Reading in Layers: Aslan’s Eucharistic Table?

Reflecting earlier this week on Lewis and Aslan and the Stone Table, I wound up tweeting, “It’s never dawned on me before today: Aslan’s stone *table* is a eucharistic thing (Low church = slow church I guess).” This garnered some discussion on my FB page. Some pointed out other ways in which the “table” should be interpreted, perhaps implying that more than one allusion wasn’t possible.

But “pictures are worth a thousand words,” not least because they can unveil more than one dimension. It’s often difficult for contemporary people to think or read in “layers,” and we must guard against “over-reading,” but Scripture (and Lewis) are probably best appreciated in this way.

This Sunday evening I’ll be preaching on Matt 28:16-20, which possesses not so much one OT allusion as a whole network of passages and concepts (Gen 1:26-28; 12:1ff; 49:8-10; Dan 7; etc.), in so doing providing a fitting conclusion to the OT story (1:1-17), of which the expanding reign of King Jesus is a great new stage.

I’d say that Lewis was probably also interested in multiple allusions. Clearly Lewis is interested in the destruction-fulfillment of Law in death, and the stone-as-Mosaic-law being broken. I think it’s possible that, in the midst of that allusion, he mentions table and in so doing doubles down on allusions. I find it hard to imagine that a high-church Anglican like Lewis would miss the chance to create a eucharistic association between table and sacrifice.

(Richard Hays has noted some “guidelines” for determining the likelihood of allusions, so as to limit the tendency to read allusions into a text which an author did not intend. In this instance, a google books search shows that Paul Ford and Bruce Edwards have also proposed the association; I am unaware of any “table of the law” theme in Lewis that would otherwise account for the use of the word “table”; he was “high church” Anglican; he is elsewhere interested in Eucharistic imagery; etc.)

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Jason Hood
Jason is a graduate of Rhodes College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Highland Theological College and the University of Aberdeen. Jason works as Scholar-in-Residence and director of Christ College Residency Program at Christ UMC. He's trying to figure out the twitter thing, twitter.com/jasonbhood.

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