Volume 4, number 1 (April 2014)

JIS logoVolume 4, number 1 (April 2014)


David Meconi, ‘Mere Christianity: Theosis in a British Way’, pp. 3-18
C.S. Lewis’ entire purpose in composing Mere Christianity the way he did was to exhort his hearers and readers to become ‘little Christs’, a phrase which appears over and over there. As other Christian circles turned to the Pauline metaphor of the Mystical Body during those years of war and international fragmentation, Lewis likewise explained the Christian life as nothing short of receiving the ‘good infection’ of Jesus Christ. Life in Christ is therefore not a matter of rules and external improvements, but ultimately a matter of the baptized allowing Christ to live his own divine life in them. To explain this, each section of Mere Christianity carefully and constructively builds a case for defying union with God as the consummation of the Christian promise.
Mark Scott, ‘C.S. Lewis and John Hick: An Interface on Theodicy’, pp. 19-31
In The Problem of Pain (1940), C. S. Lewis explores the problem of evil for a non-specialist, popular audience. In Evil and the God of Love (1966), John Hick examines the same problem for a specialist, scholarly audience. Whereas Lewis writes self-consciously as a lay theologian, Hick writes authoritatively as an academic theologian. In my essay, I analyze the striking parallels between their theodicies and ask: did Lewis influence Hick? If he did, then Lewis shaped scholarly discourse on theodicy while operating completely outside of it. If he did not, then their structural and stylistic intersections illustrate the possibility of dialogue between two distinct modes of theological discourse that fail to stay in conversation long enough to notice their close substantive affinities. Either way, the surprising and widely unnoticed parallels between C. S. Lewis’s ‘megaphone theodicy’ and John Hick’s ‘soul-making theodicy’ demonstrate the common ground between lay and academic theology, and indicates the potential for mutual enrichment, without eliding their distinctive methodologies, contexts, and audiences.
Arend Smilde, ‘Horrid Red Herrings: A New Look at the “Lewisian Argument from Desire” – and Beyond’, pp. 33-92
In an attempt to make the English-speaking world aware of a major contribution to C. S. Lewis studies published in German by Norbert Feinendegen in 2008, this essay explores and supports the case made by Feinendegen, in one brief section of his book, for abandoning the widespread idea that Lewis accepted and promoted an explicit philosophical argument from the existence of human ‘natural desire’ to the existence of God. The case for revision is made from the conviction, and as part of the overall attempt to show, that any given passage in Lewis’s work can and should be read in the context of his total oeuvre. The fruitfulness of this approach with regard to the ‘Desire’ issue is found to lie in the way it restores to prominence an important and truly distinctive element both of Lewis’s life and of his work.
Jon Fennell, ‘A Polanyian Perspective on C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man’, pp. 93-122
The Abolition of Man is sometimes viewed as an attack on science. This interpretation is, of course, erroneous. Anticipating this criticism, Lewis states that his remarks are not an attack on science but instead a defense of value—the value, among other things, of science. Lewis goes on to suggest that science might itself be the remedy for the dark moral malady that The Abolition of Man accounts for and describes. The purpose of this study is to show that, in the work of Michael Polanyi, Lewis’s aspirations regarding the curative powers of science are in fact realized. Polanyi not only demonstrates the bankruptcy of scientism, but he does so in a manner that, while revealing the inspiring character of genuine science, greatly clarifies Lewis’s project. Polanyi deepens and broadens Lewis’s analysis in The Abolition of Man, thereby offering an indispensable service to those who have learned to respect this very important work.
Eric Stanley, ‘C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as I Knew Them (never well)’, pp. 123-141
I attended all the lectures C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien gave in 1948 to 1951. My own teaching of English Renaissance literature at Birmingham University was informed by Lewis’s volume in the Oxford History of English Literature (1954), parts of which I had heard him give as lectures. At Birmingham we started a series of Medieval and Renaissance texts, and I wrote to Lewis and ask him if he would be our General Editor; he said, yes. He asked me to meet him, correspondence followed, and I quote from a long, witty, and wise letter about an edition of mine, and about another edition which Lewis disliked and I also quote from that sharper letter.
I knew Tolkien because, as an undergraduate I attended his weekly seminars. At that time he himself was greatly interested in Ancrene Wisse and the Katherine Group. He lectured on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Much later, in 1972, I met Tolkien again, at a book-launch party. I ventured to speak to him. I gave my name, and in his charming way he said he remembered me. I wondered at that, but took it as evidence of his kindness.

Book Reviews:
Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis: A Life. Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet. Review essay by Arend Smilde, pp. 142-151
John G. West (ed.), The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society. Review by Jonathan McGee, pp. 153-157
Alan R. Blackstock, The Rhetoric of Redemption: Chesterton, Ethical Criticism, and the Common Man. Review by David Baird, pp. 158-59
Andrew C. Skinner and Robert L. Millet (eds), C.S. Lewis: The Man and His Message. Review by Jared Lafitte, pp. 160-62