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Ch 4b: pp 49-51

For the Medieval Dinosaur in all of us.

Ch 4b: pp 49-51

Postby Stanley Anderson » 28 Jun 2007, 14:12

(Beginning of section A [“Chalcidius”] -- Five “regular” paragraphs and “four plus seven” numbered items in the middle beginning with "The work of Chalcidius..." and ending with "...to have been unaware.")

In this introductory part of the section on Chalcidius, Lewis gives us a specific example (identifying four points for and seven against Chalcidius being a Christian) of the difficulty in determining whether certain authors of the period were Christians. Lewis sides with the view that Chalcidius was a Christian.

I can’t help smiling while thinking of a similar list of pros and cons that one might produce in deciding whether MacPhee in THS was a Christian – or rather, since MacPhee himself states that he is not during the course of the story, instead producing a list for deciding whether he was indeed headed into eventual acceptance of the faith:-) The distinction Lewis makes about Chalcidius “writing philosophically”, and excluding matters of faith “as matters of faith, from his thesis” seems very much like what MacPhee tries to do (to humourous extremes to be sure:-) in his “logical” discussions with Ransom and others.

As a side note, I was interested to see the unexpected use of the word “suburban” when he says “those elements…in the Model which made man a marginal – almost, as we shall see, a suburban – creature.” In our modern use of the word it certainly means on the outskirts of the city proper, but the implication that it is a “much further out” version of “marginal” strikes me as connoting a much weaker link than the way we tend to use the word nowadays.

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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suburban

Postby liriodendron » 30 Jun 2007, 03:29

As a side note, I was interested to see the unexpected use of the word “suburban”


Some times and places had a higher opinion of Urban Places than most Americans do now.


I've been enjoying this book so much that even though I'm trying to be slow, I'm way ahead of this. I'll re-read it and see if I have any more comments.
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Re: suburban

Postby Stanley Anderson » 30 Jun 2007, 13:51

liriodendron wrote:I've been enjoying this book so much that even though I'm trying to be slow, I'm way ahead of this. I'll re-read it and see if I have any more comments.


Oh, please don't hold back. I've read it many times and there's more to get each time (thus the possiblity of more commentary from you!:-)

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Postby liriodendron » 01 Jul 2007, 03:54

I used to wonder, when I read about how we had only fragments of certain writings of Plato and other ancients - how did that happen? Did the books get torn up and some torn pages saved? But now I see that they are probably talking about the quotes in these commentaries that seem to have been popular at the turn of the ages.

It is kind of funny that Chalcidius' commentary was more of a jumping off point for his own opinions. I wonder if he realized what he was doing or if he thought he was acurately handling Plato. When Lewis pointed out that he was probably unaware of the discrepency between the 2 concepts of the trinity, it made me wonder how often are we unaware that we are following a philosophy incompatable with what God teaches.

Some of the points against Chalcidius being a Christian sound rather Gnostic to me: such as a lack of respect for the Old Testiment (and Moses) and the feeling that matter is evil. Also from what Lewis said in the previous sections, that "world-renouncing, ascetic, mystical character" was "the spirit of the age": I'm wondering if Gnostism permeated the times - or perhaps Gnostism was the distilation of that spirit.

One of the things I like in this book is the way Lewis probes into world views. If you don't pay attention, and especially if you have no back ground in history.... I think that usually people don't even realize they have a "world view". They think that the way they view life is just the way it is. It makes me want to be more self aware or why I'm thinking like I'm thinking.
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 01 Jul 2007, 14:25

liriodendron wrote:One of the things I like in this book is the way Lewis probes into world views. If you don't pay attention, and especially if you have no back ground in history.... I think that usually people don't even realize they have a "world view". They think that the way they view life is just the way it is. It makes me want to be more self aware or why I'm thinking like I'm thinking.


And that's one of the reasons Lewis says it is so valuable to read and study works from other ages -- because it is so hard for us to see our own blind spots and so easy to see others' (a sort of literary application of the admonition to take the plank out of our own eye before trying to remove the speck from another's eye:-)

(by the way, I hope to try to progress to further sections a bit faster than I have been -- I admit that it has been even slower than I like to go. Seems I've been posting a lot in other threads and also just been lazy here. We'll see what happens -- like Mr. Toad, I always have grand ideas that I don't quite get to.)

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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