Academic Programs 
      

America’s Most Popular Theologian:  Exploring the World of C.S. Lewis
(TH-678)

Summer 2008


C. S. Lewis has been referred to as the twentieth century’s most celebrated Christian apologist. His writings have touched millions of readers, and his much-loved Chronicles of Narnia have captured audiences young and old, both in print and film. His scholarly and religious writings have impressed audiences for over half a century. Less well-known, yet equally as engaging and mythic, is his space trilogy in which Lewis creates a new world and an ecclesiology as well as an anthropology to guide it. As with many of his writings, the trilogy stands as a compelling allegory for the Christian story and imbues Christian myth with new imaginative power.

This course will explore the theology of C.S. Lewis as expressed in his fiction and non-fiction works. Placing selected writings in the context of his life, we explore his theology, apologetics and allegory.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
June 16-20, 2008, 9am-4pm

Ben Brockman & Christy Lohr

Contact Information:
phone: 

email:brockben@aol.com or clohr@hartsem.edu

 

Course Syllabus



AIMS OF COURSE:

  • become familiar with Lewis’ theology and his impact on modern Christianity
  • use the Lewis’ fiction and non-fiction writings as a window to illuminate Christian doctrine
  • understand the unique religious, intellectual, biographical, historical, and mystical currents in Lewis’ writings

COURSE TEXTS:

Required reading--all by C.S. Lewis

The Great Divorce
A Grief Observed
That Hideous Strength
The Last Battle
Mere Christianity
Til We Have Faces

Recommended
C.S. Lewis

Surprised by Joy (autobiography)
Reflections on the Psalms, chapts. 2 & 3 (“Judgment” and “The Cursings”)
The Discarded Image

Secondary Sources
A.N. Wilson, C.S. Lewis: A Biography
Gilbert Meilaender, The Taste for the Other: The Social and Ethical Thought of C.S. Lewis
Apuleius, the “Cupid & Psyche” chapter in The Golden Ass
Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, any translation
Will Vaus, Mere Theology. A guide to the Thought of C.S. Lewis
Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis. A Complete Guide to His Life and Works.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:
Reading: Because the course is so compressed and designed around conversations on the readings, students are expected to read assigned texts prior to the course.

Attendance: It is assumed that students have much information and experience to share; they are therefore expected to be present in class and participate actively in discussions, in an atmosphere of a shared pursuit of understanding.

Writing Assignments:
One four-page book review also to be presented in class of a substantial secondary work on Lewis (due by the final day of the course). Presentations will be scheduled the first day of class.
One twenty-page paper related to Lewis’ life, theology, writing or historical context due by August 15, 2008. Final papers submitted by Ph.D. candidates should be of a quality suitable for publication, written with submission to a scholarly journal in mind.

Ph.D. candidates will also be required to submit book notes on each of the required texts.

Paper Guidelines
Students are encouraged to consult the Seminary’s on-line writing resources and should follow the General Guidelines for a Research Paper available in the student resources section of www.hartsem.edu. Papers may be submitted electronically in either MS Word or AdobeAcrobat formats to clohr@hartsem.edu or brockben@aol.com, however, instructors will not be responsible for formatting errors in papers delivered electronically. Papers submitted after the deadline or containing numerous grammatical and stylistic errors will be marked down. Students should refrain from over-reliance on internet-based resources; minimal web references will be permissible in the paper’s bibliography. (Please refrain from citing Wikipedia.)

Grading
Course grades will reflect attendance and class participation, successful completion of assignments and demonstrated comprehension of and engagement with the required readings. Grades will be allocated according to the following point scale:

Final paper - 40
Book review - 10
Presentation - 10
Class attendance and participation - 40
Total points 100

C (50-70 pts) = students meet expectations through 1) daily attendance in class sessions having read the assigned material, 2) demonstration of comprehension of texts through participation in class discussions, 3) on-time submission of writing assignments that are well-reasoned and clear.

B (70-85 pts) = students moderately exceed expectations through 1) daily attendance in class sessions having read the assigned material as well as some additional recommended texts, 2) demonstration of comprehension of texts through participation in class discussions, 3) on-time submission of writing assignments that are well-reasoned, clear and exhibit originality of thought.

A (85-100 pts) = students highly exceed expectations through 1) daily attendance in class sessions having read the assigned material as well as many of the additional recommended texts, 2) demonstration of comprehension of texts through active participation in class discussions, 3) on-time submission of writing assignments that are well-reasoned, clearly and cogently written, exhibit originality of thought, and research methods of high quality.

 

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