Podcasts to help you enjoy reading the books by C. S. Lewis. Helpful info and opinion about each book's history, themes, symbols and philosophy.
The Funeral of a Great Myth
This podcast is a review of one of the wisest essays that C S Lewis wrote, The Funeral of a Great Myth. He looks at the “Grand Myth” of evolution, that is, evolution not as a theory of biological change but as an over-arching explanation of how the universe works. Lewis does not have any quarrel with the idea of biological evolution, as far as I can tell, but he strongly disagrees with extending that as a principle behind everything. In this Great Myth mode, evolution is extended to explain how everything in the universe came about, and how there always must be endless progress “onwards and upwards”. Lewis discusses how this idea developed and became entrenched in the imagination prior to the publication of The Origin of Species by Darwin. He then discusses the fatal flaws of this Great Myth and why it is still lingering on.
The Problem of Pain
CSL-2013-05-17 This podcast covers one of the important and helpful theological books that C S Lewis wrote, entitled “The Problem of Pain”. It was written to answer the intellectual problem raised by suffering and pain in world created by a good, all-powerful God. As Lewis puts it
If God were good, He would make His creatures perfectly happy. If He were almighty, He would be able to do what he wished. But, obviously, the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.
He goes on to say that if the common means of “almighty” and “good” are the best or the only meanings that can be assigned to these words, then the problem is unsolvable. Therefore, he first addresses the meaning of almighty and how it should be understood and then the meaning of “good” when applied to God. Jack (Lewis went by the nickname of Jack) then discusses the nature of a world where persons with free will can make choices and the functions of pain in such a world. He includes important discussions of the pains of animals and heaven and hell in this book. As you can tell, it is well worth a read.
The show notes for this podcast can be found here. Show Notes
C. S. Lewis Letters to Children
This podcast covers a delightful and informative little book, C. S. Lewis Letters to Children. As Lewis became a well-known author, he started receiving letters from all kinds of people, and he felt obligated to reply. When he began publishing the Chronicles of Narnia, he began to receive and to reply to letters from children. This book is a collection of some of these letters. In addition, Jack (Lewis went by the nickname Jack) was a godfather to Sarah, the daughter of one of his pupils, and some letters from Lewis to Sarah are included in this collection. The letters in letters in the book begin in 1944 and end the day before Jack’s death in 1963. They were never intended to be published, so they show Lewis as he really was, with “his guard down”, as it were. They provide insights into his living conditions as well as into the Christian life, and are quite often amusing. This is a short book but well worth your time reading.
The show notes for this podcast are found at this link – Show Notes
On Obstinacy In Belief – Faith and Evidence
This podcast covers one of my favorite essays by Lewis, titled “On Obstinacy In Belief“. It’s original title was “Faith and Evidence” and actually I like that better, but we’ll use the published title in podcast. It has been included in several collections of essays by Lewis and is well worth your time to read. It covers differences between faith, belief and knowledge and it was written to answer the question why Christians hold on to their beliefs in the face of strong contrary evidence.
The essay was originally delivered to the Oxford Socratic Club in 1953 under the title Faith and Evidence and then was republished in 1955 under the current title. Since the “target audience” was a group of Oxford professors and students, Jack included several allusions and quotations in languages other than English (such as French, Italian, and Latin). Fortunately we do not have to know these languages to get the main points of this essay. In addition, a gentleman in the Netherlands has compiled a helpful explanation of these allusions and you can obtain that via the link below.
The show notes for this podcast are found here.
That Hideous Strength
This podcast covers the last book in C S Lewis’ space trilogy, That Hideous Strength. It is the most complex and, I think, the most enjoyable book in the space trilogy. While the story shares some common ground with the other two novels, it also has some new elements in it, especially elements from the legends surrounding King Arthur. This is probably due to the influence of Charles Williams, one of Jack’s best friends. (See this link – Charles Williams in Wikipedia).
The book is the story of an evil assault on nature and humanity by the demons who are temporarily in control of the earth. It tells how Ransom (the hero from the first two books) and a small band of followers thwarted that assault with the help of Merlin the magician from King Arthur’s time. At the same time it is the story of the temptation and conversion of two young English intellectuals, Mark and Jane Studdock. One of the most enjoyable (and perhaps most instructive) parts of the book are its character portraits of the villains, Dick Devine, Augustus Frost, and John Wither. Our podcast gives us an overall view of the plot and then looks at some of the character studies Lewis has given us in this novel.
The notes for this show are here.
Fern Seeds and Elephants
This podcast is somewhat a detour. I had intended to cover “That Hideous Strength“, the third and last book in C. S. Lewis’ space trilogy. However, I was invited to participate in an interview on my favorite C. S. Lewis essay, and I chose “Fern Seeds and Elephants” for my subject. I did some research to prepare for the interview, and the interviewer, William O’Flaherty, kindly suggested that a podcast on the essay would compliment his interview very nicely. Hence this podcast was born.
This essay arose from a lecture that Jack presented to students at Cambridge who were studying to become priests in the Church of England. Its subject is a type of Biblical criticism that was in vogue then (1959) and is still popular today. The proponents of this approach to understanding the Bible have concluded that much of what Christians have believed about Jesus is incorrect, and that many of the stories about Him in the Gospels are myths or legends, not history. (For example, the story of Jesus changing water into wine at Cana of Galilee is not a miracle but a parable). By applying their techniques and using their analysis, we are at last able to understand what the New Testament really means. Jack offers four major criticisms of their technique and assumptions in the essay. If you are interested in Biblical in interpretation or if you have ever wondered if books like “The Da Vinci Code” could be true, then you will find this essay quite interesting and informative.
You can listen to my interview with Mr. O’Flaherty at the link below. I recommend this as it will provide you Mr. O’Flaherty’s insights on the essay.
Link To Show Notes
Customer ReviewsSee All
Fun and informative.
It looks like this podcast is over, but check out the archive. Excellent analysis of Lewis's major popular works.
This podcast was my first introduction to C. S. Lewis. What a blessing. Prayers for the show to get restarted.
Love it!! Want more:)
One of the best descriptions of C.S. Lewis's works. I hope to hear more.
and God Bless:)