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January 20, 2011


Joe Kendrick

Is his book on the movie version of the Dawn Treader or the book?

Also, quick note on Lewis since I'm a big fan of the Dawn Treader and Aslan fascinates me. He wrote in an essay that Aslan wasn't allegorical but an actual incarnation of Jesus. I found that to be very interesting.

Joe Kendrick

Nevermind...that's what happens when you scan.



That statement is just completely unfounded in anything, and in fact, it is demonstrably false. For example, when considering instances of love, one would have to take the love of mother for new baby as one paradigm case. However, unless G-d is oxytocin, then we have a pretty clear case of love in which the source is not divine but biochemical.

Again I say wow.


I thought it was Tolkien who said Lord of the Rings is not an allegory; I seem to recall Lewis being very open about Aslan being Jesus.

I mostly agree with Tolkien. LotR may be everywhere dense with Christian symbolism, but it doesn't qualify as an allegory since there's no single Christ figure. You have your choice of Aragorn who spends decades running from his destiny, Gandalf who dies and comes back to life but only because the God-figure says "Dude, you're not done yet, get back down there," and Frodo, who selflessly carries the burdens of the world but renounces his quest at the last minute.

Anyway, sorry to sidetrack with another series entirely; I just happen to like it a lot more than anything Lewis wrote.

Greg Horton

Leighton and Joe, Lewis thought of Narnia as an alternative world, probably a kind of Faerie, so Joe it makes perfect sense that Aslan would be another incarnation of Jesus. Theologically at least, it wouldn't matter what form the Eternal Son came in, so long as He was Trinity2. It's likely that "lied" is an overstatement, but I find it hard to believe that Lewis never intended an allegorical reading of some of the elements, as if the Emperor Across the Sea wasn't actually Trinity1, or let's just say it, God the Father. He was obsessed with otherworlds, and his scifi trilogy (really only two are scifi; the third is clearly Arthurian fantasy) plays with the idea of otherworlds as innocent, fallen and unredeemed, or fallen and redeemed.

matt mikalatos

Hey Greg (and everybody), have you read Til We Have Faces? It's my favorite Lewis and I'd be interested in your thoughts. It doesn't seem to get any attention in Christian circles (probably because of all the gods) but I think it's his best work.

Greg Horton

Matt, without exaggeration, I think I've read everything, so yes. And I do think it's top 3 or 5, depending on my mood. Most Christians I meet don't know what to do with Classicism, but it was, of course, one of Lewis's preferred areas. What I liked about the work, even more than the writing, is it's an oblique approach to what I would later learn is virtue ethics. Lewis was probably riffing on Aristotle with the idea of practicing to become virtuous, but it is, obviously, also a Christian concept, now mostly lost, called discipleship. I always loved the mask/face metaphor in this piece.

matt mikalatos

Also, as I recall the whole "Aslan is not allegorical" came from Lewis's letters, and the definition he was using there was pretty narrow... I believe he was, in fact, comparing Aslan to the giant Despair from Bunyan, and making the point that to him there was a difference from a character being "pure idea" like Despair and an embodied/fictional/historical person in a story. His major distinction was between taking a "fact" (i.e. despair can capture people) into a character/event and making a "what if?" scenario: "What if Christ incarnated in Faerie?"

I suppose that he would have to admit to Narnia being allegorical on some level, once the definition became broad enough.


You and I should discuss the sci fi trilogy sometime. I read it last year and thought it awful. And being such a fan of Narnia, I think it has tainted even that for me.

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