Q+A: Why Rowan Williams Loves C.S. Lewis
Image: Williams: Andrew Winning / Reuters

To many American readers, it probably doesn't seem strange that a British Christian leader would write a book about C.S. Lewis's Narnia. But as former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams himself notes, Lewis's children's stories have always been more popular in America than in Britain, especially among intellectual elites. Williams has published several significant volumes of theology and poetry, but earlier this year he released a relatively slim volume on how the Narnia books can reinvigorate readers' understanding of the Christian message. While working as CT's editorial resident, Melissa Steffan interviewed Williams as she reported a separate story on new interest in Lewis in the UK. (Meanwhile, the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College is today hosting a conference on why Lewis has had more influence in the U.S. than in his own country. Audio will be available shortly.)

Why write one more book on Lewis and Narnia?

The book began with three lectures in Canterbury while I was archbishop, trying to explain what I thought was going on in the Narnia books and what the main themes were. I wanted to emphasize two things.

First, the Narnia books were mostly designed to give you a feeling for what it's like to be a Christian—not to make an argument or create an allegory, but to give a sense of what it's like to respond in faith to Christ, what it's like to be in a world where all your understanding is decisively shaped by that faith. Second, I take up a theme that comes up many times in the books, which is that we learn from our relationship with God to identify much more accurately how dishonest we are with ourselves about ourselves. Quite often you come back to the theme of stripping away the comforting story we ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueOn Immigration, Welcoming the Stranger Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle
On Immigration, Welcoming the Stranger Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle Subscriber Access Only
Why Christians should support reforms that recognize both the dignity of immigrants and the rule of law.
RecommendedIn ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
In ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
Pure Flix's adaptation of the apologetics classic succeeds most where it preaches least.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickChristians, Think Twice About Eradicating Mosquitoes to Defeat Malaria
Christians, Think Twice About Eradicating Mosquitoes to Defeat Malaria
When disease vectors are also victims.
The Lion's World: A Journey into the Heart of Narnia
The Lion's World: A Journey into the Heart of Narnia
Oxford University Press
2013-03-08
168 pp., $9.49
Buy The Lion's World: A Journey into the Heart of Narnia from Amazon
Christianity Today
Q+A: Why Rowan Williams Loves C.S. Lewis
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.