The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (1950-56)

“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.”


Albert Einstein said “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” If that’s right, then it likely follows that C.S. Lewis was the greatest theological mind of his time.  The scholar who came to his faith with great resistance became one of its most powerful apologist.  This feat would have ben impressive on its own merit, but this same genius also crafted masterful tales for children that convey extraordinary depths of truth.

As Terry Glaspey explains in 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know :

On initial examination, The Chronicles of Narnia may seem like simple children’s tales, with talking animals, witches, and young boys and girls discovering their inner strength and courage. They are that, but they are also much more. In the midst of these stories the reader is always aware that something magical, something supernatural, might just break through at any moment. One can feel the breath of the great lion Aslan rustling through these pages as the story of Lucy, Peter, Susan, and Edmund echoes that of the grand story of redemption.

In speaking of his Narnia tales, Lewis wondered if, by stripping the Christian doctrines of their stained glass and Sunday school associations, he could “steal past the watchful dragons” of religiosity and dogmatism. So the Narnia books are constructed to prepare children for understanding the meaning of the Christian story later, when they are old enough to embrace it, while at the same time resonating with the childlike heart in each of us.

Which fairy tale did you understand differently as an adult?


John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

D I G  D E E P E R


C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis

(1893–1963), scholar and Christian apologist. Born in Belfast, he was educated mainly privately until he entered University College, Oxford, in 1917. He was Tutor and Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1954, when he was appointed Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature in the University of Cambridge. His critical works include The Allegory of Love (1936), A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942), and English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (vol. 3 of the Oxford History of English Literature, 1954). At Magdalen Lewis underwent a gradual conversion experience described in his spiritual autobiography, Surprised by Joy (pub. 1955). He became widely known as a Christian apologist through a series of broadcast talks given between 1941 and 1944 and later published in book form, and through a number of other popular religious works which had a very wide circulation; these included The Problem of Pain (1940), The Screwtape Letters (1942; ostensibly from a senior devil to his nephew, a junior devil), and Miracles (1947). His clarity, wit, and skill as a communicator meant that he, like D. L. *Sayers and Charles *Williams, carried considerable weight; many Christians had their faith confirmed and a number of agnostics were brought closer to the Christian faith through reading his works. Lewis also published three science fiction novels with a strong Christian flavour: Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), and That Hideous Strength (1945). A series of seven ‘Narnia’ stories for children began in 1950 with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In 1956 he married Joy Gresham (née Davidman); A Grief Observed (originally pub. under a pseudonym in 1961) is a profound treatment of bereavement written after her death. A group of his friends, including Charles Williams, was known as ‘The Inklings’; they met regularly for many years in his rooms to talk and read aloud their works.

 

Sources & Resources

Letters of C. S. Lewis, ed., with a memoir, by W. H. Lewis [brother] (1966); They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914–1963), ed. W. Hooper (1979). Collected Letters, ed. id. (2000 ff.). Lives by R. L. Green and W. Hooper (London, 1974; rev. edn., 2002), W. Griffin (San Francisco etc. [1986]), and A. N. Wilson (London, 1990). P. L. Holmer, C. S. Lewis: The Shape of his Faith and Thought (1976). H. Carpenter, The Inklings (1978). W. Hooper, C. S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide [1996]. J. A. W. Bennett in DNB, 1961–1970 (1981), pp. 651–3.

F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 981.

Glaspey, Terry. Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C. S. Lewis. Elkton, MD: Highland Books, 1996.

Jacobs, Alan. The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis. New York: HarperOne, 2005.

Lewis, C. S. Surprised by Joy. New York: Harcourt, 1955.

McGrath, Alister. C. S. Lewis: A Life. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2013.

Sayer, George. Jack: C. S. Lewis and His Times. New York: Harper and Row, 1988.

Terry Glaspey, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015).

 

Terry Glaspey

Terry Glaspey

I’m really looking forward to discussing my book, “75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know,” with the members of Literary Life Book Club. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and perspectives on some of the art, music, and literature you’ll discover in the book. I’m interested in how it speaks to you in your life and the ways it inspires, challenges, or maybe even annoys you! I’ll try to share some “deleted scenes” stuff I had to leave out and will tell a few stories about what I experienced while doing the writing and research. Hope that many of you can join us as we look at he stories behind some truly wonderful art.

Let’s explore together!

Terry

Join the discussion with Terry on Facebook HERE

Terry Glaspey is a writer, an editor, a creative mentor, and someone who finds various forms of art—painting, films, novels, poetry, and music—to be some of the places where he most deeply connects with God.

He has a master’s degree in history from the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), as well as undergraduate degrees emphasizing counseling and pastoral studies.

He has written over a dozen books, including 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know:  Fascinating Stories Behind Great Art, Music, Literature, and Film, Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis, The Prayers of Jane Austen, 25 Keys to Life-Changing Prayer, Bible Basics for Everyone, and others.

Terry enjoys writing and speaking about a variety of topics including creativity and spirituality, the artistic heritage of the Christian faith, the writing of C.S. Lewis, and creative approaches to apologetics.

He serves on the board of directors of the Society to Explore and Record Church History and is listed in Who’s Who in America Terry has been the recipient of a number of awards, including a distinguished alumni award and the Advanced Speakers and Writers Editor of the Year award.

Terry has two daughters and lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Dig Deeper at TerryGlaspey.com

 

Some of the greatest painters, musicians, architects, writers, filmmakers, and poets have taken their inspiration from their faith and impacted millions of people with their stunning creations. Now readers can discover the stories behind seventy-five of these masterpieces and the artists who created them. From the art of the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt to Makoto Fujimura; from Gregorian Chant to Bach to U2; from John Bunyan and John Donne to Flannery O’Connor and Frederick Buechner; this book unveils the rich and varied artistic heritage left by believers who were masters at their craft.

Terry Glaspey, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015).

Order it HERE today.