sort of Christians who have gone into a frenzy over Harry Potter. Astrology! But what Ward has discovered is entirely consistent with Lewis' Christian humanism. The imaginative worldview embodied in the medieval lore of the planets speaks to something fundamental in our experience; it is not to be rejected but rather baptized, made harmonious with the underlying Christian vision that governs Narnia.

Ward's discovery will send fellow-scholars and countless ordinary readers back to the books to evaluate the evidence for themselves. (Look for a piece by Ward in a forthcoming issue of Books & Culture.) In the long term, by situating the Narnia Chronicles in the context of Lewis' lifetime fascination with the planets and showing the intricate patterning of the series, Ward will have laid to rest what he rightly calls A.N. Wilson's "absurd suggestion that Lewis turned to children's fiction as a retreat from apologetics after his clash with Elizabeth Anscombe at the Socratic Club." And he will have added yet another layer of appreciation for books that have delighted generations of children and their parents.

John Wilson is the editor of Books & Culture.

Copyright -¬ 2003 Christianity Today.
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Offline srenalds

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Re:Cs Lewis
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2003, 06:11:53 PM »
I grew up a very big fan of CS Lewis, and I would say that some of my readings played an important part in my willingness to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy.  My upbringing did not encourage much of a belief in the real presence of Christ in the sacraments, and the only place I can point to that opened this door for me prior to my experiences in the Church were the writings of CS Lewis.

I add that I found the Great Divorce to be a true Western Classic.

However, I really haven't read much of his works since becoming Orthodox.  The only criticisms that I could have regarding CS Lewis (and the other Inklings for that matter) is the impact that these stories can have on readers.  This is something an author must always consider, but perhaps Tolkien and Lewis couldn't possibly have realized this at the time.

The world of fantasy and imagination is not exactly an Orthodox realm.  Being a recent convert, it wouldn't be proper for me to go into great detail.  Please refer to the books by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos for more information.


Offline Kostya

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Re: Cs Lewis
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2014, 01:50:20 PM »
"The Weight of Glory" is what led me to Christ, and began my path to the Orthodox Church. Obviously I have a few disagreements with him now (mostly the differences between Orthodoxy and Anglo-Catholicism), but I still can read, enjoy, and learn from his books as an Orthodox Christian.

He's just about the only Protestant writer I can read. It's funny that most of the dislike/disagreement/hate for him comes not from Orthodoxy and Catholicism, but from Protestantism.

I strong recommend his works to everybody.
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Offline eddybear

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Re: Cs Lewis
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2014, 02:47:31 PM »
I have been very blessed by his works, especially The Great Divorce and The Four Loves. I know some Orthodox speak highly of him, including Metroplitan Kallistos Ware.

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Cs Lewis
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2014, 10:23:17 PM »
He is my second favorite Christian writer of his time and place.

G. K. Chesterton is my favorite.

Their theology is very Orthodox in so many respects and they are such great defenders of the Christian faith as against secularism, modernism, and, especially in Chesterton's case, post-modernism (although he was well before his time). 

Should the Lord grant that someday I may enter into Paradise, unworthy though I am, I hope to meet them both there, and to thank them for their witness.

Offline Peter J

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Re: Cs Lewis
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2014, 11:05:57 PM »
"If any Orthodox praise C. S. Lewis, let him be deposed."

(Granted, that wasn't stated by an official Ecumenical Council.)
- Peter Jericho