Note: You can access the books we have on our bookshelf either by clicking on the Bookshelf tab from the Study Resources pull down menu which you will find off of the Main Page Menu bar, or by going to that same selection and clicking on the ==> Bookshelf from that same pull down menu.
A Studious Fellow
When one inspects the line up of books that are included on our bookshelf one may notice a peculiar feature of our list. None of the books were written . . . (with the single exception of God in the Dock) . . . by C.S. Lewis. The reason for this is that the books written by Lewis himself are the central concern of the site while these books are suggested to aid and abet the study of various features our background experience, intended to inform, to allow us a more robust understanding–the features of our experience, and the general sort of knowledge C.S. Lewis assumed people would know. The kinds of things the average person with a fair amount of education would have known during that time. However, since he lived during a time that understood more aspects of our cultural past than people in our day—as a rule, some feel that this is all to the good since that fund of knowledge “has been superseded,” crowded out by a newer and what they assume to be a superior kind knowledge. This was not the way Lewis saw things, and this since many of the important aspects of our past’s understanding had been significantly diminished, and this having occurred over a relatively short period of time [Lewis lived from 1898 – 1963]. I find a kind of paradox in this, as do many others familiar with Lewis’ work, even though people who know his work also know that he never spoke with a condescending voice.
Since Michael Aeschliman, in his recent book–from page four of The Restitution of Man: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism, put it so much better than am able, I will quote him as he wrote, Lewis “in his knowledge of, trust in, and dogged appeal to the common sense of mankind, the consensus genitum, [is where we can find] much of Lewis’s enduring power and attraction as a thinker and writer. With a profound historical imagination like that of Burke, Lewis knew, as did the medieval Bernardus Sylvestris, that if on some issues, if we know more than the ancients, “we see father because we stand on the shoulders of giants.” But he was also aware of the decline and loss of much essential philosophical, religious, and moral wisdom in the twentieth century—what Marcel called the “decline of wisdom”—a development in which prerogatives, the abolition of man as a moral being, and the replacement of the image of man as homo sapiens with the brutally reductive and contradictory image of man ‘beyond freedom and dignity.”
He realized, even during the time at which he wrote, there were weaknesses in contemporary knowledge, so we might also suppose this is ever more acute for us in our time, and that at many junctures in our experence it is very difficult if not impossible to even realize that there is anything missing, and if we have weaknesses in those areas a more through understanding of Lewis’ writings will not be possible to achieve. This was true of even Lewis himself. For instance, The Everlasting Man was very influential in bringing Lewis to the conclusion that Christianity was a historically viable way of thinking about the Christian story, or narrative, until certain features of recorded history have been brought into a proper focus, which for Lewis was masterfully accomplished by G.K. Chesterton. With this principle, and concern, in mind it is our intent is to try and provide some suggestions that might alleviate some of that kind of distance.
Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man provided the best explanation for human experience as he had encountered it and as it had been received in recorded history. We conclude that without this kind of background understanding we might well be in a kind of similar, and weaker, position for attempting to understand why Lewis found the Christian way of looking at and interpreting the world so compelling.
In a similar vein, the interpretive principles found in and elaborated on in How to Read a Book and How to Read The Bible for All It’s Worth is fundamental to any attempt to try and get to the heart of, and to roundly interpret anything that comes to us by way of a textual (e.g. Biblical) presentation. Can I trust the Bible, and How We Got the Bible can be valuable aids in bolstering a confidence and an understanding on how the biblical texts have been transmitted to us, and why we can have confidence in that transmission. This groundwork had been laid for Lewis by his experience (and of course his genius) during his studies which lay the ground allowing him to become the amazing scholar that he eventually became—the fruits of which so many of us have come to appreciate. He was acquainted with the tradition and mechanics of what is required for a sound understanding of the Bible, allowing him to come to terms in a way, which allowed him to interpret the Western Judeo Christian worldview in the way he did. He did a lot of the groundwork for us, but we all as individuals have to do our part, thus the distinction in Adler’s How to Read a Book, between passive and active reading.
Lewis saw all these considerations as being accessible to human reason grounded in divine revelation. So, we think it is vital to attempt to offer some resources for the students of Lewis to do the same–to the best of our abilities. C.S. Lewis for the Third millennium and C.S. Lewis: A Guide to His Theology are understandable presentations of the thought of C.S. Lewis by two experts in the field of Lewis scholarship, who have pioneered a way for lay students, such as myself–with the help of many brilliant scholars in front of them–to arrive at a better understanding of his work. David Aeschliman’s The Restitution of Man: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism is masterly interpretation of Lewis’s The Abolition of Man from a Christian perspective.
Erik Davis’ Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Information Age is chalk full of technological and mystical insights that can act as a cauldron of theories and philosophies which might inform us, from a very different (i.e. Pagan) perspective, just how germane were Lewis’ insights–and still are–as we see unfolding his prognostic insights before and all around us (see especially our page on Technocalyps).
Finally, Josh McDowell’s The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict will prove to be a valuable resource to think about how the historical record and archeological evidences, among other factors, which stands as witness while speaking of the historical, archeological, and textual realities that only a Christian faith has a right to say it is its own.
So, therefore, even though these books were not authored by Lewis himself, we have come to see these books as potentially valuable resources for those wanting to learn Lewis’ work, and in order to help us come to a better and more confident, and sound, understanding of both the revealed text as well as the social implications of that teaching. Click here to arrive back at
Currently Under Group Study
The book that is currently being studied by The C.S. Lewis Study Group is Mere Christianity. To arrive at the page dedicated to this work
click here==> Mere Christianity.