Format: Trade Paperback
Religion - Christian Literature
Having receiving From the Library of C.S. Lewis: Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey, written by James Stuart Bell and Anthony P. Dawson, I was not sure what to expect. Upon my reading I was pleasantly surprised by both the breadth and depth of the selections employed by Bell and Dawson to introduce and inspire the modern reader to the writings that impacted C.S. Lewis. Lewis has been recognized as one of the intellectual and spiritual giants of the 20th century, and From the Library of C.S. Lewis has done a commendable job presenting the plethora of thinkers that influenced his life and thought in a meaningful and coherent manner. As a Lewis scholar and member of the Oxford University C.S. Lewis Society, as well as just having visited the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College, Illinois, where Lewis' personal library remains housed, the variety of the selections that Bell and Dawson present are entirely indicative of Lewis' personal reading and often excellent insights into his life and thought. Selections are arranged topically and include selections from G.K. Chesterton, Martin Luther, John Calvin, St. Augustine, Samuel Johnson, John Bunyan, St. Athanasius, Samuel Coleridge, Austin Farrer, Dorothy Sayers, and Thomas à Kempis, to name but a few of the more than 100 authors that are quoted.
If one believes that "context is king" to understanding the great characters and events of human history, then, as Lewis scholar Jerry Root of Wheaton College writes, "one must become familiar with the body of literature that marked [Lewis'] life. [In From the Library of C.S. Lewis] Jim Bell and Tony Dawson give curious students of Lewis a glimpse of the books and authors that informed his life’s work and kindled his imagination.” Given the scope of the work, this book may be somewhat overwhelming to the casual curious student or reader of Lewis. However, the gold mine of contextual information and variety that Bell and Dawson present make this book an excellent resource for the Lewis scholar or as a resource for Bible study of sermon preparation. As a point of critique, perhaps Bell and Dawson would have been better suited compiling a list of Lewis' influential readers along with some longer selections from the more important influences, as some of the selections provided little to excite the reader about the source material and may leave the typical reader somewhat perplexed as to how a certain passage pertains to Lewis' life and thought. Overall however, this book is a wholly appropriate resource to students interested in Lewis' context and as a short reference work of influential Christian authors and ideas.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Juvenile Fiction - Religious - Christian - Fantasy
Fiction - Christian - General