One on one with Jerry Root in & # 39; The Uncared for C.S. Lewis & # 39; | The change – Bible Type

One on one with Jerry Root in & # 39; The Uncared for C.S. Lewis & # 39; | The change

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Ed: Many know the C. S. Lewis Narnian Chronicles and its Christian apologetics. How can you say that he was neglected?

Jerry: Although Lewis is a well-known author, very few are familiar with his academic books. However, these are his best books. They were born from his professional life and his studies as a scholar of medieval and Renaissance literature in Oxford and later at Cambridge University. Mark Neal and I wanted to present these books to a wider audience.

Ed: How important is this academic work?

Jerry: Lewis found it very important. For example, it took Lewis over 15 years to write one of the books we highlight, 16th century English literature. He said that of all the other books he wrote at that time, only the "Twiddly Bits" were compared. That means Lewis was classified as "Twiddly Bits". Mere Christianity, the Narnian series, its science fiction and Screwtape letters. What Lewis readers tend to neglect are the very books that Lewis considered his best and most important.

Ed: Do you think some people stop by his academic books because they feel too intimidated by the depth of the books?

Jerry: Maybe. Still, Lewis was such a great writer that no one should let him intimidate him. His prose is well founded and imaginatively presented. The material is presented with such a joke that even its strictest volumes make the reader laugh (and in some cases laugh).

To be intimidated by these books is short-sighted. It's not that we lack the ability to enjoy it; We often lack the discipline to stretch academically.

I think we have become slaves to social media and short sound bits. We want instant information at our fingertips. Siri and Google have become the gurus of our time. This has contributed to academic laziness.

We lack intellectual rigor and are often not interested in developing it. On the one hand, we feel uncomfortable when we approach the books that were Lewis & # 39; elixir of life. On the other hand, we forget that we feel uncomfortable with every new venture until a certain level of skill is developed.

In fact, if you're not awkward anywhere in your life, you just won't grow. Reading these neglected books is itself an education in the fine arts. Lewis opens more than just closet doors.

In addition, these books can increase readers' ability to think, wrestle with great ideas, and grow intellectually.

Ed: Can you briefly describe some of the books included?

Jerry: One book reviewed, The Discarded Image, was a series of lectures on medieval literature that Lewis often gave at Oxford University. He introduces the students to the medieval worldview and prevents them from projecting their values ​​of the 21st century onto the literature of an earlier era.

Lewis says that Boethius & # 39; Consolation of Philosophy according to the Bible was the most influential book on medieval literature, and until recently a person was not considered educated if they did not know this book.

In fact, Lewis Boethius & # 39; answers the problem of foreknowledge and free will, which is so simple and accessible that we wonder why this question confused us at all.

Another book already mentioned is English literature in the 16th century. To write this book, Lewis read every book written or translated into English in the 16th century.

That was the century of the Reformation. Lewis was one of the few who have ever read both sides of this controversy in detail. As a result, his judgments are more informed and nuanced.

In addition, Lewis & # 39; The Allegory of Love, the book that started his brilliant academic career, is another of the eight works highlighted in The Neglected C. S. Lewis.

Ed: But this material seems to be "old hat". What are the benefits of reading past literature?

Jerry: Every generation can see the failures of the generations ahead, but they lack the perspective that future generations will have when assessing the failures of our day.

We cannot travel to the future and look back, but we can read the literature of the past, and although they made other mistakes than we did, they are unlikely to have made the same bad judgments that we made.

The past gives us points of contact and the opportunity to evaluate our own time and maybe even correct some of its excesses.

In addition, in times of polarization, we should get to know The Personal Heresy well. This was a literary debate between Lewis and E. M. W. Tillyard from Cambridge University. The controversy creates light, not warmth.

These two men knew how to argue correctly. There are no informal errors in the debate. It is a model of bourgeois discourse that is so necessary in our time of impatience, angry temperament and rising ego. This only scratches the surface of the wisdom found in the books highlighted in The Neglected C. S. Lewis.

Ed: How does this material affect your work as a professor of evangelism at Wheaton College?

Jerry: Lewis once wrote: "Most of my books are evangelistic." How could that be when he wrote literary criticism, children's stories, novels for adults, poems, etc.? In fact, Lewis said we no longer need Christian books on Christianity. We need more Christian books on other latent Christian issues.

He wanted to produce books in which the Christian world view was implied and each topic carries the meaning and scent of Christianity. The gospel makes more sense if everything supports its truth; As a result, you get a more robust and convincing understanding of the message.

Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through the Mission Group. The Exchange team contributed to this article.

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