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Top Ten Books That Influenced C.S. Lewis

In 1962 The Christian Century magazine published C.S. Lewis’s answer to the question, “What books did most to shape your vocational attitude and your philosophy of life?” Here is C.S. Lewis’s list: Phantastes by George MacDonald.The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton.The Aeneid by Virgil.The Temple by George Herbert.The Prelude by William Wordsworth.The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto.The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell.Descent into Hell by Charles Williams.Theism and Humanism by Arthur James Balfour. [From the June 6, 1962 issue of The Christian Century]

C.S. Lewis and Materialism

“You say the materialist universe is ‘ugly,’” wrote C. S. Lewis to a young skeptic in 1950. “…If you are really a product of the materialistic universe, how is it you don’t feel at home there?” Nearly half-a-century later, Lewis’s question still resonates. Modern society continues to operate largely on the materialistic premises of such thinkers as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. Yet few today feel at home in the materialist universe where God does not exist, where ideas do not matter, and where every human behavior is reduced to non-rational causes. C. S. Lewis spent much of his life debunking the sterility of materialist thinking; and his insights are as relevant now as when they were first Read More ›

Richard Baxter and the Origin of “Mere Christianity”

“Mere Christianity” was the term C. S. Lewis employed to describe essential Christianity—those core Christian beliefs held through the ages by Catholics and Protestants alike. What most people don’t realize is that Lewis adapted this term from an author who wrote more than three hundred years ago. The author’s name was Richard Baxter, and his writings on the “essentials” of Christianity provide a useful background to the views articulated by Lewis. A Protestant clergyman in England, Baxter lived from 1615 to 1691. Though all but forgotten today, Baxter was a popular and prolific author in his own day and for many decades following his death. He wrote more than 160 separate works—nearly 200, by some estimates. One Anglican Bishop said Read More ›

How Hollywood Reinvented C. S. Lewis in the Film “Shadowlands”

It is understandable why the 1993 film Shadowlands won rave reviews when it was originally released. The acting is splendid, the script is literate, and the production design is first-rate. All things considered, the film is a wonderful piece of cinema and well worth seeing. For those of us who never had the rare privilege of meeting C. S. Lewis in person, Shadowlands brings Lewis and his world to life in a new way. Nevertheless, despite its beauty and its pathos, Shadowlands is not without major failings in the realm of accuracy. Unfortunately, many people seem to take at face value the film’s opening claim that “this is a true story.” The reviewer for Christianity Today, for instance, wrote that Read More ›

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