"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."  
--C.S. Lewis, "Is Theology Poetry?"

Welcome to PHIL 489:  Philosophical Themes in C.S. Lewis.  

Below is some basic information about Lewis and this course.  

Go here if you are interested in learning more about me and the sort of research and teaching I do.

Go here to see an old syllabus (used for a previous version of the course).  This is not the official or final syllabus.  I provide it here only to to provide a sense for what the course might look like.

A few facts about C.S. Lewis: 

Lewis was born in 1898 and died in 1963.  Since his death, he has become one of the most influential and important religious writers of the 20th century.  In 2000, his Mere Christianity was voted the best book of the twentieth century by Christianity Today.  In 2008, Lewis was ranked 11th by The Times in "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.  And, in 2013, at the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis was honored with a memorial in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.  After being first trained as a philosopher, Lewis went on to teach Medieval and English literature at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.  His influence is far from waning.  His books continue to sell by the millions, and there is a regular stream of scholarly books and articles on his life and work.  

A few facts about the course:

  • This is a reading intensive course.  You will be expected to read 8-10 non-fiction books by and about Lewis.  See the draft syllabus for a list of required books and for a description of the research project you will carry out.
  • To enroll, look for the following course in Howdy:  PHIL 489.500 SPTP:  PHIL THEMES IN C.S. LEWIS
  • The course will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:40 to 10:55am in YMCA 109

This course will explore a number of philosophical themes in Lewis: 

  • the relationship(s) between reason, science, imagination, and faith;
  • the evidence and arguments for and against the existence of God;
  • the rationality of belief in miracles;
  • the relationship between God and morality;
  • the nature of love;
  • and the nature, value, cosmic-significance, and ultimate destiny of human persons. 

We will focus on Lewis’s non-fiction work, but with an eye to how important philosophical ideas find expression in his fiction and poetry.

If you are interested in this course, please register asap because it will fill up fast. 

If you have enrolled in the course and want to get started on the reading, I suggest that you begin with the following books, in this order:

  • Surprised by Joy, by C.S. Lewis
  • C. S. Lewis -- A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, by Alister McGrath
  • The Weight of Glory, by C.S. Lewis (a collection of his most important essays).
  • A Grief Observedby C.S. Lewis