Author Archives: Dr Snyder

Their Eyes Were All I Needed to See

We’re at the point in my C. S. Lewis course where I am giving the students The Abolition of Man. It’s a harder read than most of what I give them from Lewis, but I’ve never seriously considered dropping it from the course. It’s just too important, and the concepts within it are so significant to their worldview that I believe I would be doing a disservice to avoid it. I do, though, make sure I give it enough time… Read more »

Screwtape: The Preface

This past week in my C. S. Lewis course, we have been discussing The Screwtape Letters. Every time I return to these letters, I see greater depth than before, and for some of my students, this is their first foray into the infernal world Lewis created to highlight Christian truth in an unusual way. The letters themselves obviously are the focus as we discuss, but I started by reading to them from his preface to the 1961 edition, which came… Read more »

Supreme Court Nominations & the Constitution

I sat in this chamber twice. The first occasion was listening to the Supreme Court hear arguments. I don’t remember the case. My presence there, in 1981, was while I was interning at the Court’s history office as I worked on my doctorate at The American University. The second time was in early 1999 at a conference on constitutional history. Attendees were then served dinner at the Court. Of all the institutions set up by the Constitution, the Court is… Read more »

History, Clocks, Progress, & C. S. Lewis

One of my pet peeves is the phrase about being “on the right side of history.” Its corollary is to avoid being “on the wrong side of history.” Both posit an untruth, one that I labor to show students in my classes: these phrases assume an inevitability. They push us to believe that history is something that has a mind of its own and is going down a preordained path—and you had better get on that path or be swept… Read more »

Our Different Rooms

A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 I am a person with strong views, both theologically and with respect to history and government (my specialized field of study). It’s hard sometimes being a person who holds to strong views because whenever you come across contrary views, the temptation is… Read more »

The Joy of Teaching Lewis

For the fifth time since my 2014-15 sabbatical and the writing of my C. S. Lewis book, I’ll be teaching the course this fall that I developed out of that sabbatical: “C. S. Lewis: History and Influence.” It was a joy to teach this course the first four times, and I don’t expect it to be otherwise this time. Since I’m a history professor, not English literature, the course has a strong historical component as we work through a number… Read more »

Socialism/Communism: Symptom of a Deeper Problem

Those who know American history also know that the push for a more socialist society is nothing new. Eugene Debs, the perennial presidential candidate for the Socialist Party during the early decades of the twentieth century received a rather impressive number of votes, especially in 1912. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal pushed us closer to the socialist vision with the rise of government oversight of the economy and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society offered the kind of federal government intrusion that few… Read more »