C.S. Lewis

& J.R.R. Tolkien

The views, contents, and opinions expressed herein
do not necessarily reflect those of the University of California.


Baptized Imaginations, Transformed Minds, Surrendered Hearts: The Theology of The Chronicles of Narnia

Paul Ford

Professor Paul Ford of Saint John's Seminary in Camarillo, California, delights in the beauty and wonder of the Narnia lore. His enthusiastic discussion of C. S. Lewis and the Narnia vision is as charming as the magical tales themselves. One can almost hear the adventure begin, one feels compelled to follow in the footsteps of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, in The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, siblings who flee from the horrors of the London Blitz, to the country house of an old Professor. Then wandering through the house, the four children come upon an empty room with nothing in it except a wardrobe. Three of the youngsters leave the room, but Lucy remains to investigate the wardrobe. She steps inside, past the fur coats, searching for the back, but she does not find the back of the wardrobe; instead she finds herself in the middle of a wood in winter in the magical world of Narnia. Discover how these tales unearth theology and heart-felt emotions of joy and sorrow, terror and triumph. Hear Paul Ford bring majesty to their inner life, as he infuses their meaning with spiritual glory.

Dr. Ford has been reading C. S. Lewis since he was fifteen years old in 1962 and has become an internationally recognized expert on the life and writings of C. S. Lewis and author of the award-winning book, Companion to Narnia (now in its fourth edition). His master's thesis was "The Life of the World to Come in the Writings of C. S. Lewis." His doctoral dissertation was "C. S. Lewis: Ecumenical Spiritual Director: A Study of His Experience and Theology of Prayer and Discernment in the Process of Becoming a Self." In 1974 he founded the Southern California C. S. Lewis Society. He serves as a board member of the Kilns Oxford Limited, a British charitable company which owns and has restored Lewis's Oxford home. His most recent Lewis-related publications are "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at 50: A Celebration (and a Worry)," The Canadian C. S. Lewis Society Journal; "Soul-befriending, The Legacy of C. S. Lewis," Spirituality (Dublin); and eleven entries in The C. S. Lewis Reader's Encyclopedia, Jeffrey D. Schultz and John G. West, Jr., Eds. (Zondervan, 1998).


Program recording date and length: 4-12-03 ~ 1 Hour (Filmed at the University of California, Santa Barbara.)

Order Catalog No.: 3801


Christian Behavior

Roberta Hestenes, of World Vision International, talks about "Christian Behavior," Book III of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. ~ Order Catalog No.: 3820


What Christians Believe

Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, talks about "What Christians Believe," Book II of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. ~ Order Catalog No.: 3821


Lewis's Spiritual Pilgrimage

Stan Mattson

Drawing principally upon material gleaned from Lewis's spiritual autobiography, Surprised by Joy, Dr. Stan Mattson offers a brief overview of C. S. Lewis's struggle with the issues of faith and doubt during a lifetime of encounters with death, rejection, lust, fear, anger, pride, love, and forgiveness.

As Founder and President of the C. S. Lewis Foundation of Oxford, England, and Redlands, California, Professor Mattson has long evidenced a deep concern for the place of Christians within the mainstream of society and the secular university in particular. Consistent with the Foundation's mission to encourage the renewal of Christian thought and expression throughout contemporary higher education, Mattson has been fully engaged in lecturing on Lewis and related subjects on campuses across the nation, as well as overseeing the Foundation's highly regarded triennial Summer Institute in Oxford and Cambridge, England; its restoration of "The Kilns," C. S. Lewis's home in Oxford, which is becoming established as a residential Christian study center; and, lastly, developing the Foundation's very promising faculty-led initiative to network Christian scholars the world over.

Program recording date and length: 4-12-03 ~ 1 Hour 8 Minutes (Filmed at the University of California, Santa Barbara.)

Order Catalog No.: 3799

 

J. R. R. Tolkien: Father of Modern Fantasy Literature

Christopher Mitchell

Although J. R. R. Tolkien did not invent heroic fantasy, in the latter part of the twentieth century, The Lord of the Rings has become almost a standard literary form for the genre. Why is this? What is it about Tolkien and his work that has fostered this modern literary and commercially successful phenomenon? These questions and more are mined in this enticing exploration of Tolkien's artistic, linguistic, and creative genius, where history becomes legend, and legend chisels out the mysterious blossoms of myth.

Professor Christopher Mitchell of Wheaton College is also the Director of the Marion E. Wade Center, as well as Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Wheaton. He serves as Book Review Editor for Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review, a journal published annually by the Wade Center on its authors. Mitchell received an M.A. from Wheaton College and a Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, where his concentration was Historical Theology. He and his wife Julie live in Wheaton with two of their four children—and are rumored to possess a Ring of Power!

Program recording date and length: 4-12-03 ~ 1 Hour 3 Minutes (Filmed at the University of California, Santa Barbara.)

Order Catalog No.: 3777

 

Lewis and Tolkien: Scholars and Friends

Christopher Mitchell

Professor Christopher Mitchell of Wheaton College enlivened our imaginations and enlightened our intellects as he brought to life past personal and scholarly remembrances of both C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and a host of their Oxford circle of friends. Drawing on material from letters and a variety of old and new publications, Professor Mitchell opened the door upon insights and events publicly observed in the lives of these two famous writers and their fascinating relationships with members of the literary elite. Interesting collections emerge from the vaults of London history, as well as special stories previously known only to a few, but now fleshed out with vivid images from a treasury of educational exchange between America and England.

This powerful presentation was followed by an equally exciting Question and Answer session in which the audience enjoyed participating in this day's inquisitive journey "from Narnia to Hobbiton!"

Program recording date and length: 4-12-03 ~ 1 Hour 4 Minutes (Filmed at the University of California, Santa Barbara.)

Order Catalog No.: 3798

 

Recreating the Inklings:
The Return of Lewis and Tolkien

Panel Discussion with Christopher Mitchell

A Panel, consisting of University of California Santa Barbara Professor Kate Bruhn, UCSB Professor Michael Bowers, actor David Payne, and Wheaton College Professor Christopher Mitchell discuss the literary and scholarly issues that have emerged from the Seminar: From Narnia to Hobbiton, as well as some of the historical and contemporary questions that continue to intrigue researchers—and just plain readers—who remain fascinated with the stimulating writings of the Inklings group of literary genius.

Professor Bruhn's current research interests concern issue of democratization, political parties and social mobilization. She authored Taking on Goliath (1997) and Mexico: The Struggle for Democratic Development (with Dan Levy, 2001).

Professor Bowers, a pioneer in mapping the three-dimensional shape of biological molecules, strives to help students to "get out of their own way," in learning how to approach problems "not as spectators but as participants." David Payne, the actor, and Christopher Mitchell, the Lewis/Tolkien scholar, complete the team, on this exciting panel of innovative thinkers.

Program recording date and length: 4-12-03 ~ 1 Hour (Filmed at the University of California, Santa Barbara.)

Order Catalog No.: 3800


Right and Wrong as a Key to the Meaning of the Universe

J. P. Moreland, Professor of Philosophy at Talbot University, examines the moral argument for God's existence. ~ Order Catalog No.: 3822


C. S. Lewis: My Life's Journey

David Payne

Actor David Payne stars in this one-man play recalling the life and times of C. S. Lewis.

Born in London, England, David Payne is becoming renowned for his unique portrayals of C. S. Lewis in his one-man shows In Search of Joy and Weep for Joy. David has also starred in a number of provincial productions of Shadowlands, including a successful UK tour and recently starred as Aslan in a 25 city tour of the US, which was preceded by a sold-out run at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center. David's portrayal of the 'Professor' in Target Practice, a play inspired by C. S. Lewis Screwtape Letters, got rave reviews. David and his wife Marilyn came to the USA in 1992 and now live in Nashville, Tennessee.

As to C. S. Lewis, he wrote theology, literary criticism, novels, and autobiographies, along with poetry. Many people know of Lewis from his famous work The Screwtape Letters published in 1942. It is a sarcastic work consisting of 31 letters where an elderly demon, named Screwtape, is instructing his pupil, Wormwood, in the art of torturing a young Christian soul.

The Abolition of Man was published in 1943, dealing with "the poisoning of western thought and civilization regarding human nature and the moral law by the notion that our moral and aesthetic judgments are necessarily subjective."

Lewis analyzed the different forms of love all the way to the Greeks in The Four Loves, published in 1960. Lewis's works in literary criticism won the hearts of scholars everywhere. The Allegory of Love, A Study in Medieval Tradition, made Lewis famous when it was published in 1936. The Allegory of Love was set as the standard dealing with John Milton's work Paradise Lost. In 1948, he published his Arthurian Torso, a criticism of the Arthurian Legends. English Literature in the Sixteenth Century is a standard reference today even though it was published in 1954.

After Lewis's death came five other works: The Discarded Image (1964), describes how literature is affected by science's perspectives on the universe, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (1966), Spenser's Images of Life (1967), Selected Literary Essays (1969), and Present Concerns (1986). Lewis also wrote fiction on topics ranging from invented worlds to universal travel. Out of the Silent Planet was his first novel in 1938. This science fiction novel is about the beautiful caverns of Mars. Then came his Perelandra in 1942, the second book in his Space Trilogy. Before he published his Chronicles of Narnia, he published That Hideous Strength in 1945 his final volume of the Space Trilogy.

His final fictional work was Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold in 1956. This story is Lewis's retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid. C. S. Lewis wrote two autobiographies that allow present-day readers to peer into his mind and writing. Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life was published in 1955 and described his miraculous conversion from atheism to Christianity. One of his most moving works is A Grief Observed published in 1961 two years before his death. This book describes the loss of his wife Joy Davidman Gresham. He had to challenge his faith in God to understand why he had to suffer though so much pain. Lewis' relationship with his wife Joy, and the deep grief he felt after her death, was aptly reflected in the film, Shadowlands, in which C. S. Lewis was portrayed by the Oscar-winning British actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Program recording date and length: 4-11-03 ~ 1 Hour 25 Minutes (This presentation by David Payne was taped originally at UCLA.)

Order Catalog No.: 3773

 

Beyond Personality

Dallas Willard speaks on Book IV of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, on the 40th Anniversary of Lewis' death. ~ Order Catalog No.: 3819