God in the Dock

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Overview

"Lewis struck me as the most thoroughly converted man I ever met," observes Walter Hooper in the preface to this collection of essays by C. S. Lewis. "His whole vision of life was such that the natural and the supernatural seemed inseparably combined."

It is precisely this pervasive Christianity which is demonstrated in the 48 essays comprising God in the Dock. Here Lewis addresses himself both to theological questions and to those which Hooper terms "semi-theological," or ethical. But whether he is discussing "Evil and God," "Miracles," "The Decline of Religion," or "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment," his insight and observations are thoroughly and profoundly Christian.

Drawn from a variety of sources, the essays were designed to meet a variety of needs, and among other accomplishments they serve to illustrate the many different angles from which we are able to view the Christian religion. They range from relatively popular pieces written for newspapers to more learned defenses of the faith which first appeared in The Socratic Digest. Characterized by Lewis's honesty and realism, his insight and conviction, and above all his thoroughgoing commitments to Christianity, these essays make God in the Dock very much a book for our time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
-- The New York Times
"Here the reader finds the tough-minded polemicist relishing the debate; here too the kindly teacher explaining a complex abstraction by means of clarifying analogies; here the public speaker addressing his varied audience with all the humility and grace of a man who knows how much more remains to be known."

-- Christianity Today
"For those who know little of C. S. Lewis or his ideas, this book is a good introduction. . . . God in the Dock contains some of the best of Lewis's witty apologetics. And for those who have long known and loved the writings of Lewis, this volume is a welcome addition."

-- Commonweal
"Takes us on a journey that is thoroughly entrancing. . . . A model of solid common sense and imaginativeness, of balance and ingeniousness, of artistry and coherence."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802808684
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/28/1972
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 346
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) taught English literature at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities and wrote more than thirty influential scholarly and popular books. Among his many famous works are Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, the Chronicles of Narnia volumes, Miracles, and Surprised by Joy.

Biography

C. S. Lewis was famous both as a fiction writer and as a Christian thinker, and his biographers and critics sometimes divide his personality in two: the storyteller and the moral educator, the "dreamer" and the "mentor." Yet a large part of Lewis's appeal, for both his audiences, lay in his ability to fuse imagination with instruction. "Let the pictures tell you their own moral," he once advised writers of children's stories. "But if they don't show you any moral, don't put one in. ... The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author's mind."

Storytelling came naturally to Lewis, who spent the rainy days of his childhood in Ireland writing about an imaginary world he called Boxen. His first published novel, Out of the Silent Planet, tells the story of a journey to Mars; its hero was loosely modeled on his friend and fellow Cambridge scholar J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis enjoyed some popularity for his Space Trilogy (which continues in Perelandra and That Hideous Strength), but nothing compared to that which greeted his next imaginative journey, to an invented world of fauns, dwarfs, and talking animals -- a world now familiar to millions of readers as Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of the seven-volume Chronicles of Narnia, began as "a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood," according to Lewis. Years after that image first formed in his mind, others bubbled up to join it, producing what Kate Jackson, writing in Salon, called "a fascinating attempt to compress an almost druidic reverence for wild nature, Arthurian romance, Germanic folklore, the courtly poetry of Renaissance England and the fantastic beasts of Greek and Norse mythology into an entirely reimagined version of what's tritely called 'the greatest story ever told.'"

The Chronicles of Narnia was for decades the world's bestselling fantasy series for children. Although it was eventually superseded by Harry Potter, the series still holds a firm place in children's literature and the culture at large. (Narnia even crops up as a motif in Jonathan Franzen's 2001 novel The Corrections). Its last volume appeared in 1955; in that same year, Lewis published a personal account of his religious conversion in Surprised by Joy. The autobiography joined his other nonfiction books, including Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce, as an exploration of faith, joy and the meaning of human existence.

Lewis's final work of fiction, Till We Have Faces, came out in 1956. Its chilly critical reception and poor early sales disappointed Lewis, but the book's reputation has slowly grown; Lionel Adey called it the "wisest and best" of Lewis's stories for adults. Lewis continued to write about Christianity, as well as literature and literary criticism, for several more years. After his death in 1963, The New Yorker opined, "If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels."

Good To Know

The imposing wardrobe Lewis and his brother played in as children is now in Wheaton, Illinois, at the Wade Center of Wheaton College, which also houses the world's largest collection of Lewis-related documents, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The 1994 movie, Shadowlands, based on the play of the same name, cast Anthony Hopkins as Lewis. It tells the story of his friendship with, and then marriage to, an American divorcee named Joy Davidman (played by Debra Winger), who died of cancer four years after their marriage. Lewis's own book about coping with that loss, A Grief Observed, was initially published under the pseudonym N. W. Clerk.

Several poems, stories, and a novel fragment published after Lewis's death have come under scrutiny as possible forgeries. On one side of the controversy is Walter Hooper, a trustee of Lewis's estate and editor of most of his posthumous works; on the other is Kathryn Lindskoog, a Lewis scholar who began publicizing her suspicions in 1988. Scandal or kooky conspiracy theory? The verdict's still out among readers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Clive Staples Lewis (real name); Clive Hamilton, N.W. Clerk, Nat Whilk; called "Jack" by his friends
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 29, 1898
    2. Place of Birth:
      Belfast, Nothern Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      November 22, 1963
    2. Place of Death:
      Headington, England

Table of Contents

Preface by Walter Hooper

PART I

  1. Evil and God
  2. Miracles
  3. Dogma and the Universe
  4. Answers to Questions on Christianity
  5. Myth Became Fact
  6. 'Horrid Red Things'
  7. Religion and Science
  8. The Laws of Nature
  9. The Grand Miracle
  10. Christian Apologetics
  11. Work and Prayer
  12. Man or Rabbit?
  13. On the Transmission of Christianity
  14. 'Miserable Offenders'
  15. The Founding of the Oxford Socratic Club
  16. Religion without Dogma?
  17. Some Thoughts
  18. 'The Trouble with "X"...'
  19. What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?
  20. The Pains of Animals
  21. Is Theism Important?
  22. Rejoinder to Dr Pittenger
  23. Must Our Image of God Go?

PART II

  1. Dangers of National Repentance
  2. Two Ways with the Self
  3. Meditation on the Third Commandment
  4. On the Reading of Old Books
  5. Two Lectures
  6. Meditation in a Toolshed
  7. Scraps
  8. The Decline of Religion
  9. Vivisection
  10. Modern Translations of the Bible
  11. Priestesses in the Church?
  12. God in the Dock
  13. Behind the Scenes
  14. Revival or Decay?
  15. Before We Can Communicate
  16. Cross-Examination

PART III

  1. 'Bulverism'
  2. First and Second Things
  3. The Sermon and the Lunch
  4. The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment
  5. Xmas and Christmas
  6. What Christmas Means to Me
  7. Delinquents in the Snow
  8. Is Progress Possible?
  9. We Have No 'Right to Happiness'

PART IV

Letters
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2003

    Meditation in a toolshed and more

    it would be hard to try and give a review on this book as a whole without writing at least 7-8 pages worth of praise, so im only going to say that i enjoyed it more then anyother book by C.S. Lewis i have read to date (and i enjoy all his books very much), and im going to make mention of one of my favorite essays in the book: Meditation in a tool shed. this is in some of the other books which are collections of his essays and it is rad. a lot of deep thought that you learn to expect from C.S. Lewis, and a must read for any fan of philosophy and theology.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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