Category: C.S. Lewis (Page 1 of 6)

Miracles by C.S. Lewis

Lewis, C.S. 1947. Miracles: A preliminary study. London: Geoffrey Bles.

Lewis begins with a poem about nature, followed by 17 chapters, an epilogue and two appendices. In “The Scope of the Book,” (chapter I), we read the “book is intended as a preliminary to historical inquiry,” (13) so Lewis does not attempt to provide historical evidence for Christian miracles. Rather, he, first of all, wishes to argue for the possibility of them.

The main argument of the book revolves around “The Naturalist and the Supernaturalist,” the title of Chapter II. By Miracle, Lewis means “an interference with Nature by supernatural power” (15). A naturalist believes that nothing exists except nature and a Supernaturalist believes there is something more. Nature, in turn is “what happens ‘of itself’ or ‘of its own accord’” (16). It is the “whole show” and everything is derived from it. It may admit to a certain kind of God but not the “idea of a God who stands outside Nature and made it” (19). If the claims of the naturalist are true, “we do know in advance that miracles are impossible” (21).

However there is “The Self-Contradiction of the Naturalist” (chapter III), which depends on human reasoning, meaning that “no thought is valid if it can be fully explained as the result of irrational causes” (27, emphasis by Lewis) and we must assume that argument has validity. Once, however, you trust in argument you claim the validity of thought.

This leads to the difference between “Nature and Supernature” (IV) and what has existed forever—everything for the naturalist and Reason for the Christian. Reason always shows there must be something else behind it and that it does not exist in and of itself. In other words, to believe that Nature produced God is absurd (41).

“A Further Difficult in Naturalism” (V), claims that the Naturalist cannot deny Reasoning without philosophically speaking “cutting his own throat” (43). Reasoning also leads us to moral judgments but, “if Naturalism is true, ‘I ought’ is the same sort of statement as ‘I itch’ (45).

“Answers to Misgivings” (VI) examines the thesis that Rational Thinking is simply a condition of the brain. However, this is not possible because once we are aware of our own thinking it cannot be merely a natural event and “therefore something other than Nature exists” (51). This takes us back to Lewis’s main thesis that “Nature as a whole is herself one huge result of the Supernatural: God created her” (54).

There are certain ’laws of Nature’ and Lewis deals with some of them in “A Chapter of Red Herrings” (VII). Miracles are an exception to such laws. There are examples of “miracles” in history, but they are not supposed as contrary to nature. However, “no one every pretended that the Virgin Birth or Christ’s walking on the water could be reckoned on to recur” (58). Even in the examination and recognized splendor of nature, “we must remember that it is only Nature spiritualized by human imagination which does so” (64).

Lewis next looks at “Miracle and the Laws of Nature” (VIII), noting that such laws are brute facts, “with no discoverable rhyme or reason about them” (67). The Laws of Nature are necessary truths but “are from making it impossible that miracles should occur makes it certain that if the Supernatural is operating they must occur” (71). A miracle does not break the law of nature because it is God that acts and He does it in accord with his own activity and, in doing so, he “must of course interrupt the usual course of Nature” (74) Left on its own Nature could never produce miracles.

Lewis next writes “A Chapter not strictly Necessary (IX), which dwells on emotions, that is talking of Nature as if it provides peace or cruelty. Nature, however, is a created thing, not the Absolute, and is “partly good and partly evil” (80) and should be offered “neither worship nor contempt” (81).

“Horrid Red Things” (X) refers to a story about a young child who thought that aspirins had horrid red things in them because she imagined poison to be like that. Lewis uses the story to show how metaphor is everywhere in our speech and that “all speech about supersensibilities is, and must be, metaphorical in the highest degree” (88). We use and need images but need to remember that “the God who seems to live locally in the sky, also made it” (93). Both the literal and metaphorical have always been with us in defining meanings and yet “We can make our speech duller; we cannot make it more literal” (96).

Lewis next contrasts “Christianity and ‘Religion’” (XI). Contemporary religion does not believe that God does miracles because it does not believe that God “has purposes and performs particular actions” (99). Lewis equates popular religion with a kind of Pantheism, a kind of abstraction, about which man says what he wishes about God “and not what God does about man” (101). The Christian, however, says that “God is totally present at every point of space and time, and locally present in none” (103). God is “concrete and individual in the highest degree” (105), not a generality or a “crude, materialistic superstition” (108). “The Pantheist’s God does nothing, demands nothing” (113).

“The Propriety of Miracles” (XII) shows that there are rules in God’s acts and “Nature is only a part and perhaps a small part” (117) and the real story is about Death and Resurrection.

A naturalist will accept “the most improbable ‘natural’ explanations rather than say that a miracle occurred” (121). Discussing an improbable event, Lewis turns to “On Probability” (XIII) and shows that there are many kinds of probability. However, the Resurrection is on quite a different level than the sense of miracle that we find in other miracle tales in literature.

“The Grand Miracle” (XIV) for Christians is the Incarnation and “Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this” (131). Christians find the new way—Death and the Re-birth as the key principle to the “Divine theme” (136). In this view, God is “not a nature-God, but the God of Nature—her inventor, maker, owner, and controller” (139). The Incarnation brings us into contact with “the composite nature of man, the pattern of descent and re-ascension, Selectiveness and Vicariousness” (143). Nature is around us but it “has all the air of a good thing spoiled” (147) and human death is the result of human sin (152). Lewis discusses bodily death and shows how it becomes “blessed spiritual Death to self” (156). It follows that we must “embrace death freely…and so convert it into that mystical death which is the secret of life” (157). Lewis puts it this way: “In science we have been reading only the notes to a poem; in Christianity we find the poem itself” (157).

There were “Miracles of the Old Creation” (XV) when God has, perhaps, done miracles for pagans. However, these were quite different than those done by Christ, which Lewis classifies as miracles of fertility, healing, destruction, domination over the inorganic, reversal and perfection or glorification. In every instance God “short circuits the process” of nature with a miracle, but it is not anti-natural act (163). The laws of Nature are a pattern, but God has always been doing work that shows his genius. In healing, for example, “The magic is not in the medicine but in the patient’s body” (168). Miracles are a foretaste of a kind of Nature that is still in the future.

Lewis relates “Miracles of the New Creation” (XVI) to the miracle of the Resurrection, “the central theme in every Christian sermon reported in the Acts” (172). It cannot be isolated from the Ascension and resurrecting someone from the dead “was the first event of its kind in the whole history of the universe” (173). However, Christ, in his corporeal body, was not cut off from his relationship to the disciples. He does foreshadow the new nature because “The pattern of Death and Rebirth never restores the previous individual organism” (181) and the new organism is made out of the old. We become new creatures and what we no longer need (in terms of body or body functions) does not survive in our new creation. God “is the glad Creator” and the “sacraments have been instituted” (194).

The ”Epilogue” (XVII) is a kind but firm warning not to let our feelings tell us that miracles cannot occur.

The appendices deal with the words spiritual and spiritual (A) and “Special Providences” (B). There are a number of senses to the words spirit, spiritual and spirits: the chemical, medical, the opposite of bodily, the rational element, and the life in Christ. Special providences relate to how our prayers “cannot be either asserted or denied without an exercise of the will—the will choosing or rejecting faith in the light of a whole philosophy,” in other words “All prayers are heard, though not all prayers are granted” (215).

Naturalism and C.S. Lewis

In his book, Missionaries to the skeptics (Mercer University Press, 1995, p. 47 John A. Sims says, “Naturalism makes a modest claim. It claims that all know facts support the view that the whole of reality emerged from and is dependent upon material nature.” If this is the case, there is not need to have anything or anyone beyond the physical world explain anything: it just “happened.” We originated in nature and any appeal to supernatural means is discarded.

Lewis questions this and in his book Miracles: A preliminary study (Geoffrey Bles, 1947), he states “…the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience” (11)….This book is intended as a preliminary to historical inquiry…Those who assume that miracles cannot happen are merely wasting their time by looking into the texts: we know in advance what results they will find for they have begun by begging the question” (13). In other words, the first choice a person must make is between Naturalism and Supernaturalism because “[if] Naturalism is true, every finite thing or event must be (in principle) explicable in terms of the Total System” (13).

By Naturalism Lewis means “the doctrine that only Nature—the whole interlocked system—exists” (13) and that it does not exist by its own accord. Lewis believes strongly that we can reason and that “no thought is valid if it can be fully explained as the result of irrational causes” (17, his italics). Furthermore “You have to assume that inference is valid before you can even begin your argument for its validity” (29). Rational thought is therefore interlocked with “the great interlocking system of irrational events which we call Nature” although “Nature is quite powerless to produce Rational thought” (33).

Lewis further believes it is absurd to think that “Nature produced God” or even the human mind—the two go together (41). And because reasoning matters—it is from God—it cannot be denied by the Naturalist “without (philosophically speaking) cutting his own throat” (43). Further, “A naturalistic Christianity leaves out all that is specifically Christian” (83).

How could Nature, created by a good God come to its present deplorable condition? According to Christians, this is due to sin because “Nature has all the air of a good thing spoiled” (147). That is, “Spirit and Nature have quarreled in us; that is our disease” (190) and only God’s redemptive gift can heal us.

Victor Reppert examines Lewis’s views of naturalism in volume 3, chapter 7 of Bruce Edward’s four volume study (Praeger, 2007) of the life and works of Lewis. His chapter, “Miracles: C.S. Lewis’s critique of naturalism” conclude with this thought: “A naturalistic view of the universe, according to which there is nothing in existence that is not in a particular time and a particular place, hard pressed to reconcile their theory of the world with the idea that we as humans can access not only what is, but also what must be” (177). It follows that the maker of the universe is a rational being—whom Christians call God—and that “the argument from reason is unrefuted and constitutes a substantial reason for preferring a theistic understanding of the universe to a naturalistic one” (178).

Reppert had already examined what he called C.S. Lewis’s dangerous idea (the title of his book, InterVarsity Press, 2003). The idea, as given in the subtitle of the books was “In defense of the argument from reason,” which was Lewis’s attempt to show that you could not “account for the activity of reasoning as a byproduct of a fundamentally nonpurposive system,” without reason (8). Reppert also examines the famous argument put forth by Elizabeth Anscombe against Lewis in his book on miracles. He allows that her objections “rightfully lead us to recognize the distinction between irrational and nonrational causes” (70).

Reppert further updates his arguments on Lewis’s arguments from reason in a chapter called “Defending the dangerous idea,” in C.S. Lewis as philosopher: truth, goodness and beauty, edited by David Battett, Gary R. Habermas and Jerry L. Walls (IVP Academic, 2008, pp. 53-67). He concludes that “A naturalistic view of the universe, in which there nothing in existence that is not a particular time and a particular place, is hard-pressed to reconcile with the fact that some truths that we know are not only true in this world, but also in all possible worlds” (67).

The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis, edited by Robert MacSwain and Michael Ward (Cambridge University Press, 2010) has a chapter (8) called “On naturalism” by Charles Taliaferro. He reviews Lewis’s arguments against naturalism: arguments from reason, morality and life and death and concludes that “Lewis deserves a rightful place in considering arguments pro and con, not only because of the merits of his own arguments, but because he offers us a valuable lesson in assessing any theory” (125). Lewis uses both reason and imagination to appreciate the natural world while enhancing his view of the supernatural.

As David C. Downing points out in Mysticism in C.S. Lewis: Into the region of the awe (InterVarsity Press, 205, p. 45), “In Mere Christianity Lewis goes beyond momentary impressions and gives an account of everything in the cosmos as a mirror of God’s nature.” To Lewis there was joy anda gratitude for the beauty that lay beyond the natural world.

J.T. Sellars provides a definitive picture on how Lewis combined imagination with and understanding in his book Reasoning beyond reason: Imagination as a theological source in the work of C.S. Lewis (Pickwick publications, 2011). Some things that I noted that are relevant to Lewis and naturalism are:

  • We do not start by doubting reason; we presuppose it (15)
  • The notion of rationality is not independent of God (16) because God is the source from which reasoning power comes
  • Imagination is not falsehood or wishful thinking (45)
  • Rationality resides beyond the step-by-step reason of modernity (51)
  • Our worldview is a representation of reality (61)
  • With Lewis’s Chronicles, everything began with images (74n44)
  • There is a real Good, the true and the beautiful, independent of our particularity and tradition, but mediated through our tradition (107; 118)
  • The poetic and mythic utilize the imagination, a deeper level of consciousness (166)
  • When the spirit and God descend to nature we have difficult understanding the higher (197)
  • Reasoning beyond the rational is present in imagination—the prelude to action and motivation (202)

Philosophy and C.S. Lewis


C.S. Lewis first taught philosophy at Oxford University, where he had been trained and received a “first” (top grade) in classics and philosophy in 1922. He taught philosophy briefly and philosophical concepts contribute greatly to many of his writings.

  1. C.S. Lewis: Image and imagination. Edited by Walter Hooper. Cambridge University Press.

Part V. Medieval and Renaissance literature: 41) Leone Ebreo, The philosophy of love (Dialoghi d’Amore, trans. J. Friedeberg Seeley and Jean H. Barnes, and intro. Cecil Roth.

Baggett, David, Gary R. Habermas and Jerry L. Walls, eds. 2008. C.S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness and Beauty. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.

In His forward Tom Morris notes that technically Lewis was a professor of literature but that he “brought a philosophical cast of mind to everything he did…in engagement with great literature, through writing memorable fiction himself, and in grappling with topics of real life through his immensely popular books and essays on matters of faith…and, as such had a tremendous impact on the world” (10). Two authors in particular show us why Lewis should be counted as a foremost philosopher.

In chapter1, Peter Kreeft outlines “ Lewis’s Philosophy of Truth, Goodness and Beauty” (23-36) by defining the three topics as ontologically founded—that is, in terms of “being.” Kreeft further finds seven things that Lewis explicates: logic (definition), metaphysics (objective reality), theology (divine source), epistemology (how we know), practical psychology, axiology (ordered relationship) and mystical eschatology (fulfillment in heaven).

Chapter 6, by Gary Habermas is on “C.S. Lewis and Emotional Doubt: Insights from the Philosophy of Psychology” (96-111) discusses the role of emotions and how they can assault our convictions and that feelings do not represent who we really are.

David Baggett (Ph.D., Wayne State University) is associate professor of philosophy at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Gary R. Habermas (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is Distinguished Research Professor and chair of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Barkman, Adam. 2009. C.S. Lewis and Philosophy as a Way of Life: A Comprehensive Historical Examination of his Philosophical Thoughts. Zossima Press.

Contents: Introduction: C.S. Lewis and Philosophy? Part I. Philosophical Definition, Journey and Identity: 1) Philosophy as a Way of Life: Definition; 2) Philosophy as a Way of Life II: Rational Discourse and Training; 3) Philosophy as a Way of Life III: Heavenly Desire; 4) Philosophy as a Way of Life EV: Myth; 5) Philosophy as a Way of Live V: Culture. Part II. The Branches of Philosophy. 6) Metaphysics; 7) Psychology, Logic and Epistemology; 8) Ethics; 9) Socio-Political Philosophy; 10) Aesthetics. Conclusion. Appendix. Classical and Medieval Sources Cited. Bibliography. General Index.

“This brings me to the purpose of this book. By and large it seems as though friends and critics alike have been content with reducing any discussion of Lewis and philosophy, if they mention it at all, to his apologetics….Of course there have been a few attempts at drawing attention to Lewis and philosophy…Nevertheless, while all of these books and essays touch on various aspects of Lewis’s philosophical thought , none of them have done justice to Lewis’s insistence that ‘a complete philosophy must get to all the facts…’” (2, 4).

Alan Barkman (Ph.D., Free University of Amsterdam) is assistant professor of Philosophy at Yonsei University. He has published dozens of articles on such topics as C.S. Lewis and philosophy, the convergence of eastern and western philosophies, and philosophy and popular culture.

Bassham, G., and J. Walls, eds. 2005. The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview. Chicago and LaSalle, IL: Open Court.

Narnia and the Enchantment of Philosophy by Jerry L. Walls.

Gregory Bassam is chair of the philosophy department at King’s College, Pennsylvania. Jerry L. Walls is professor of philosophy of religion at Asbury Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky.

Brazier, P.H. 2012. The Work of Christ Revealed. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publishers. Book Two August 15, 2012 and eBook September 26, 2012

  1. S. Lewis—The Work of Christ Revealed focuses on three doctrines or aspects of Lewis’s theology and philosophy: his doctrine of Scripture, his famous mad, bad, or God argument, and his doctrine of christological prefigurement. In each area we see Lewis innovating within the tradition. He accorded a high revelatory status to Scripture, but acknowledged its inconsistencies and shrank away from a theology of inerrancy. He took a two-thousand-year-old theological tradition of aut Deus aut malus homo (either God or a bad man) and developed it in his own way. Most innovative of all was his doctrine of christological prefi Burson, Scott R. and Jerry L. Walls. 1998. C.S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer: Lessons for a New Century from the Most Influential Apologists of our Time. InterVarsity Press.

Contents: Acknowledgments. When Worlds Collide: Paleo-orthodoxy in a Postmodern Age. 1) The Biographical Foundation: The Path in Apologetic Prominence; 2) The Nature of Salvation: Envisioning the Highway to Heaven; 3) God’s Sovereignty and Human Significance: Predestination, Divine Election and the Power to Choose Freely; 4) Evaluating the Mystery Maneuver: The Necessity of “True” Truth; 5) Biblical Authority and Divine Inspiration: The Great Evangelical Divide; 6) Strategic Apologetics: Delivering the Faith; 7) Offensive Apologetics: Advancing the Faith; 8) Defensive Apologetics: Guarding the Faith; 9) Back to Libertarian Freedom and Dignity: Evaluating the Apologetic Arguments; 10) 21 Lessons for the 21st Century: Holism, Holiness and the Hope of Heaven. Notes. Index.

“This incisive book stands as both an excellent introduction to the work of these two important figures and a fresh proposal for apologetics at the dawn of a new century.” (From the back cover)

Scott R. Burson is directory of communications at Asbury Theological Seminar. Jerry L. Walls is profess of philosophy of religion at Asbury Theological Seminary.

Collins, Owen, Compiler. 2000. To quote C.S. Lewis. London: Fount. (an imprint of HarperCollinsReligious)

“This collection brings together over two hundred of quotations from more than forty of Lewis’s various books, together with extracts from some of his letters and spoken words” (xi).

“C.S. Lewis has long provided an abundant source of succinct and original quotations for speakers, teachers, and preachers. Lewis was a prolific writer and commented on many subjects of theology, literature, philosophy and the arts. In this book a wealth of short quotations has been gathered together and arranged helpfully in subject matter from A-Z, enabling the reader to find a suitable quotation for every occasion. The wisdom and wit of C.S. Lewis is accessible here as never before.” (From Amazon)

Owen Collins is the editor of several books including Speeches That Changed the World and The Oral History of Christianity.

Cunningham, Richard B. 1967. C.S. Lewis Defender of the faith. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

Contents: I. The Apologist: 1) The nature and purpose of apologetics; 2) C.S. Lewis: The man and the author. II. The Apologetic Scene: 3) The world as it ought to be; 4) Our radical new era; 5) The abolition of man; 6) The major abolitionist: modern science; 7) The present stage of abolition: 8) Mass conformity; 9) The Post-Christian era; 10) An appraisal of Lewis’ world view. III. The Foundation of Apologetics: 11) Epistemology: The problem of knowledge; 12) Hermeneutics: The science of Biblical interpretation; 13) Theology: The formulation of faith; Eschatology; 14) Communication. IV. The Apologetic Method: 15) The literary forms of apologetics; 16) Devices and techniques of debate; 17) An evaluation. Notes. Bibliography.

“The farther I have gone, the more convinced I have become that contemporary preachers, theologians, and apologists, as well as laymen, can learn at many points from Lewis about how to defend the Christian faith, including such sticky areas as epistemology and hermeneutics….Though not always persuaded by his logic, I am almost always moved by his spirit” (12).

“Richard B. Cunningham is a graduate of Baylor University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Th.D.)…and is now Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy of Religion at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, California.” (From the inside cover)

Goetz, Stewart. 2015. A philosophical walking tour with C.S. Lewis: Why it did not include Rome. NY: Bloomsbury Academic.

Contents: Acknowledgments. Introduction. Part one: 1) Hedonistic happiness; Common sense and happiness; The nature of happiness, good and evil; Euthyphro and action; Hedonism; The relation between happiness and morality; Eudaemonism; Possible objections to Lewis’s understanding of happiness; Joy or Sehnsucht; Can we really understand the nature of perfect happiness? 2) Supernatural persons; The body and happiness; Lewis’s view of the body; Mental to mental causation; Mental to physical causation; The soul is the person; Once more on common sense; The pleasure of the soul. Part Two: 3) Privation and goodness; Augustine, Aquinas, and Lewis; Augustine’s understanding of evil; Aquinas’s understanding of evil; Is pain evil? Aquinas’s account of pleasure, happiness, and goodness; Eudaemonism and “good”; Lewis and Aquinas. 4) Body and soul; Cartesian dualism; Aquinas’s view of the soul; Aquinas’s view of the body; what would Lewis have thought? The resurrection body’s relationship to pleasure and goodness; Lewis, Aquinas and the soul; A section not strictly necessary. Part Three: 5) A relational journey; Why not Roman Catholicism? Conversion and mere Christianity; Firmly an ?Anglican; Lack of exposure; Homegrown prejudices; Vocational aspirations; Ignorance of history; Difficulties based in reason; Thomas Aquinas and Roman Catholicism; Common sense, mere Christianity, and Roman Catholicism; Conclusion. Bibliography. Author index.

Stewart Goetz is professor of philosophy and religion at Ursinus college.

Hein, David and Edward Henderson, eds. 2011. C. S. Lewis and Friends: Faith and the Power of Imagination. London: SPCK.

Contents: List of illustrations; List of contributors; Foreword by David Brown. Introduction. 1) Faith reason and imagination by David Hein and Edward Henderson; 2) C.S. Lewis: Reason, imagination and knowledge by Peter J. Schakel; 3) Austin Farrer: The sacramental imagination by Edward Henderson; 4) Dorothy L. Sayers: War and redemption by Ann Loades; 5) Charles Williams: Words, images and (the) Incarnation by Charles Hefling; 6) Rose Macaulay: A voice from the edge by David Hein’ 7) J.R.R. Tolkien: His sorrowful vision of joy by Ralph C. Wood. Bibliography. Index.

David Hein is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Hood College, Frederick, Maryland. Edward Henderson is Professor of Philosophy and the Jaak Seynaeve Professor of Christian Studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Kreeft, Peter. 1982. Between heaven & hell: A dialog Somewhere beyond death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Contents: Prologue. The dialog: Time: November 22, 1963; Place: Somewhere beyond death; Characters: C.S. Lewis—Theist; John F. Kennedy—Humanist; Aldous Huxley—Pantheist. Epilogue.

“These three men also represented the three most influential versions of Christianity in our present culture: traditional, mainline or orthodox Christianity (what Lewis called “mere Christianity”), modernist or humanistic Christianity (Kennedy), and Orientalized or mystical Christianity (Huxley)” (7).

“Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and at the King’s College (Empire State Building), in New York City. He was Baptized in the Spirit in 1972; is in wide demand as a speaker at conferences, and is the author of over 75 books…” (From

Macdonald, Michael H. and Andrew A. Tadie. eds. 1989. G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis: The riddle of joy. With a Foreword by Janet Blumberg Knedlik. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co.

Contents: Two Valedictory Poems by Rudolph Schimmer; Foreword by Janet Blumberg Knedlik; I. Riddling Remembrances from those who knew them: 1) Some Personal Angles on Chesterton and Lewis by Christopher Derrick (3-19); 2) Chesterton, the Wards, the Sheeds, and the Catholic Revival by Richard L. Purtill (20-32); 3) C.S. Lewis and C.S. Lewises by Walter Hooper (33-52); 4) The Legendary Chesterton by Ian Boyd, C.S.B. (53-68); 5) The Prayer Life of C.S. Lewis by James M. Houston (69-86). II. Spelling The Riddle: Literary Assessments: 6) Looking Backward: C.S. Lewis’s Literary Achievement at Forty Years’ Perspective by Thomas T. Howard (89-99); 7) G.K. Chesterton and Max Beerbohm by William Blissett (100-124); 8) The Centrality of Perelandra to Lewis’s Theology by Evan K. Gibson (125-138). III. Living the Riddle: Their Social Thought: 9) G.K. Chesterton, the Disreputable Victorian by Alzina Stone Dale (141-159); 11) G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis: The Men and Their Times by John David Burton (160-172); 12) The Chesterbelloc and Modern Sociopolitical Criticism by Jay P. Corrin (173-191). IV. Proclaiming the riddle: Their Apologetics: 13) Chesterton in Debate with Blatchford: The Development of a Controversialist by David J. Dooley (195-214); 14) C.S. Lewis: Some Keys to his Effectiveness by Lyle W. Dorsett (215-225); 15) The Sweet Grace of Reason: The Apologetics of G.K. Chesterton by Kent R. Hill (226-248). V. Pursuing the Riddle of Joy: 16) C.S. Lewis’s Argument from Desire by Peter J. Kreeft (249-272); 17) Derrida Meets Father Brown: Chestertonian “Deconstruction” and that Harlequin “Joy” by Janet Blumberg Knedlik (273-289); 18) The Psychology of Conversion in Chesterton’s and Lewis’s Autobiographies by David Leigh, S.J. (290-304).

Michael H. Macdonald is professor of European studies and philosophy at Seattle Pacific University. Andrew A. Tadie teaches English at Seattle University.

MacSwain, Robert and Michael Ward, eds. 2010. The Cambridge companion to C.S. Lewis. Cambridge University Press.

Part II: Thinker: 6) On scripture by Kevin J. Vanhoozer; 7) On theology by Paul S. Fiddes; 58 On naturalism by Charles Taliaferro; 9) On moral knowledge by Gilbert Meilander; 10) On discernment by Joseph P. Cassidy; 11) On love by Caroline J. Simon; 12) On gender by Ann Loades; 13) On power by Judith Wolfe; 14) On violence by Stanley Hauerwas; 15) On suffering by Michael Ward.

“It is not at all obvious that this volume should appear in the Cambridge companions to Religion series, as opposed to the Cambridge Companion to Literature….However it is part of Lewis’s anomalous character to confound this expectation as well, and for two reasons. First, some of this professional writings do trespass into the territory of academic theology and philosophy, and his works of fiction and poetry are likewise often occupied with such matters….But second, and more positively, it may also be the case that Lewis should rightly be considered in this particular series because he has, in fact, expanded the genre of theology to include the imaginative works for which his is so famous” (7, 8).

Robert MacSwain is Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics at the School of Theology of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Michael Ward is Chaplain of St Peter’s College in the University of Oxford.

Martindale, Wayne. 2005. Beyond the Shadowlands: C.S. Lewis on heaven & hell. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

. Part II. Remythologizing Hell: The Fiction: 9) The Philosophy of Hell: The Screwtape Letters; 10) Evil in Paradise: Perelandra; 11) The Sociology of Hell: That Hideous Strength; 12) Hell is a Choice: The Great Divorce; 13) Descent into Hell: The Chronicles of Narnia. PURGATORY. 14) Is Purgatory Plan B? EPILOGUE. 15) Last Things: An Epilogue on Who Goes to Heaven.

*Myers, Doris T. 2004. Bareface: A guide to C.S. Lewis’s last novel. Columbia, MO: U. of Missouri Press.

“Previous studies have often treated the novel as mere myth, ignoring Lewis’s effort to present the story of Cupid and Psyche as something that could have happened. Myers emphasizes the historical background, the grounding of the characterizations in modern psychology, and the thoroughly realistic narrative presentation. She identifies key books in ancient and medieval literature, history, and philosophy that influenced Lewis’s thinking as well as pointing out a previously unnoticed affinity with William James. From this context, a clearer understanding of Till We Have Faces can emerge. Approached in this way, the work can be seen as a realistic twentieth-century novel using modernist techniques such as the unreliable narrator and the manipulation of time. The major characters fit neatly into William James’s typology of religious experience, and Orual, the narrator-heroine, also develops the kind of personal maturity described by Carl Jung. At the same time, both setting and plot provide insights into the ancient world and pre-Christian modes of thought. Organized to facilitate browsing according to the reader’s personal interests and needs, this study helps readers explore this complex and subtle novel in their own way. Containing fresh insights that even the most experienced Lewis scholar will appreciate, Bareface is an accomplishment worthy of Lewis’s lifelong contemplation.” (From Amazon)

Overcamp, Jennifer. 2017. Truth, fantasy, and paradox: The fairy tales of George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, and C.S. Lewis. Lexington, Kentucky.

Contents: 1) Christians and fiction: The great debate; 2) George MacDonald and the divine imagination; 3) G.K. Chesterton’s fairy tale philosophy in a gift universe; 4) C.S. Lewis: The Oxford Don and the fairy tale; 5) Realms where reason cannot go. Bibliography. Appendix A: The spiritual barometer.

Purtill, Richard L. 2004 [1981]. C.S. Lewis’s case for the Christian faith. San Francisco: Harper&Row.

Contents: Preface. 1) Some Reasons for Lewis’ Success; 2) Reasons for Belief in God; 3) What Must God Be Like? 4) Who is Christ? 5) Miracles and History; 6) Faith and Reason; 7) Rivals of Christianity; 8) Christian Living; 9) The Problems of Prayer; 10) Death and Beyond. Conclusion. For Further Reading. Acknowledgments. Index.

“This book aims to present, in a clear and understandable form, the main lines of C.S. Lewis; defense of and arguments for Christian belief and practice” (9). “Since I agree with Lewis on most of the matters that this book deals with, some readers may find me too partial to be a good expositor of his views, preferring someone who would find more failures and faults. I must, somewhat ironically, apologize for disappointing them. I report what I find, and I find both Lewis and his case for the Christian faith worthy of respect” (10).

The author is emeritus professor of Philosophy at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.

Purtill, Richard. 2nd ed. 2006. Lord of the Elves and Eldiles. Fantasy and Philosophy in C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. C.S. Lewis’ Case for the Christian Faith. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. [First edition 1974].

Contents: Introduction. Literature and Language. 1) Why fantasy? 2) Fantasy and literature; 3) Language, mind, and character. Good, Evil and God: 4) Good and evil in Lewis: 5) Good and evil in Tolkien; e6) Religion in Tolkien; 7) Religion in Lewis. Conclusions: 8) The baptism of the imagination; 9) The Christian intellect; 10) The continuing battle. Appendices: A) Forerunners and fiends; B) That Hideous Strength: A double story; C) Did C.S. Lewis lose his faith? D) A basic Lewis-Tolkien bibliography. Acknowledgments. Index.

“If you have ever been perplexed as to why Tolkien and Lewis wrote the way they did, or perhaps were interested to find out how they came to write their masterpieces, this book is for you. From philosophical differences to various writing styles, this book covers all the bases regarding these two authors. As is the case with most philosophy books, it can take a lot of time to absorb all that is contained in the book, so give yourself lots of time. It’s well worth reading every single word and not skipping anything. But this book answers several questions I had regarding Tolkien/Lewis, and it answers them very well. Pick up this book!” (From Amazon)

Reed, Gerard. 2001. C.S. Lewis explores vice and virtue. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press.

Contents: Preface. Introduction. Part One. The Seven Deadly Sins: 1) Pride, “The Complete Anti-God State of Mind”; 2) Envy, “The Most Odious of Vices”; 3) Anger, “The Anesthetic of the Mind”; 4) Lust, “perversions of the Sex Instinct Are Numerous; 5) Gluttony, “Her Belly Dominates Her Whole Life”; 6) Sloth, “This Made It Hard to Think; 7) Avarice, “This Itch to Have Things”. Part Two. The Seven Christian Virtues: 8) Prudence, “No ‘Intellectual Slackers’ Allowed”; 9) Justice, “The Old Name for Fairness”; 10) Courage, “The Form of Every Virtue”; 11) Temperance, “Going the Right Length”; 12) Faith, “The Power to Go on Believing”; 13) Hope, “Something That Cannot Be Had in This World”; 14) Love, “An Affair of the Will”. Notes.

“In dealing with Lewis, I’ve tried to correctly understand and represent his views, fully aware that he never wrote a full-fledged ethical treatise. Nor did he ever put together the seven deadly sins and seven virtues, as did his medieval masters. So I have often drawn upon thinkers Lewis used, such as Aristotle and Aquinas, as well as added both personal anecdotes and other materials that seem relevant” (11).

Gerard Reed, Ph.D., is professor of philosophy and religion at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Stellars, J.T. 2011. Reasoning beyond reason: Imagination as a theological source in the work of C.S. Lewis. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications.

Contents: Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1) The nature and limits of naturalistic reason; 2) The function of the imagination; 3) The imaginative drive; 4) Desire and longing in Lewis, Plato and Augustine; 5) The ethics of fairyland; 6) Poetic labors; 7) The theological imagination. Bibliography. Subject index. Name index.

J.T. Sellars is an instructor of philosophy and humanities in northern California and southern Oregon.

Sellars attempts to: 1) place Lewis’s work in a premodern era; 2) enlist others to show that Lewis views the imagination “as purely phenomenologically funded” (p. 5): 3) show how Lewis’s imaginative self developed; 4) examine the role of desire in Lewis’s work; 5) demonstrate that Lewis rejected a purely rationalistic approach; 6) explore his debt to MacDonald; and 7) connect his reasoning and narrative framework to theology.

Tadie, Andrew A. and Michael H. Macdonald, eds. 1995. Permanent things: Toward the recovery of a more human scale at the end of the twentieth century. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Dying and Rising: Toward the Renewal of Permanent Things: 13) Darkness at Noon: The Eclipse of Permanent Things by Peter Kreeft (195-221); 14) In Defense of Permanent Truth and Value by John A. Sims (222-239); 15) “There Are No Trees’…Only This Elm”: C.S. Lewis on the Scientific Method by Evan K. Gibson (240-252); 16) Some Ideas on a Christian Core Curriculum from the Writings of G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, and Dorothy L. Sayers by Alzina Stone Dale (253-269); 17) C.S. Lewis and the Conversion of the West by William J. Abraham (270-282); 18) The Recovery of Permanent Things: Eliot circa 1930 by Marion Montgomery (283-305). Contributors (306-309).

“The essays in this volume were among those presented at a conference hosted in June of 1990 by Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University. This was the second of three such conferences hosted jointly by these two universities, one Catholic and Jesuit, the other Protestant and Free Methodist” (x).

“This inspirational volume gathers eighteen essays on the work of C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, and Evelyn Waugh—five of this century’s most imaginative writers, each of whom gave voice to the permanence of Christian truth amid the secularist spirit of the age. The contributors to this volume are well known scholars who themselves are concerned for the recovery of Permanent Things.” (From the back cover)

Andrew A. Tadie is professor of English and director of the Faith and Great Ideas program at Seattle University. Michael H. MacDonald is professor of European studies and philosophy and director of the C.S. Lewis Institute at Seattle Pacific University.

Travers, Michael, ed. 2008. C.S. Lewis: Views from Wake Forest. Collected essays on C.S. Lewis. Wayne, PA: Zossima Press.

Part 1. CSL as Social Critic—Philosophy, Psychology, Science and Ethics. 1) Culture & Public Philosophy: Another C.S. Lewis by James Como; 2) Hangman’s Duty: C.S. Lewis on Christian Citizenship in Wartime by Justin Barnard; 3) Can Science be Saved? C.S. Lewis on Science, Magic & Ethics; 4) “The Colour of Things in Dark Places”: C.S. Lewis & the “New Science” of Psychology.

“The essays in this volume have been selected from those delivered at the “C.S. Lewis: The Man and His Works, a 21st Century Legacy” conference sponsored by the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina on October 26th and 27th, 2007. The conference brought together a varied group of C.S. Lewis scholars who spoke from multiple points of view. Speakers addressed Lewis from the stand point of theology, philosophy, psychology, and literature—often in overlapping and mutually-beneficial ways;” (1).

“Michael Travers was born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He holds the B.A. and M.A. from McMaster University, the Diploma in Education Post-Baccalaureate from the University of Western Ontario, and the Ph.D. from Michigan State University. For most of his career he has taught in Christian colleges, where he seeks to integrate the Christian faith with learning in his classrooms and writings. Dr. Travers has taught English literature at Cornerstone University (MI), Liberty University (VA), Mississippi College, and The College at Southeastern. In addition, he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Louisiana College. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society.” (From

Van Leeuwen, Mary Stewart. 2010. A sword between the sexes? C.S. Lewis and the gender debates. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press.

Contents: Introduction. 1) Surprised by Jack: An Ambivalent Journey; 2) A More fundamental Reality than Sex? C.S. Lewis’s Views on Gender; 3) “Mere” Christianity? Sources and Results of Lewis’s Views on Gender; 4) “Not the Only Fundamental Difference”: The Edwardian World of C.S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers; 5) A better Man than His Theories: C.S. Lewis as a Mentor and Colleague to Women’ 6) “You Can Only Get to Know Them”: C.S. Lewis and the Social Sciences; 7) Men Are from Earth, Women Are from Earth: The Psychology of Gender Since C.S. Lewis; 8) “Nature Speaks Chiefly in Answer to Our Questions”: C.S. Lewis and Some Neglected Issues in the Psychology of Gender; (P) “True to the Kind of Things we Are”: C.S. Lewis and Family Life; 10) “Suppressed by Jack’: The Two Sides of C.S. Lewis. Index.

“The purpose of this book is to trace the route by which Lewis moved slowly from the former to the latter position—from an often-polemical defense of gender essentialism and gender hierarchy to a much more gender-egalitarian view. In the process, I have neither lionized nor demonized him….” (10)

“Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (Ph.D., Northwestern University) is professor of psychology and philosophy at Eastern University, where she is also resident scholar at the Center for Christian Women in Leadership” (From the back cover)

Wielenberg, Erik J. 2008. God and the reach of reason: C.S. Lewis, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell. Cambridge University Press.

Contents: Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1) The Love of God and the Suffering of Humanity: 1.1 The Problem; 1.2 Hume’s Presentation of the Problem; 1.3 Lewis’s Attempt to Solve the Problem; 1.4 The Case of Ivan Ilyich; 1.5 The Incompleteness of Lewis’s Solution. 1.6 conclusion. 2) Beyond Nature: 2.2 Introduction; 2.2 The Moral Argument; 2.3 The Argument from Reason; 2.4 The Argument from Desire; 2.5 Conclusion. 3) Miracles: 3.1 Introduction; 3.2 Debating Miracles in the Eighteenth Century; 3.3 A Preliminary Skirmish; 3.4 Hume’s Main Assault; 3.5 Lewis’s Counterattack; 3.6 The Fitness of the Incarnation; 3.7 Lewis’s Mitigated Victory and the Trilemma; 3.8 Conclusion. 4) Faith, Design, and the True Religion: 4.1 Introduction; 4.2 Faith; 4.3 Design; 4.4 True Religion. Notes. References. Index.

“My main goal here is to put these three great thinkers in conversation with each other, shedding light not only on the views of each but also on the quality of their arguments….We study great thinkers not just to learn about them but also to learn from them” (6).

Erik J. Wielenberg teaches in the Philosophy Department at DePauw University. “I did my graduate work at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and was fortunate enough to spend a year studying at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame. (From


Pain and C.S. Lewis

Pain, Lewis remarked in his book “The Problem of Pain” (NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1962) is God’s megaphone “to rouse a deaf world” (91, 93); it is his way of getting our attention and anyone who has had severe pain knows why the expression is so poignant. Of course, Lewis was no stranger to pain: he had arthritic pain in his hands and thumbs and was an invalid the last few years of his life.

Leis notes that “If any real theologian reads these pages he will very easily see that they are the work of a layman and an amateur. Except in the last two chapters, parts of which are admittedly speculative, I have believed myself to be restating ancient and orthodox doctrines. If any parts of the book are ‘original’, in the sense of being novel or unorthodox, they are so against my will and as a result of my ignorance” (xii).

What seems to us to be good—such as not having pain—may not be good in God’s eyes “and what seems to us evil may not be evil” (28). Lewis continues throughout the book to try and alert us to divine goodness and perspective. We do not see God’s reality due to the way we look at the outside of things, for example we discuss corporate guilt rather than our own as individuals. We also have the illusion that time will cancel sin (54) and that we can take refuge in the fact that all men—not just us—are bad (55). We are in a mess when we cannot see the horror within ourselves.

Man has made himself ill-adapted to the universe by the abuse of his free will (63). Lewis sums up his chapter on the fall of man by noting that his thesis “is simply that man, as a specis, spoiled himself, and that good, to us in our present state, must therefore mean primarily remedial or corrective good” (85).

As humans we often inflict pain upon eone another but, as Lewis says, “we would like to know the reason for the enormous permission to torture their fellows which God gives to the worst of men” (86-87). The kind of pain which Lewis discusses is any experience, physical or mental, that we dislike. And such pain requires attention and it should be turned towards God—even if we find God an “interruption” (94). But what about “humble, pious, believing people” who suffer? Lewis rephrases it to ask “why do some” not suffer? Pain, like pleasure, can be a two edged sword. Regardless, of how we act, God’s purpose will be carried out and it is better to act like John than Judas (111). “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home” (116).

Lewis has a lot to say about hell in his writings and reminds us that “Dominical utterances about Hell, like all Dominical sayings, are addressed to the conscience and the will, not to our intellectual curiosity” (120). Lewis doe not try to make the doctrine of Hell “tolerable” (121). We must remember that “Finality must come some time, and it does not require a very robust faith to believe that omniscience knows when” (126). Jesus conveyed Hell in terms of three symbols: punishment, destruction and privation or exclusion (banishment).

“We know much more about heaven than hell, for heaven is the home of humanity and therefore contains all that is implied in a glorified human life: but hell was not made for men. It is in no sense parallel to heaven: it is ‘the darkness outside’, the outer rim where being fades away into nonentity” (129).

Chapter 9 is on animal pain and, as Lewis notes, “the Christian explanation of human pain cannot be extended to animal pain”  because they are incapable of sin or virtue, so pain will not punish or improve them (132). Animal suffering cannot be traced to the Fall of man because animals existed long before humans (137). Further animals are not “immortal” because the word has no meaning for a creature without consciousness—in the same way as humans

In the final chapter (on heaven), Lewis notes that our place there “will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand” (152).

Chapter 20 “The pains of animals” appears in God in the dock: Essays on theology and ethics, edited by Walter Hooper. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co., 1970). It consists of an “inquiry” by C.E.M. Joad and a reply by Lewis. Joad’s questions concerns how pain can occur in the creation of an all-good God and why “higher animals” do not have souls yet can obtain immorality through a good man. Can they also suffer moral corruption?

Lewis notes, to begin with, that the answers he has previously given fail to satisfy Joad, but that he will speak to some misunderstandings. The arguments about animal pain are theological and imaginary in most cases.

The article is republished in C.S. Lewis: Timeless at Heart, chapter 4, “The Pains of Animals: A Problem in Theology” (66-79).

  1. The joyful Christian: 127 readings from C.S. Lewis. Compiled by William Griffin, Macmillan Publishing Co. NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.

Human Pain: How real pain can cause repentance and “shatters the illusion that all is well” as well as all we have in ourselves will be sufficient (210).

Animal Pain: the appearance of divine credulity [in an animal] is an illusion (212).

  1. Readings for meditation and reflection. Edited by Walter Hooper. NY: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. Republished in 2008.

The Necessity of Pain (taken from Lewis, The Problem of Pain, chapter 6, “Human Pain.”) is a reminder that “The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it” (71). “…tribulation cannot cease until God either sees us re-made or sees that our remaking is now hopeless” (72).

Beversluis, John. 1985. C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co. Updated in July, 2007.

As of November, 2018 there were 20 reviews of Beversluis’s revised and updated version on Amazon. 60% of them were positive, 5 star ratings, mainly by reviewers who apparently thought that the author put Lewis in his place and exhibited good (reasonable and academic) philosophical judgments. However, it is obvious from the start of the book that Beversluis does not hold to much of anything that Lewis does and does not feel that Lewis’s “rational religion” holds much water. His chapter on pain largely contradicts Lewis.

Contents: Introduction. 1) Apologetics; 2) Desire; 3) Morality; 4) Reason; 5) Unbelief; 6)
Counterevidence; 7) Pain; 8) Fideism; 9) Grief; 10) Specimen. Notes.

John Beversluis is Professor of Philosophy and head of the department at Butler University.

Conn, Marie A. 2008. C.S. Lewis and Human Suffering: Light among the shadows. Mahwah, New Jersey: Hidden Spring, an imprint of Paulist Press.

Contents: Preface. Acknowledgments. Introduction—All My Road Before Me: The Man Behind the Books. 1) Bits of a Life: A Look at C.S. Lewis; 2) The Loss of Conviction: World War I and Atheism; 3) Conviction Rediscovered: Lewis’s Conversion; 4) The Problem of Pain: All Nonsense Questions Are Unanswerable; 5) I Shall Never Be a Biped Again: A Discussion of A Grief Observed; e6) An Approach to Mourning: Our Own “Grief Observed”; 7) Only the Life I’ve Led: Some Concluding Remarks. Noes. Bibliography.

“This book will bridge the gap between the absolutely committed Christian of the published works and the struggling, questioning man who dealt with the doubts and problems common to all of us” (xi, xii).

Chapter 4 is on pain and Lewis “felt that most of our suffering comes from other humans, so we have to explore why we treat each other so badly” (41). Further, God supports the poor, widowed and orphaned, but they continue most often in the same state. However, we stand with all believers to “borrow their strength to supplement our weakness” (46). Prayer unites us to a strength outside ourselves.

Marie A. Conn is professor of religious studies at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia—her doctorate in theology from the University of Notre Dame.

Gilchrist, K.J. 2005. A morning after war: C.S. Lewis and WW1. New York: Peter Lang.

Lewis knew pain from his wounds on the battlefield and in chapter 10 “The Angel of Pain,” Gilchrist assembles all that is known about Lewis’s time on the battle front, his wounds, recovery, and subsequent stress. Lewis was reluctant to discuss his time in the army.

Walter Hooper, (ed. 1996, C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide. Harper: San Francisco) has an excellent summary of Lewis’s book on pain. Lewis had read his work to the Inklings, which he had finished by the spring of 1940. Hooper reiterates Lewis’s contention that “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (299). Hooper also gives information on a number of the book’s reviews.

Kreeft, Peter. ed. 1994. The shadowlands of C.S. Lewis: The man behind the movie. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Kreeft claims that “in this book you will read some of the most beautiful and moving passages of English prose ever written about some of the most mysterious and presious experiences you have ever felt” (11). Kreeft includes in his composition of Section V, “The Problem of Pain,” in which Lewis explained and experienced pain (175-201). Experience is the “brutal teacher” and happiness is not what God wants—“He wants us to grow uip—to love” (from the movie Shadowlands). Lewis explains pain in terms of God’s omnipotence, goodness, and human wickedness. We experience pain from someone’s death, suffering, introspective questioning (self-doubt) and the fact that love is stronger than death. “Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feeet. We shall see that there never was any problem” (201). Kreeft’s observations on explaining pain come from Lewis’s The Problem of Pain and his observations on experiencing pain are from A Grief Observed.

Kathryn Ann Lindskoog, in her book C.S. Lewis: Mere Christian (1973), includes a short chapter on pain (151-167). She divides the chapter into two parts: 1) how to understand suffering, and 2) how to cope with suffering. Lindskoog suffered with multiple sclerosis and knew something about suffering and pain. The “problem” with pain is that we wonder if God can do something about it. We soon realize that “pain tells the truth (154). Lewis felt there was nothing worse than intense personal pain and that the pain is not good in itself and Christians should do all they can to alleviate it. Science will never completely remove suffering and that security and happiness might well keep us from God. Pain is also “the only evil that does not tend to spread, recur, or reproduce itself” (155).

Markos, Louis. 2003. Lewis Agonistes: How C.S. Lewis can train us to wrestle with the modern and postmodern world. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman.

Markos deals with the problem of pain in chapter 4 of his book, “Wrestling with Evil and Suffering” (90-111). He notes that the most common reason people egive for rejecting God is  a”a simmering hostility, only slightly suppressed, at all those ‘sweetness and light’ phrases that Christians like to use: God is love; God is in control; All thing work together for good; Only God knows what is best for us. Such people should not be ridiculed or taken lightly” (90). Although God does not always deliver us from tragedies, he shares our grief (note Christ and Lazarus).

Alister McGrath, discusses Lewis’s concept and discussion of pain in two of his books: C.S. Lewis: A life. Eccentric genius, reluctant prophet and If I had lunch with C.S. Lewis: Exploring the ideas of C.S. Lewis on the meaning of life, both books published in 2013. McGrath recounts how Lewis had his own faith tested in the death of his wife Joy—chronicled by Lewis in A Grief Observed. Lewis using a pseudonym for the central character of the narrative and he altered his style somewhat. The book was unlike anything else he had written. The book is about feelings, and their deeper significance…. (343). Pain has to make sense because if the world does not, then it is meaningless. But “Life is a high-value item, and it comes at a cost” (168) and further “God may accept us just as we are—but he isn’t going to leave us there” (172). McGrath reminds us that we do not have a complete picture about pain and suffering and that it leaves us with some “uncomfortable questions” (183).

In The question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud debate God, love, sex, and the meaning of life, (2002), Armand M. Nicholi Jr has a chapter called “Pain: How Can We Resolve the Problem of Suffering?” in which he examines the writings of Lewis and Freud on pain and suffering. He outlines his purpose as looking “at human life from two diametrically opposed points of view: those of the believer and the unbeliever. (Freud divided all people into those two categories.) We will examine several of the basic issues of life in terms of these two conflicting views. We will look at both views as objectively and dispassionately as possible and let the arguments speak for themselves” (5, 6).

The book is a penetrating study of the philosophical views of two great men and it formed the basis of a course at Harvard that Nicholi has taught for many years. Chapter 8 is called “Pain How can we resolve the problem of suffering?” (197-215) and it is followed by chapter 9, “Death: Is death our only destiny?” (216-239)

Freud held these views: 1) God did not exist; 2) the Catholic church was an enemy; 3) anti-Semitism was responsible for “much of the resistance and antagonism toward psychoanalysis” (190); 4) death was greatly feared; 5) there was no moral order—everything depended on fate; 6) suffering caused him extreme anger; 7) the devil was a psychological explanation.

Lewis held these views: 1) God allows suffering for our own good; 2) the governing of the universe is temporarily in enemy hands; 3) without free will there is no choice of right and wrong; 4) God can do anything but he does not “answer nonsensical questions”  (210); 5) pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf world; 6) Lewis did not fear death because it was not the end.

“For more than twenty-five years, Armand Nicholi has taught a course at Harvard that compares the philosophical arguments of both men….Both men considered the problem of pain and suffering, the nature of love and sex. And the ultimate meaning of life and death—and each of them thought carefully about the alternatives to their positions.” (From the back cover)

In chapter 7 of Simply C.S. Lewis: A beginner’s guide to his life and works.(1997), Thomas C. Peters examines Lewis’s views on pain, love and miracles. “It is a typical Lewis analysis of the questions surrounding personal pain, and it contains many of the same arguments found elsewhere, most notably in The Abolition of Man and Mere Christianity” (166).

See also Jerry Root, 2009, C.S. Lewis and a problem of evil: An investigation of a pervasive theme.

Skinner, Andrew C. and Robert L. Millet, eds. 1999. C.S. Lewis: The man and his message. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft.

Papers from a conference held at Brigham Young University on Dec 4-5, 1998, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of C.S. Lewis.

Contents: Preface. Introduction: C.S. Lewis: The man and his bessage by Robert L. Millet; 1) C.S. Lewis : Insight on discipleship by Neal A. Maxwell; 2) C.S. Lewis: Drawn by the truth made flesh by Brent D. Slife; 3) Going to hell. V style: His views on sin, temptation and the devil by Andrew C. Skinner: 4) C.S. Lewis: Self love and salvation by Daniel K. Judd; 5) C.S. Lewis on family and self-deception by Terrance D. Olson; 6) The psychology of temptation in Perelandra and Paradise Lost: What Lewis learned from Milton; 7) C.S. Lewis and the Romantic decade by Fred E. Kerry; 8) God’s megaphone to a deaf world: C.S. Lewis’s personal sojourn to understanding the problem of pain by Bret L. Top; 9) C.S. Lewis on the transformation of human nature by Robert L. Miller; 10) Summing up the C.S. Lewis Conference by Andrew C. Skinner. Appendix 1: The life of C.S. Lewis: A chronology of events. Appendix 2: Writings of C.S. Lewis. Acknowledgments. Index.

Andrew C. Skinner is chair of the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University and Robert L. Miller is dean of Religious Education and professor of Ancient Scripture at the same university.

Bret L. Top includes a chapter (8) called “God’s megaphone to a deaf world: C.S. Lewis’s personal sojourn to understanding the problem of pain.” And “For Latter-day Saints in particular, C.S. Lewis has great appeal… [in that] he simplifies the complex with common sense and illustrates the philosophical explanations with understanding and relevant metaphors, which in turn helps us to understand our own doctrines and scriptures better” (121). Top discusses free will and the good ness of God in particular, but also “finding God through the trial of faith” (133).

A.N. Wilson’s book, C.S. Lewis: A biography (1990) has received a number of reviews, some of them negative. It is a comprehensive work, with one chapter that is relevant to pain: Lewis’s time as a soldier and the wounds and suffering he had as a result. Wilson calls the chapter (6), “The Angel of Pain 1917-1918)” and in just nine pages (52-61) describes some of the suffering and agony Lewis went through both on the battlefield and in his personal life—for example, looking after Mrs. Moore. (The title of the chapter refers to a novel by the same name by E.F. Benson.)


Narnia and C.S. Lewis


For many readers, C.S. Lewis is best known for the 7 books comprising The Chronicles of Narnia. In C.S. Lewis Companion and Guide by Walter Hooper (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996: 397-456), he summarizes the books and their publishing history.

Hooper begins by reviewing how Lewis believed that ‘realistic’ stories were more likely to deceive children than fairy tales (398). Lewis, as author and Christian, had a message embedded in the exploits—underscored by Aslan–of the children who found their way into Narnia.

Briefly, The Magician’s Nephew features Digory, his uncle Andrew and Aslan, who creates Narnia. It follows with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, in which the four Pevensie children find their way into Narnia through a wardrobe. There follows conflict and intrigue, involving Narnian animals and a White Witch, who uses magic that is written on tablets of stone and other places. The Horse and the Boy is “a story within a story” (414) and involves the reign of the Pevensie siblings. The story of Prince Caspian entails a return to Narnia by the four children. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader finds Eustace turned into a dragon before Aslan returns him to his human form, but with a new outlook on life. In The Silver Chair the witch is killed and the principle characters escape to Narnia. The Last Battle concludes the series

  1. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe: A story for children. (With pictures adapted from illustrations by Pauline Baynes) NY: Macmillan. Collier books edition 1970.

Contents: Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe; II) What Lucy Found There; III) Edmund and the Wardrobe; IV) Turkish Delight; V) Back on This Side of the Door; VI) Into the Forest; VII) A Day with the Beavers; VIII) What Happened After Dinner; IX) In the Witch’s House; X) The Spell Begins to Break; XI: Aslan Is Nearer; XII: Peter’s First Battle; XIII) Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time; XIV) The Triumph of the Witch; XV) Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time; XVI) What Happened About the Statues; XVII) The Hunting of the White Stag.

Think of “How Aslan, the noble lion, freed Narnia from the spell of the White Witch.”

  1. Prince Caspian: The return to Narnia. (With pictures adapted from illustrations by Pauline Baynes) NY: Macmillan. Collier books edition 1970.

Contents: I) The Island; II) The Ancient Treasure House; III) The Dwarf; IV) The Dwarf Tells of Prince Caspian; V) Caspian’s Adventure in the Mountains; VI) The People That Lived in Hiding; VII) Old Narnia in Danger; VIII) How They Left the Island; IX) What Lucy Saw; X) The Return of the Lion; XI) The Lion Roars; XII) Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance; XIII) The High King in Command; XIV) How All Were Very Busy; XV) Aslan Makes a Door in the Air.

Think of “How good Prince Caspian and his army of Talking Beasts conquered the Telmarines.”

  1. The voyage of the Dawn Treader. (With pictures adapted from illustrations by Pauline Baynes) NY: Macmillan. Collier books edition 1970.

Contents: I) The Picture in the Bedroom; II) On Board the “Dawn Treader”; III) The Lone Islands; IV) What Caspian Did There; V) The Storm and What Came of It; VI) The Adventures of Eustace; VII) How the Adventure Ended; VIII) Two Narrow Escapes; IX) The Island of the Voices; X) The Magician’s Book; XI) The Dufflepuds Made Happy; XII) The Dark Island; XIII) The Three Sleepers; XIV) The Beginning of the End of the World; XV) The Wonders of the Last Sea; XVI) The Very End of the World.

Think of “How King Caspian sailed through Magic waters to the End of the World.”

  1. The Silver Chair. (With pictures adapted from illustrations by Pauline Baynes) NY: Macmillan. Collier books edition 1970. ISBN 0 02 044250 5]

Contents: I) Behind the Gym; II) Jill is Given a Task; III) The Sailing of the King; IV) A Parliament of Owls: V) Puddleglum; VI) The Wild Waste Lands of the North; VII) The Hill of the Strange Trenches; VIII) The House of Harfang; IX) How They Discovered Something Worth Knowing; X) Travels Without the Sun; Xi) In the Dark Castle; XIII) The Queen of Underland; XIII) Underland Without the Queen; XIV) The Bottom of the World; XV) The Disappearance of Jill; XVI) The Healing of Harms.

Think of “How captive Prince Rilian escaped from the Emerald Witch’s underground kingdom.”

  1. The Horse and His Boy. (With pictures adapted from illustrations by Pauline Baynes) NY: Macmillan. Collier books edition 1970.

Contents: I) How Shasta Set Out on His Travels; II) A Wayside Adventure; III) At the Gates of Tashbaan; IV) Shasta Falls In with the Narnians; V) Prince Corin; VI) Shasta Among the Tombs; VII) Aravis in Tashbaan; VIII) In the House of the Tisroc; IX) Across the Desert; X) The Hermit of the Southern March; XI) The Unwelcome Fellow Traveler; XII) Shasta in Narnia; XIII) The Fight at Anvard; XIV) How Bree Became a Wiser Horse; XV) Rabadash the Ridiculous.

Think of “How a talking horse and a boy prince saved Narnia from invasion.”

  1. The Magician’s Nephew. (With pictures adapted from illustrations by Pauline Baynes) NY: Macmillan. Collier books edition 1970.

Contents: I) The Wrong Door; II) Digory and His Uncle; III) The Wood Between the Worlds; IV) The Bell and the Hammer; V) The Deplorable Word; VI) The Beginning of Uncle Andrew’s Troubles; VII) What Happened at the Front Door; VIII) The Fight at the Lamp-Post; IX: The Founding of Narnia; X) The First Joke and Other Matters; XI) Digory and His Uncle Are Both in Trouble; XII: Strawberry’s Adventure; XIII) An Unexpected Meeting; XIV) The Planting of the tree; XV) The End of This Story and the Beginning of All the Others.

“How Aslan created Narnia and gave the gift of speech to its animals.”

Anderson, Douglas A., ed. 2008. Tales before Narnia. The roots of modern fantasy and science fiction: Classic stores that inspirited C.S. Lewis. NY: Ballantine books.

Contents: Introduction. 1) Poem: Tegner’s Drapa by Longfellow; 2) The aunt and Amabel by Nesbit; 3) The snow queen: A tale in seven stories by H.C. Anderson; 4) The magic mirror by George Macdonald; 5) Undine by Fouque; 6) Letters from hell: Letter III by Thisted; 7) Fastosus and Avaro by Macgowan; 8) The tapestried chamber, or The lady in the Sacque by Sir Walter Scott; 9) The story of the Goblins who stole a sexton by Charles Dickens; 10) The child and the giant by Barfield; 11) A king’s lesson by William Morris; 12) The waif woman: A cue—from a saga by R. L. Stevenson; 13) First whisper of the Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame; 14) The wish house by Rudyard Kipling; 15) Er in sempiternum permeant by Charles Williams; 16) The dragon’s visit by J.R.R. Tolkien; 17) The coloured lands by Chesterton; 18) The man who lived backwards by Charles F. Hall; 19) The wood that time forgot: The enchanted wood by Roger Lancelyn Green; 20) The dream dust factory by William Lindsay Greshem. Author notes and recommended reading.

Arthur, Sarah. 2005. Walking through the wardrobe: A devotional Quest into The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

What’s Inside: A Note from the author. Acknowledgments. Read this first. How to use this book. Part One: Walking With Lucy; Part Two: Walking with the Professor; Part Three: Walking with the Professor; Part Four: Walking with Edmund; Part Five: Walking with Peter; Part Six: Walking with Narnians; Part Seven: Walking with the White Witch (or Not); Part Eight: Walking with Aslan; Part Nine: Walking with Lewis. Read this last. Glossary of terms and fun facts. Guide to other works by C.S. Lewis. Notes.

“Sarah is a fun-loving speaker and the author of numerous books and resources on the intersection of faith and great stories, including the award-winning Walking with Bilbo: A Devotional Adventure through The Hobbit.” (From www.saraharthur.infor)

Baehr, Ted and James Baehr. 2005. Narnia Beckons: C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Beyond. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman. [With pictures and illustrations.]

Contents: Preface: Once upon a time; Part I: In the beginning: C.S. Lewis. 1) C.S. Lewis: A profile of his life by Lyle Dorsett; 2) Oxford and C.S. Lewis: “The deepest thirst within us” by Deborah Smith Douglas; 3) The Inklings…and other influences; 4) Friends of Lewis, friends of Old Narnia by James S.C. Baehr; 5) Will we meet Plato in heaven? By Carolyn Stanford Goss and Joseph Stanford Goss; 6) Lewis’s last interview by Sherwood Wirt; 7) Following the bright blur by Jerry Root. Part II: New heaven and earth—the world of Narnia. 8) Through the wardrobe: A famous image explored by Michael Ward; 9) From the wardrobe to the stable: Lewis’s defense of the transcendent incarnate by Angus Menuge; 10) “His speech has gone out into all lands”: The talking beasts of Narnia by Andrew Cuneo; 11) Food for the soul: Eating in Narnia by Wayne Martindale and Kathryn Welch. Part III: The fullness of time—the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. 12) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at fifty: A celebration (and a worry) by Paul F. Ford; 13) “Deeper magic”: Allusions in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Marvin D. Hinten; 14) The fascination with “other worlds” in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Peter Kreeft. Part IV: Into all the world—movies, television and beyond. 15) C.S. Lewis at the cinema by James S.C. Baehr; 16) Inspiration moments for reflection: Further up and further in by Ted Baehr and Peiree Baehr. Conclusion: Only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia. Epilogue.

Ted and James Baehr are both graduates of Dartmouth College. Ted Baehr is a founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission. James Baehr studied the literary achievements at Oxford and is an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

Bowen, John P. 2007. The Spirituality of Narnia: The Deeper Magic of C.S. Lewis. Vancouver, B.C.: Regent College.

Contents: Preface. 1) Life, the universe and Narnia; 2) Who was C.S. Lewis? 3) Aslan’s other name; 4) Narnia awake; 5) All creatures great and small; 6) A Neevil in the world: treachery; 7) The heart of the matter: pride; 8) A deeper magic; 9) “We hear and obey”; 10) Narnia is dead, long live Narnia! 11) All find what they truly seek; 12) Interlocking stories; 13) Through the wardrobe.

John P. Bowen is professor at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto.

Bruner, Kurt and Jim Ware. 2005. Finding God in the Land of Narnia. Tyndale House Publishers.

Contents: Introduction by Kurt Bruner. 1) Aslan’s song; 2) Evil has entered; 3) All get what they want; 4) Chinks and chasms; 5) Turkish delight; 6) Not safe but good; 7) Father Christmas; 8) Deep and deeper magic; 9) Sons of Adam and daughters of Eve; 10) Irresistibly drawn’ 11) Old Narnians; 12) Strange help; 13) Divine revelry; 14) A change of clothes; 15) The sign of the albatross; 16) Perilous  table; 17) Heart’s desire; 18) Only ask; 19) Lion’s breath; 20) Foot in the fire; 21) Bugled but blessed; 22) “Narnia and the north!” 23) Most unfortunate; 24) The good we could do; 25) Seeing it; 26) Further up and further in. Afterthoughts by Jim Ware. Endnotes. Bibliography.

“It is not our intention to turn Lewis’s stories into sermons. But we do hope to dray spiritual insights from the faith that inspired their author and informed their plots. We seek to enrich rather than replace the experience of reading The Chronicles of Narnia” (xviii).

“In Finding God in the Land of Narnia, best-selling authors Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware explore the deep spiritual themes of redemption and grace found in the popular Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. With amazing clarity that captures the tone and style of C. S. Lewis himself, the authors offer a depth of insight that will surprise even the most ardent Lewis fan. Each chapter will help readers gain not only a deeper understanding of the popular Lewis series, but a deeper understanding of God himself.” (From Amazon)

Kurt Bruner, a graduate of Talbot School of Theology, serves as vice president of the Focus on the Family Resource Center.

Caughey, Shanna, ed. 2005. Revisiting Narnia: Fantasy, Myth and Religion in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles. Dallas, TX: Benbella.

Contents: 1) Introduction by Shanna Caughey; 2) The Silver Chair and the silver screen by Charlie W. Starr; 3) On the Origins of Evil by Lawrence Watt-Evans; 4) Elusive Prey by Natasha Giardina; 5) God in the Details by Naomi Wood; 6) Coming of Age in Narnia by Sam McBride; 7) The Chronicles of Narnia: For Adults Only? by Martha C. Sammons; 8) Believing Narnia by James Como; 9) The “Correct” Order for Reading the chronicles of Narnia? by Peter J. Schakel; 10) The Chronicles of Narnia: Where to Start by Wesley A Kort; 11) Narnia and Middle-earth by Joseph Pearce; 12) Aslan Is On the Move by Russell W. Dalton; 13) The Beginning of the Real Story by James V. Schall, S.J.; 14) Heathen Eye for the Christian Guy by Jacqueline Carey; 15) Would the Modern-day C.S. Lewis be a PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] Protester? by Ingrid Newkirk; 16) Greek Delight by Nick Mamatas; 17) Why I Love Narnia by Sarah Zettel; 18) Daughters of Lilith [Adam’s first wife and progenitor of the White Witch] by Cathy McSporran; 19) The Last of the Bibliophiles by Peg Aloi; 20C.S. Lewisand The Problem of Religion in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Vox Day; 21) Redeeming Postmodernism by Louis A. Markos; 22) The Horse and His Boy: The Theology of Bree [part of the Calormen society in The Horse and His Boy] by David F. Bumbaugh; 23) A Reconstructed Image by Mary Frances Zambreno; 24) A Knight in the Mud by Marie-Catherine Caillava; 25) “Most Right and Proper, I’m Sure…”; by Sally D. Stabb, Ph.D.; 26) Narnia in the Modern World by Colin Duriez.

“So, what distinguishes this book from others that come out this fall? Well, it’s probably the sheer diversity of the contributors. Or the fact that they all have a deep love for the series. We’ve got agnostic fantasists. Lewis scholars, devout Christians, pagans—you name it. All in this one volume. Each essay grabs onto one aspect of the series, gives it a good tug and delivers a detailed exploration” (2).

Based in Dallas, Shanna Caughey is a activist, currently at the Texas Campaign for the Environment

Coren, Michael, 1996. (Reprint edition.) The man who created Narnia: The story of C. S. Lewis. Eerdmans Pub Co.

Contents: 1) Beginnings; 2) Dreams and dreaming spires; 3) Friends, Gods, and devils; 4) Narnia; 5) And joy come in; 6) Out of the shadows. Chronology. A note on sources. Further reading. Picture sources. Index.

“Coren…takes a well-balanced approach to the creation of a life and treads carefully around the many pitfalls that await a biographer….He shows how the elements of Lewis’s life…have their echoes and resonances in Narnia….” (From the back cover)

“Michael Coren was born in London, England, and in 1987 came to Canada, where he now works as a syndicate columnist and as the host of ‘The Michael Coren Show’ on CFRB, Canada’s largest radio station.”

Dickerson, Matthew and David O’Hara. 2009. Narnia and the fields of Arbol: The environmental vision of C.S. Lewis. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. [On my Kindle]

Contents. Acknowledgments. Conventions and Abbreviations. Introduction: Ecological crisis, environmental critique and Christian imagination. 1) What he thought about everything; 2) Nature and meaning in the history of Narnia; 3) The Magician’s Nephew: Creation and the Narnian ecology; 4) The Last Battle and the end of Narnia; 5) Out of the Silent Planet: Re-imaging ecology; 6) Perelandra: Creation and conscience; 7) That Hideous Strength: Assault on the sol and soul of England; 8) The Re-enchantment of creation. Notes. Recommended reading. Index.

“The authors examine the environmental and ecological underpinnings of Lewis’s work by exploring his best-known works of fantasy, including the seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia and the three novels collectively referred to as the Space Trilogy. Taken together, these works reveal Lewis’s enduring environmental concerns, and Dickerson and O’Hara offer a new understanding of his pioneering style of fiction. An avid outdoorsman, Lewis deftly combined an active imagination with a deep appreciation for the natural world. Narnia and the Fields of Arbol, the first book-length work on the subject, explores the marriage of Lewis’s environmental passion with his skill as a novelist and finds the author’s legacy to have as much in common with the agrarian environmentalism of Wendell Berry as it does with the fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien. In an era of increasing concern about deforestation, climate change, and other environmental issues, Lewis’s work remains as pertinent as ever.” (From Amazon)

Ditchfield, Christin. 2003. A family guide to Narnia: Biblical truths in C.S. Lewis’s the Chronicles of Narnia. Wheaton: Crossway Books. [Also on my Kindle]

Contents: Foreword by Wayne Martindale. Preface. Introduction to The Magician’s Nephew. 1) The wrong door; 2) Digory and his uncle; 3) The wood between the worlds; 4) The bell and the hammer; 5) The deplorable word; 6) The beginning of uncle Andrew’s troubles; 7) What happened at the front door; 8) The fight at the lamp-post; 9) The founding of Narnia; 10) The first joke and other matters; 11) Digory and his uncle are both in trouble; 12) Strawberry’s adventure; 13) An unexpected meeting; 14) The planting of the tree; 15) The end of this story and the beginning of all the others. Introduction to The lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 1) Lucy looks into a wardrobe; 2) What Lucy found there; 3) Edmund and the wardrobe; 4) Turkish delight; 5) Back on this side of the door; 6) Into the forest; 7) A day with the beavers; 8) What happened after dinner; 9) In the Witch’s house; 10) The spell begins to break; 11) Aslan is nearer; 12) Peter’s first battle; 13) Deep magic from the dawn of time; 14) The triumph of the witch; 15) Deeper magic from before the dawn of time; 16) What happened about the statures; 17) The hunting of the white stag. Introduction to The Horse and His Boy. 1) How Shasta set out on his travels; 2) A wayside adventure; 3) At the gates of Tashbaan; 4) Shasta falls in with the Narnians; 5) Prince Corin; 6) Shasta among the tombs; 5) Aravis in Tashbaan; 8) In the house of the Tisroc; 9) Across the desert; 10) The hermit of the southern march; 11) The unwelcome fellow traveler; 12) Shasta in Narnia; 13) The fight at Anvark; 14) How Bree became a wiser horse; 15) Rabadash the ridiculous. Introduction to Prince Caspian. 1) The island; 2) The ancient treasure house; 3) The dwarf; 4) The dwarf tells of a Prince Caspian; 5) Caspian’s adventure in the mountains; 6) The people that lived in hiding; 7) Old Narnia in danger; 8) How they left the island; 9) What Lucy saw; 10) The return of the lion; 11) The lion roars; 12) Sorcery and sudden vengeance; 13) The high king in command; 14) How all were very busy; 15) Aslan makes a door in the air. Introduction to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. 1) The picture in the bedroom; 2) On board the The Dawn Treader; 3) The lone islands; 4) What Caspian did there; 5) The storm and what came of it; 6) The adventures of Eustace; 7) How the adventure ended; 8) Two narrow escapes; 9) The island of the voices; 10) The magician’s book; 12) The Dufflepuds made happy; 12) The dark island; 13) The three sleepers; 14) The beginning of the end of the world; 15) The wonders of the last sea; 16) The very end of the world. Introduction to The Silver Chair. 1) Behind the gym; 2) Jill is given a task; 3) The sailing of the king; 4) A parliament of owls; 5) Puddleglum; 6) The wild waste lands of the north; 7) The hill of the strange trenches; 8) The house of Harfang; 9) How they discovered something worth knowing; 10) Travels without the sun; 11) In the dark castle; 12) The queen of Underland; 13) Underland without the queen; 14) The bottom of the world; 15) The disappearance of Jill; 16) The healing of harms. Introduction to The Last Battle. 1) By Calron pool; 2) The rashness of the king; 3) The ape in its glory; 4) What happened that night; 5) How help came to the king; 6) A good night’s work’ 7) Mainly about dwarfs; 8) What news the eagle brought; 9) The great meeting on Stable Hill; 10) Who will go into the Stable? 11) The pace quickens; 12) Through the stable door; 13) How the dwarfs refuse to be taken in; 14) Night falls on Narnia; 15) Further up and further in; 16) Farewell to Shadowlands. Epilogue. Recommended Recourses.

“Christin Ditchfield is an accomplished educator, author, conference speaker, and host of the internationally syndicated radio program…. She is the author of more than 65 books, translated into half a dozen languages [and] has been speaking at conferences, retreats, banquets, and brunches. Christin holds a master’s degree in Biblical Theology from Southwestern University.” (From

Ditchfield includes “Biblical Parallels and Principles” for each of her chapters as well as her personal thoughts and Scripture references.

Downing, David C. 2005. Into the wardrobe: C.S. Lewis and the Narnia chronicles. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Contents: A C.S. Lewis Time Line; Introduction: The Child as Father of the Man. 1) The Life of C.S. Lewis; 2) The Genesis of Narnia; 3) The Spiritual Vision of the Narnia Chronicles; 4) Moral Psychology; 5) Classical and Medieval Elements; 6) What’s in a Narnian Name?; 7) Lewis’s Literary Artistry. Appendix: Definitions, Allusions, and Textual Notes. Notes. Bibliography. Acknowledgments. The Author. Index.

Duriez, Colin. 2004. A Field Guide to Narnia. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. (Paperback edition also from Sutton Publishing Ltd. in 2005.)

Contents: Foreword by Brian Sibley. Preface. Abbreviations and symbols of reference. Part One: The Creation of Narnia. 1) The life of C.S. Lewis; 2) The background to the Chronicles of Narnia; 3) Aslan, Narian and orthodoxy; 4) Worldview and Narnia; 5) Literary feature os the Chronicles; 6) Themes, concepts and images in Narnia. Part Two. Abou the Chronicles of Narnia. 7) An overview of the Chronicles of Narnia; 9) The history of Narnia; 10) Other writings of C.S. Lewis in a Narnian context; 11) A who’s who in the making of Narnia. Part Three: The A-Z of Narnia. Appendix: A brief chronology of C.S. Lewis. Notes. Bibliography. Index.

Edwards, Bruce L. 2005. Further up & further in: Understanding C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Contents: Preface: Through the Wardrobe: Our Passport to Narnia. Acknowledgments. 1) Meeting C.S. Lewis: Retelling the Gospel as a Fairy Tale; 2) Finding What You’re Not Looking For: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Chapters 1-3; 3) Turkish Delight and Other Tempting Confections: Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Chapters 4-6; 4) Hospitality Is as Hospitality Does: Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Chapters 7-9; 5) Aslan on the Move: Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Chapters 10-11; 6) Deep Magic Is Never Enough: Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Chapters 14-17. For Further Reading. Study Questions. Endnotes. Index.

Edwards, Bruce L. 2005. Not a tame lion: Unveil Narnia through the eyes of Lucy, Peter, and other characters created by C.S. Lewis. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.

Contents: Dedication. Acknowledgments. Prologue: Discerning the Spiritual World of Narnia; 1) Inkling of Neverland: C.S. Lewis and the Origins of Narnia; 2) Encountering Aslan: The Danger of Goodness; 3) Valor Finds Validation: Reigning with Aslan; 4) Victory over Vanity: Transformations and Revivals: 5) Villainy Meets Viciousness: Witches, Traitors, and Betrayers; 6) Vindication and Valediction: Last Battles, Last Words; Epilogue: After Narnia (Re-enchanting our cosmos; Narnia apologetics; Lewis Redux). Suggested Reading. Study Guide. Notes.

“We most accurately discern the spiritual world of Narnia in the biography of Aslan. If, as some say, the Narnia tales resemble in genre the New Testament Gospels…perhaps Not a Tame Lion can be thought of as a synoptic treatment of Aslan’s character and personality as seen in his encounters with the kingdom under his rule. We come to know him first by watching him relate to others and thereby encounter him ourselves” (xvii).

Ford, Paul F. 1980. Companion to Narnia: A complete, illustrated guide to the themes, characters, and events of C.S. Lewis’s imaginary world. Foreword by Madeleine L’engle. Illustrated by Lorinda Bryan Cauley. San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers.

Contents: List of Illustrations and Maps (21 + 3). Foreword by Madeleine L’Engle. Acknowledgments. Introduction. Using the Companion. The Companion from A to Z. Appendix One: Chronology of the Composition of the Chronicles; Appendix Two: List of Comparative Ages. About the Author.

“The Companion to Narnia has been written for those who know the Chronicles to be good stories and who want to take a friend back with them to point out sights they haven’t seen or want to see again through another pair of exes….Thus Chronicles of Narnia means to help you explore the various strands that Lewis weaves into the fabric of the Chronicles—literary, religious, philosophical, mythopoeic, homely, and personal images—the same fabric out of which our own stories are woven” (xxi).

“Dr. Ford is a Professor of Systematic Theology and Liturgy at St. John’s Seminary. He earned a B. A. in Philosophy, St. John’s Seminary College, Camarillo, a M. A. in Religion, St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, and a Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. He studied for the priesthood for the then diocese of Monterey-Fresno, 1961-1973, but was never ordained. He was a Benedictine monk at St. Andrew’s Abbey, Valyermo, from 1973-1978. Dr. Ford was the first Roman Catholic in the doctoral program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. His primary areas of competence are ecclesiology, spirituality, and music and liturgy; his secondary areas are Mariology and chant.” (From

Gormley, Beatrice. 1998. C.S. Lewis: The man behind Narnia. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

This edition published in 2005 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. The same contents as in Lewis: Christian and Storyteller. (Some photos are different.)

Haverkamp, Heidi. 2015. Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the season. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press

Contents: Introduction. Week One: 1) Through the wardrobe; 2) The lamppost; 3) A great light; 4) Mr. Tummus; 5) Repentance; 6) Turkish delight; 7) The bread of life. Week Two: 8) Lucy; 9) The professor; 10) Becoming like children; 11) Edmund; 12) Keeping awake; 13) The fur coats; 14) Adam and Eve. Week Three: 15) Like a thief; 16) The robin; 17) Angels and messengers; 18) Mr. and Mrs. Beaver; 19) Christmas and Eucharist; 20) The Witch’s house; 21) The house of David. Week Four: 22) Is it safe? 23) Father Christmas; 24) The full armor of God; 25) A tiny feast; 26) God will prepare a feast; 27) Aslan is near; 28) The winter is past. Sessions for Small Group Discussion: A leader’s guide; Session 1: The wardrobe; Session2: The witch; Session 3: Father Christmas; Session 4: The lion. Creating a Narnia Night for Families: Decorations; Activities; Closing prayer service. Appendix A: Movie versions of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Appendix B: An easy recipe for Mrs. Beaver’s sticky marmalade roll. Notes.

Heidi Haverkamp is Vicar of the Episcopal Church of St. Benedict in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Her blog is

Hinten, Marvin D. 2005. The keys to the Chronicles: unlocking the symbols of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. Nashville, TN: Broadman.

Contents: An Introduction: “Further Up and Further In”. 1) Lewis, the Chronicles, Allusions, and Allegory; 2) “Deeper Magic”; Allusions in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; 3) “Old Narnia is True”: Allusions in Prince Caspian; 4) “The Way to Aslan’s Country: Allusions in The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”; 5) “The Healing of Harms” : Allusions in The Silver Chair; 6) “Myself”: Allusions in The Horse and His Boy; 7) “The Founding of Narnia”: Allusions in The Magician’s Nephew; 8) “Further Up and Further In”: Allusions in The Last Battle; 9) Allusions and the Future of Narnia; Appendix A: A Brief Background of C.S. Lewis; Appendix B: What Are Allusions, and How Important Are They?; Appendix C: Dating the Chronicles. Works Cited.

“Portions of this book previously appeared in The Lamp-Post, a C.S. Lewis journal….This book originated with a doctoral dissertation. Bruce [Edwards], as my dissertation director, penciled in helpful notes on virtually every page” (vii).

“[T]he allusion sometimes borrows from the original exactly; more often it takes a portion of the original and alters it or adds to it” (100-101).

Marvin D. Hinten is an English professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.

Karkainen, Paul A. 1979. Narnia explored: The real meaning behind C.S. Lewis’s chronicles of Narnia. Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell.

Contents: Preface. 1) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; 2) Prince Caspian; 3) The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”; 4) The Silver Chair; 5) The Horse and His Boy; 6) The Magician’s Nephew; 7) The Last Battle.

“The purpose of Narnia Explored is to ferret out of the Narnia takes the principle themes, particularly those which reflect Lewis’s Christian viewpoint…..Ideas the Christian has taken for granted or the unbeliever rejects without understanding are revitalized or deepened through his images” (7).

Those he outlines in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe are: allegory and symbolism, the children as disciples, the old house, the great lion, sin and evil, sacrifice and salvation and the gift of Christmas.

In Prince Caspian, Karkainen identifies themes of Medieval Narnia, Soulish beasts, in the Lion’s tracks, the faithful skeptic, the crooked path to nowhere, and the wild awakes.

The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’ reveals the beginning the quest, cleansing the Augean stables, the saga of useless Eustace, the noble mouse, the art of contentment, Aslan’s table and last things.

An outline of The Silver Chair includes: harried into heaven, a drink of water, the cheerful voice of doom, the signs of the times, poison green and the magnitude of evil, archetype and ectype, and the other side.

Themes in The Horse and His Boy are the Tisroc’s realm, a free Narnian in command, to Narnia and the North, and the lion’s claws.

In The Magician’s Nephew we find the call of the occult, the calm before creation, the lion’s song, and the apple of life.

Finally, in book seven, The Last Battle, are summaries called: the great deceit, humility and servility, the sin of despair, the adventure Aslan sends, the cancer of cunning, Tash’s revenge, blindness in Paradise, the sincere seeker, making an end and the holiday begins.

Paul A. Karkainen is a teacher and a longtime fan of Aslan. He lives in Washington State.

Khoddam, Salwa. 2011. Mythopoeic Narnia: Memory, metaphor, and metamorphoses in the chronicles of Narnia. Winged Lion Press.

Contents: Preface. Acknowledgments. Introduction: Towards a Definition of C.S. Lewis’s Mythopoeic Aesthetics; 1) The Roles of Memory, Metaphor, and Metamorphoses in Lewis’s Mythopoeia; 2) Light and Sun Iconography in Narnia; 3) Mnemosyne in Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair; 4) Satanic Cities in Narnia: Charn, the Castle of Ice, and Underland; 5) A Tale of Two Cities of Man: Tashbaan and Anvard in The Horse and His Boy; 6) The City of God: Cair Paravel in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; 7) The Gardens in Narnia; 8) The Sea-Serpent, the Ship, and Bifurcated Sea in The Voyage of the Dawn Trader; 9) The Narnian Apocalypse in The Last Battle; 10) Ovide Moralisée in Narnia: Metamorphoses and Thêosis. Conclusion. Works Cited. Index.

“This book is primarily an attempt to secure a well-deserved place for C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia in the history of the Western Imagination as product of the confluence of the classics and Christianity….The stories are a literary, and subtle form of what he had reiterated in his Broadcast Talks…and other apologetic and literary works (assuming one can separate the two), that the purpose of life is to live in imitation of Christ….” (i)

Salwa Khoddam, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of English at Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City.

Kopp, Heather and David Kopp. Illustrated by Martin French. 2005. Roar! A Christian family guide to the Chronicles of Narnia. Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers.

Contents: Part 1: Tell me more about Roar! Part 2: Let’s talk about the Chronicles: Book One: The Magician’s Nephew: 1) The wrong door; 2) Digory and his uncle; 3) The wood between the worlds; 4) The bell and the hammer; 5) The deplorable word; 6) The beginning of uncle Andrew’s troubles; 7) What happened at the front door? 8) The fight at the lamp-post; 9) The founding of Narnia; 10) The first joke and other matters; 11) Digory and his uncle are both in trouble; 12) Strawberry’s adventure; 13) An unexpected meeting; 14) The planting of the tree; 15) The ending of this story and the beginning of all others. Book Two: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: 1) Lucy looks into a wardrobe; 2) What Lucy found there; 3) Edmund and the wardrobe; 4) Turkish delight; 5) Back on this side of the door; 6) Into the forest; 7) A day with the beavers; 8) What happened after diner; 9) In the witch’s house; 10) The spell begins to break; 11) Aslan is nearer; 12) Peter’s first battle; 13) Deep magic from the dawn of time; 14) The triumph of the witch; 15) Deeper magic from before the dawn of time; 16) What happened about the statues; 17) The hunting of the white stag. Book Three: The Horse and His Boy: 1) How Shasta set out on his travels; 2) A wayside adventure; 3) At the gates of Taasbaan; 4) Shasta falls in with the Narnians; 5) Prince Corin; 6) Shasta among the tombs; 7) Aravis in Tashbaan; 8) In the house of Tisroc; 9) Across the desert; 10) The hermit of the southern march; 11) The unwelcome fellow traveler; 12) Shasta in Narnia; 13) The fight at Anvard; 14) How Bree became a wiser horse; 15) Rabadash the ridiculous. Book Four: Prince Caspian: 1) The island; 2) The ancient treasure house; 3) The dwarf; 4) The dwarf tells of Prince Caspian; 5) Caspian’s adventures on the mountains; 6) The people that lived in hiding; 7) Old Narnia in danger; 8) How they left the island; 9) What Lucy saw; 10) The return of the lion; 11) The lion roars; 12) Sorcery and sudden vengeance; 13) The high king in command; 14) How all were very busy; 15) Aslan makes a door in the air. Book Five: Voyage of the Dawn Treader: 1) The picture in the bedroom; 2) On board the Dawn Treader; 3) The lonely islands; 4) What Caspian did there; 5) The storm and what came of it; 6) The adventures of Eustace; 7) How the adventure ended; 8) Two narrow escapes; 9) The island of the voices; 10) The magician’s book; 11) The Dufflepuds made happy; 12) The dark island; 13) The three sleepers; 14) The beginning of the end of the world; 15) The wonders of the Last Sea; 16) The very end of the world. Book Six: The Silver Chair: 1) Behind the gym; 2) Jill is given a task; 3) The sailing of the king; 4) A parliament of owls; 5) Puddleglum; 6) The wild wastelands of the north; 7) The hill of the strange trenches; 8) The house of Harfang; 9) How they discovered something worth knowing; 10) Travels without the sun; 11) In the Dark Castle; 12) The queen of Underland; 13) Underland without the queen; 14) The bottom of the world; 15) The disappearance of Jill; 16) The healing of Harms. Book Seven: The Last Battle: 1) The Caldron Pool; 2) The rashness of the king; 3) The ape in its glory; 4) What happened that night; 5) How help came to the king; 6) A good night’s work; 7) Mainly about dwarfs; 8) What news the eagle brought; 9) The great meeting on Stable Hill; 19) Who will go into the stable? 11) The pace quickens; 12) Through the stable door; 13) How the dwarfs refused to be taken in; 14) Night falls on Narnia; 15) Further up and further in; 16) Farewell to Shadowlands. Part Three: Final Exams for Narnians: Narniac final exams; Narniace final exam for little ones; Blow the horn for help: Hints for Narniac final exam, Parts 1,4,6, and 8. Part Four: Leading the way into Narnia. A) What C.S. Lewis really believed by Marcus Brotherton; b) The literary bloke by J.I. Packer; c) The meaning of magic in Narnia by Marcus Brotherton; d) Who said anything about safe? by Mark Buchanan; e) Seeing through the mist by Erin Healy; f) Unicorns, myth and mystery by Erin Healy; g) Just say “Boo”! by Laurie Winslow Sargent with David Kopp; h) Mercy! How the wine doth flow in Narnia by Laurie Winslow Sargent with David Kopp; i) Color & culture in Narnia by Marcus Brotherton; j) Riding the light by Kristen Johnson Ingram. Part 5: Roar! Fact files: a) The official Roar! guide to what happened when in Narnia; b) Glossary of difficult and unusual words; c) Index of characters and creatures; d) Index of places in Narnia; e) Index of Bible allusions and parallels; f) All the answers to all the questions (for Part Two plus the Narniac final exams); g) Sources for Part 4 essays: g) Resources for Narniacs; h) About our contributors; i) Acknowledgments; j) Authors and illustrator; k) All about

Manlove, C.N. 1993. The chronicles of Narnia: The patterning of a fantastic world. New York: Twayne.

Contents: Illustrations. Note on the References and Acknowledgments. Chronology: C.S. Lewis’s Life and Works. Literary and Historical Context: 1) Historical Context; 2) The Importance of the Chronicles; 3) Critical Reception. A Reading of the Chronicles. 4) Introduction; 5) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; 6) Prince Caspian; 7) The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”; 8) The Silver Chair; 9) The Horse and His Boy; 10) The Magician’s Nephew; 11) The Last Battle; 12) Conclusion. Approaches to Teaching: Discussion topics for children; Use of sources for comparison; Passages to read out load; Sections to act out. Notes and Reference. Selected bibliography. Index.

Colin Manlove is Reader in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Miller, Laura. 2008. The magician’s book” A skeptic’s adventures in Narnia. New York: Little, Brown and Co.

Contents: Introduction. A Note on the Order of the Chronicles of Narnia. Part One: Songs of Innocence: 1) The Light in the Forest; 2) Animal-Land; 3) The Secret Garden; 4) Boxcar children’ 5) Something Wicked This Way Comes; 6) Little House in the Big Woods; 7) Through the Looking-Glass. Part Two: Trouble in Paradise: 8) Forests and Trees; 9) The Awful Truth; 10) Required Reading; 11) Garlic and Onions; 12) Girl Trouble; 13) Blood Will Out; 14) Arrows of Desire; 15) The Other Way In. Part Three: Songs of Experience: 16) Castlereagh Hills; 17) The Far Country; 18) Northern Lights; 19) The Builder and the Dreamer; 20) The Second Love; 21) Marvelous Journeys; 22) A Too Impressionable Man; 23) The Old Religion; 24) Riches All About You; 25) The Third Road; 26) A Formula of Power over Living Men; 27) Further Up and Further In. Acknowledgments. Index.

“I’d been raised as a Catholic, but what faith I’d had was never based on anything more than the fact that children tend to believe whatever adults tell them. As soon as I acquired any independence of though, I drifted away from the Church and what I saw as its endless proscription and requirements, its guild-mongering and tedious rituals” (6).

“I am no longer young and I can’t read the Chronicles the way I once did, with the same absolute belief. Some of what I find there still moves me profoundly, but other bits now grate and disturb….I wouldn’t have much liked the man who wrote them, despite the proselytizing that most adults assume is their only real content” (15).

“Laura Miller is a journalist and critic living in New York. She is a co-founder of, where she is currently [2014] a staff writer, and a contributor to the New York Times Book Review, where she wrote the Last Word column for two years. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and other publications.” (From Amazon)

Rigney, Joe. 2013. Live like a Narnian: Christian discipleship in Lewis’s chronicles. Eyes and Pen Press. [Sample on my Kindle]

Contents: Acknowledgments. A Word to the Reader. Introduction: Learning to Breath Narnian Air: Discipleship and the Shaping Power of Stories. 1) Deep Magic, and Deeper: The Moral Law and Sacrificial Love; 2) The Witch’s War on Joy: Why Christmas, Feasts, and Spring’s
Arrival Really Matter; 3) We Will Be Who We Are Becoming: Our Direction Determines Our Destination’ 4) Trumpkin’s Surprising Obedience: The Difference between Giving Advice and Taking Orders; 5) The Lost Art of Chivalry: Recovering the Virtues of Ferocity and Meekness; 6) The Folly of Nothing-Buttery: There’s Always More Than Meets the Eye; 7) After Darkness, Light: Seeing Everything by the Light of the Lion; 8) Parents, Educats, and Bureaucrats: Lewis’s Subtle Assault on Progressivism; 9) Breaking Enchantments with Burnt Marshwiggle: Defending the Faith against Modern Fables; 10) Shasta’s Hard Lesson: Receiving the Reward for a Job Well Done; 11) A Society of Self-Regard: Learning to Whistle Like a Humble Narnian; 12) The Heart of the Laughing King: Learning from Lune What it Means to Be a Man; 13) Tell Me Your Sorrows: Pursuing Healing through Happy Endings; 14) A High and Lonely Destiny; 15) Tirian’s Trials and Tragedy: Enduring Deep Doubt and the Soul’s Dark Night.

“In Live Like a Narnian Joe Rigney shows that Owen Barfield was right–What C.S. Lewis thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything. From apologetics to his thoughts on education, from his view of science to the role of government, from Natural Law to true manhood and womanhood–the breadth of Lewis’s bright vision of life shines through in his beloved Chronicles. Come, learn to breathe Narnian air.” (From Amazon)

Joe Rigney is a professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary.

Robinson, Nigel. 2005. The unofficial Narnia quizbook: 1000 questions and answers about C.S. Lewis’s enchanted land. NY: Gramercy Books.

Contents: 50 titled questions, covering the Chronicles and their characters followed by 50 titled answers.

“The thousand questions in The Unofficial Narnia Quizbook are designed to test your knowledge not just of Lucy’s adventures in Narnia, but of the whole history of Narnia and of all the other children from our world who were called there by Aslan” (ix).

“Nigel Robinson is a freelance writer and the author of sixty-eight published novels, non-fiction books, and RV and movie tie-ins.” (From the dust jacket)

Rogers, Jonathan. 2009. The Word, the Name, the Blood: Christian meaning in C.S. Lewis’s beloved chronicles. FaithWords.

Contents: Copyright. Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1) Reality you could not have guessed: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; 2) Myth become fact: Prince Caspian; 3) Finding self, forgetting self: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; 4) Remembering the signs: The Silver Chair; 5) Up from slavery: The Horse and His Boy; 6) Adventurer and magician: The Magician’s Nephew; 7) Further Up and Further In: The Last Battle. Notes. Bibliography.

“Instead of giving you a lecture on the importance of staying warm, Lewis build a fire and says, “Here—feel this.” You can hardly help but love Aslan for the things he says and does. You can hardly help but desire what’s good and right and true. You can hardly help but feel that a life of virtue is an adventure you wouldn’t want to miss.” (From Amazon)

Roller, Julia L., ed. 2010. A Year with Aslan: Daily reflections from The Chronicles of Narnia. New York, NY: HarperOne

“In the tradition of A Year with C.S. Lewis, get your daily dose of inspiration from this one-of-a-kind devotional collecting 365 readings from the beloved Chronicles of Narnia. C.S. Lewis channeled his profound spiritual understanding into The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and the other books in his seminal fantasy series. This enthralling anthology (with lavish illustrations by Pauline Baynes) is the perfect gift for fans of the beloved children’s books, and a peerless set of meditations for anyone looking to step through that secret door to their own world of devotion.” (From Amazon)

Ryken, Leland and Marjorie Lamp Mead. 2005. A reader’s guide to Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C.S. Lewis’s Classic Story. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Contents: Introduction. Part 1: A guided tour of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 1) Lucy looks into a wardrobe: How the story begins; 2) What Lucy found there: Discovering more about the strange world; 3) Edmond and the wardrobe: Characterization; 4) Turkish delight: Archetypes; 5) Back on this side of the door: How it feels to be normal; 6) Into the forest: Worldmaking and the Storyteller’s art; 7) A day with the beavers: The good place motif; 8) What happened after dinner: Images of good; 9) In the witch’s house: Images of evil; 10) The spell begins to break: What readers like best in a story; 11) Aslan is nearer: The dynamics of the plot; 12) Peter’s first battle: The Romance genre; 13) Deep magic from the dawn of time: The uses of magic; 14) The triumph of the witch: Parallels to the passion story; 15) Deeper magic than before the dawn of time: The genre of fairy tale; 16) What happened about the statues: The role of myth; 17) The hunting of the white stag: The happy ending as narrative pattern and spiritual reality; 18) Retrospect: Putting it all together. Photo Section. Part 2: Narnian Backgrounds. 19) How the Narnian books came to be; 20) Receptive history of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; 21) The Christian version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; 22) A brief biography of C.S. Lewis. Appendix: What is the correct order in which to read the Chronicles of Narnia? Recommended reading list. Notes. Acknowledgements and permissions. Index.

Ryken, Leland and Marjorie Lamp Mead. 2008. A reader’s guide to Caspian: A journey into C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Contents: Preface. Introduction. Part I: A Guided Tour of Prince Caspian: 1) The Island: How Lewis Decided to Begin His Story; 2) The Ancient Treasure House: A Discovery Story; 3) The Dwarf: Plot, Setting and Character as a Narrative Harmony; 4) The Dwarf Tells of Prince Caspian: The Device of Flashback; 5) Caspian’s Adventure in the Mountains: Escape and Rescue; 6) The People That Lived in Hiding: Travelogue; 7) Old Narnia in Danger: Preparation for Battle; 8) How They Left the Island: Preparation for Mission: 9) What Lucy Saw: Another Perilous Journey; 10) The Return of the Lion: A Fairy Story and More; 11) The Lion Roars: Epiphany; 12) Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance; Evil Council Convened; 13) The High King in Command: Challenge to Single Combat; 14) How All Were Very Busy: Conquest Story; 15) Aslan Makes a Door in the Air: Denouement. Part 2. Caspian Backgrounds: 16) Are the Narnian Stories Allegorical? 17) The Christian Vision of Prince Caspian 18) Contemporary Review of Prince Caspian; 19) The Critics Comment on Prince Caspian; 20) A Brief Biography of C.S. Lewis. Appendix A: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The Movie; Appendix B: Using the Guide with Reading Groups; Appendix C: Using This Guide with Home School Students; Appendix D: Pauline Baynes’s Illustrations of Prince Caspian. Recommended Reading List. Notes. Acknowledgments and Permissions. Index.

“This guidebook has two basic purposes—to introduce C.S. Lewis’s Price Caspian and to give readers some assistance in the basic principles of reading literature” (10).

Leland Ryden (Ph.D., University of Oregon) is Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois; Marjorie Lamp Mead has been associate director of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College since 1977.

Sammons, Martha C. 2004. A guide through Narnia. Revised and expanded edition. Vancouver, British Columbia: Regent College Publishing.

Contents: Acknowledgements. Introduction. Seeing Pictures: The creation of the Chronicles; Summary of the Chronicles and events; Other versions and resources. Selecting the Ideal Form: Fairy tales; Style; Narrative. Seeing Man as Hero: Sons of Adam and daughters of Eve; The role of humans. Stealing Past Dragons: Myth; Allegory; Supposition: Aslan; Creation; The tree and garden; Evil; Sacrifice and resurrection; Salvation. Stepping Through the Door: Longing; Writer as creator; Dream and reality; Platonism; Stable door; Aslan’s country; The happy ending. Appendix. Dictionary of names and places in the Chronicles of Narnia. Bibliography. Index.

“A Guide Through Narnia was one of the first in-depth studies of C.S. Lewis’s seven Chronicles of Narnia. The focus and organization of this revised and expanded edition is on why Lewis wrote the books as fairy tales, the best “Form” for his ideas. It is written for both students and scholars who want to expand their understanding of these popular classics.” (From Amazon)

Schakel, Peter J. 2005. The way into Narnia: A reader’s guide. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

The Chronicles: The Author and the Books: 1) The Story-maker and His Stories (2-12); 2) Controversies over Texts and Reading Order (13-21). The Chronicles as Fairy Tales: 3) The Storytelling: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, and Myth; 4) Magic and Meaning in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (39-49); 5) Believing and Seeing in Prince Caspian (50-59); 6) Longing and Learning in The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader” (60-70); 7) Freedom and Obedience in The Silver Chair (71-81); 8) Place and Personal Identity in The Horse and His Boy (82-93); 9) Endings and Beginnings in The Magician’s Nephew (94-102); 10) Endings and Transcendings in The Last Battle (103-113); 11) The Stories Told: Fairyland and Its Effects (114-118); The Chronicles: Annotations (121-162); Sources and Notes (163-194); Further Reading (195-198);

“This book reuses some material from those earlier [Narnia] studies, but it is a new book in approach, emphasis, and insights. Its unifying theme is that the best way to enter Narnia is to read the Chronicles as fairy tales. This book brings out the influence on the Chronicle of the ideas about Faërie developed by Lewis’s friend J.R.R. Tolkien in his essay ‘On Fairy-Stories’” (ix).

Smith, Mark Eddy. 2005. Aslan’s call: Finding our way to Narnia. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Contents: Abbreviations. Introduction. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver chair; The Horse and His Boy; The Magician’s Nephew; The Last Battle. Afterword. Reflection and Discussion Questions. Editions Used.

“C.S. Lewis has created a wonderful place, a place where anything can happen. Even the stones can talk. In Aslan’s Call Mark Eddy Smith shows us how—in this fanciful world—we discover the truest reality. In the children who travel to Narnia we find ourselves. In Aslan we find Christ. And in the place of Narnia we find the very adventure for which God made us. We begin with the journey, and it is the journey that shapes us.” (From the back cover)

A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Mark Eddy Smith is graphic designer at InterVarsity Press.

Vaus, Will. 2010. The hidden story of Narnia: A book-by-book guide to C.S. Lewis’ spiritual themes. Cheshire, CT: Winged Lion Press.

Contents: Preface. Introduction. I) The Magicians Nephew, Creation & Fall; II) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Crucifixion & Resurrection; III) The Horse and His Boy, Calling & Conversion; IV) Prince Caspian, Restoring True Religion after a Corruption; V) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Spiritual Life; VI) The Silver Chair, War against the Powers of Darkness; VII) The Last Battle, The Coming of the Antichrist, the End of the World, and the Last Judgment. Conclusion: How to Live Like a Narnian. Bibliography. Index. Acknowledgments.

“In a number of Lewis’ letters he comments on how children almost always recognize who Aslan is, whereas grown-ups seldom do. However, this book is written for people of all ages who have read the Narnia books and want to understand more of the hidden story behind them all. What I attempt to do in this book is to share with the reader the correspondences I see between Narnia and certain spiritual and biblical themes in our world, as well as demonstrating the connection between what Lewis wrote in the Narnia books and what he wrote elsewhere” (5).

Velarde, Robert. 2008. The heart of Narnia: Wisdom, virtue and life lessons from the Classic Chronicles. Colorado Springs, CO: NAVPRESS. Previously published as The Lion, The Witch and the Bible.

Contents: Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1) Good and evil in Narnia; 2) Courage and cowardice; 3) Fairness and unfairness; 4) Honesty and dishonesty; 5) Mercy and cruelty; 6) Peace and war; 7) Humility and pride; 8) Repentance and unrepentance. Conclusion. Appendix: Chronicles of Narnia plot summaries. Notes. About the author: “[A former atheist], Robert Velarde is a writer and editor for Sonlight Curriculum. He is the author of The Heart of Narnia (NavPress, 2008), Inside the Screwtape Letters (Baker, forthcoming), The Power of Family Prayer (National Day of Prayer, 1999), The Lion, the Witch and the Bible (NavPress, 2005) and Examining Alternative Medicine (InterVarsity Press, 2001). A former editor for Focus on the Family, he received his M.A. in Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary.” (From

Wagner, Richard. 2005. C.S. Lewis & Narnia for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Co.

Contents at a Glance: Part 1: C.S. Lewis: Christian Apologist and Storyteller; Part II: All Things Narnia: Voyaging to the World of Aslan; Part III: Tell Me More Stories: Lewis’s Other Novels and Fantasies; Part IV: Getting Real: Discovering Lewis’s Nonfiction; Part V: The Part of the Tens; Appendix: Complete List of the Works by C.S. Lewis; Index. (The main Table of Contents is detailed and covers over 9 pages.) “Richard Wagner is the author of Christianity for Dummies and Christian Prayer for Dummies. He has been an avid student of C.S. Lewis’s works for more than 20 years and has let discussion groups on his writings.” (From the back cover)

Ward, Michael. : 2008. Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the imagination of C.S. Lewis. Oxford University Press.

Contents: 1) Silence; 2) The Planets; 3) Jupiter; 4) Mars; 5) Sol; 6) Luna; 7) Mercury; 8) Venus; 9) Saturn; 10) Primuum Mobile; 11) The Music of the Spheres; 12) Coda. List of Abbreviations. Notes. Bibliography. General Index. Biblical Index. Drawing on the whole range of Lewis’s writings…Ward reveals how the Narnia stories were designed to express the characteristics of the seven medieval planets…which Lewis described as ‘spiritual symbols of permanent value’ and ‘especially worthwhile in our own generation’.

Planet Narnia is a ground-breaking study that will provoke a major revaluation not only of the Chronicles but of Lewis’s whole literary and theological outlook. Ward uncovers a much subtler writer and thinker than has previously been recognized, one whose central interests were hiddenness, immanence, and knowledge by acquaintance.” (From the dust jacket)

Michael Ward is Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars, Oxford and Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University. His Ph.D. is in Divinity from the University of St Andrews.

Williams, Rowan D. 2013. The lion’s world: A journey into the heart of Narnia. NY: Oxford University Press.

Contents: Preface. Introduction. 1) The point of Narnia; 2) Narnia and its critics; 3) Not a tame lion; 4) No story but your own; 5) The silent gaze of truth; e6) Bigger inside than outside. Conclusion. Notes. “…Lewis is trying to recreate for the reader what it is like to encounter and believe in God” (16). “In Narnia, you may be on precisely the same spiritual level as a badger or a mouse” (21).

“Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams offers fascinating insight into The Chronicles of Narnia, the popular series of novels by one of the most influential Christian authors of the modern era, C. S. Lewis. Lewis once referred to certain kinds of book as a “mouthwash for the imagination.” This is what he attempted to provide in the Narnia stories, argues Williams: an unfamiliar world in which we could rinse out what is stale in our thinking about Christianity–“which is almost everything,” says Williams–and rediscover what it might mean to meet the holy. Indeed, Lewis’s great achievement in the Narnia books is just that-he enables readers to encounter the Christian story “as if for the first time.” How does Lewis makes fresh and strange the familiar themes of Christian doctrine? Williams points out that, for one, Narnia itself is a strange place: a parallel universe, if you like. There is no “church” in Narnia, no religion even. The interaction between Aslan as a “divine” figure and the inhabitants of this world is something that is worked out in the routines of life itself. Moreover, we are made to see humanity in a fresh perspective, the pride or arrogance of the human spirit is chastened by the revelation that, in Narnia, you may be on precisely the same spiritual level as a badger or a mouse. It is through these imaginative dislocations that Lewis is able to communicate–to a world that thinks it knows what faith is–the character, the feel, of a real experience of surrender in the face of absolute incarnate love.” (From Amazon)

Williams, Thomas M. 2005. The heart of the Chronicles of Narnia: Knowing God here by finding Him there. Nashville: W Publishing Group.

Contents: Preface: Not a puzzle, but a flower. Introduction: The world of the wardrobe: The Narnia phenomenon. Part I: The Story of Narnia: 1) Not a tame lion: The truth about God; 2) The song of Aslan: The creation of Narnia; 3) Mammals, mountains and muffins: The pleasures and wonders of creation; 4) Bad magic: The invasion of evil; 5) Turkish delight: Temptation and sin; 6) Deep magic before time: The defeat of death; 7) Romping with the lion: Fun, happiness, and joy. Part 2: Living like a Narnian. 8) Slaying the dragon inside: Kicking the sin habit; 9) Follow the signs: Knowing God’s will and doing it; 10) Asking Aslan: The puzzle of prayer; 11) Aslan on the move: The mystery of providence; 12) Flying your flag: The committed company; 13) The blind dwarfs: Faith and sight. Part 3: The end and the beginning. 14) Beyond the Shadowlands: The supernatural parallel world; 15) Further up and further in: A glimpse into heaven; 16) Longing for Aslan: The object of all desire. Afterword. Discussion guide. Notes.

In the C.S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia, an entry by Paul Ford (“The Chronicles of Narnia,” 121-122) reiterates that Lewis claimed that his stories began with pictures or dreams and were not allegories as such.

Lewis wrote to a young reader that he had not planned the series as such, but that one book led to another. The chronology of writing is not the same as the events, but this should not matter—which readers should keep in mind.


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