Monday, May 14, 2012

C.S. Lewis as a Philosopher

C.S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness and Beauty, edited by David Baggett, Gary R. Habermas and Jerry L. Walls; foreword by Tom Morris. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2008. 268 pp. $23.00. ISBN: 978-0-8308-2808-1.
               What is truth? What is goodness? What is beauty? These are questions that are important to Christians and Classical Philosophy. What did C.S. Lewis think about truth, goodness, and beauty?
               David Baggett, Gary R. Habermas and Jerry L. Walls edit fifteen essays that explore Lewis’s thinking on the themes of truth, goodness and beauty. The essays provide a “comprehensive overview of Lewis’s philosophical reflections on arguments for Christianity, the character of God, theodicy, moral goodness, heaven and hell, a theory of literature, and the place of the imagination”  (back cover).
               The essays are written with excellent prose that is clear and understandable. The writers of the essays are professional philosophers with advanced degrees in philosophy. They demonstrate a thorough understanding of the writings of Lewis and the modern philosophical objections to them. They engage both Lewis’s writings and philosophical objections to his writings, both impartially and creatively. For example, a few of the essays offer responses to John Beversluis’s criticisms of Lewis in his book, C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985). David Baggett effectively refutes Beversluis’s contention that Lewis’s faith was “intellectually inadequate.” Other essays show the weaknesses of Beversluis’s assertions.
               The reader of these essays will be intellectually stimulated and his understanding of Christianity will be broadened.  C.S. Lewis as a Philosopher shows that there is a philosophical depth to the writings of Lewis. For example, Michael Peterson shows how C.S. Lewis provides an excellent defense of the compatibility of the existence and goodness of God and the existence of gratuitous evil. “These essays,” observed Jerry L. Walls, “show that Lewis had interesting things to say on a wide range of philosophical topics and that his writings provide distinctive and penetrating insights on fundamental issues of perennial concern”  (17).
               This excellent collection of essays is highly recommended for all college students and the generally educated adult public.

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