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February 18, 2009


Bill Glasgow

As a Lewis "featherweight", I find this helpful and illuminating. The stand that you identify with Lewis in his approach to Literary Criticism rings true in what I have read from him with regards to his essays on Biblical criticism -- especially pertaining to Bultmann and those who subscribe to Form Criticism. He makes a good case for the absurdity of what some scholars extract about the authors from their works. And I can understand his strong reaction to it. It elevates the interpretation of the work by imagining the author's intention or psychological state above the primary message of the work itself. This in itself doesn't seem such a bad thing when done to augment an understanding of the work — I am doing it here, myself in seeking to understand Lewis' position. In fact I find it to be quite useful when trying to understand the seemingly erratic or bizarre behaviours/opinions of others. Context is everything, in a manner of speaking. But there are obvious abuses and excesses. And it is becoming more blatant by the day. Political speech in the main-stream media these days seems to require reinterpretation, when the message runs contrary to popular opinion, either to soften what was said/written to the point of meaning exactly the opposite of what was "intended" to preserve the speaker/writer's status as "on our side" or to demonize and marginalize the author within a predefined construct of "the embodiment of evil".
Does this make sense? Maybe not, as I suspect that I am at risk of speaking beyond my knowledge, out of my ignorance. In any case, I appreciate the article's author for identifying the importance of understanding the times we live in in order to communicate meaningfully as Christians. Now I am prompted to re-read some of Lewis' work and perhaps delve into Merton. Thank you.

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