Tag: Lewis

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 »

Living in Many Times & Places

Knowing history is important. For the last thirty-one years, I’ve taught history full-time at different Christian universities. As I noted in a recent post, I’m now an adjunct professor. Yet that change in my life has somehow increased my desire to make sure people know history better, maybe because I’m sensing that my opportunities for teaching may decline in the coming years. C. S. Lewis has a number of noteworthy comments about history in his many writings. For instance, an… Read more »

Lewis’s OHEL: Gleanings

Out of all of C. S. Lewis’s books, probably one of the least-read is his English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, part of the Oxford series on the history of English literature. As with The Allegory of Love, its academic focus can be daunting for anyone unfamiliar with the roster of authors and titles he covers. I’m nearly halfway through the book, and I’ll admit the sections on poetry are a tough grind for me. Yet even in those highly… Read more »

The Descent to Hell Is Easy

One of the most difficult of C. S. Lewis’s books to read—at least for me—was The Allegory of Love. He referred to so many works of literature with which I am unfamiliar (and written in an early English that was hard to translate) that I almost failed to finish it. Yet, even in so difficult a work, I discovered passages that I’m glad I didn’t miss. At one point, in the midst of a long commentary on one of those… Read more »

The Wisdom of the Ages

I had a rather modern education throughout my early years. Some of the “classics” broke through now and then, but not many. Of course, what one defines as a classic book may depend on where one stands. In this twenty-first century, I think it’s fine to look back to the last half of the twentieth and call some writings “classic.” I’ve tried, in spurts, to fill in some of the gaps in my reading. The last few years have been… Read more »