Joel Heck, Professor of Theology at Concordia University, Texas, has served us again by publishing rare materials relating to C. S. Lewis. In 2008 he published The Personal Heresy: A Controversy. And now he has published the Socratic Digest (Concordia University Press, 2012), a digest of the biannual publication of the meetings of the Socratic Club at Oxford from 1943 to 1952. Lewis was a regular part of this club and seven of his essays are included, plus other Lewis-related interactions.
Here is an excerpt from the preface to help you know what you will find.
With the reprinting of the Socratic Digest, one more major document in Lewisiana becomes available to the general public. . . .
- For those, especially, who want to read the actual essay that Elizabeth Anscombe presented in response to Chapter 3 of C. S. Lewis’ 1947 book Miracles or who want to understand better the context in which Lewis wrote seven of his essays, some of which appear in different format than as they were later published, the Socratic Digest will provide that.
- For those who want to read the response of Unitarian Nicol Cross to Lewis’ chapter inMere Christianity, “The Shocking Alternative,” this Digest provides that response.
- For those who want to know the issues of the day in Oxford during the 1940s, particularly for the Christian faith, the Socratic Digest is the answer.
- For those who want to read the notes taken on Charles Williams’ argument in the first issue that free love is neither free nor love, the Socratic Digest provides it.
- For those who want to enjoy the give-and-take between H. H. Price and C. S. Lewis on the topic of a minimal religion or the importance of theism, this is where one will find that argument, and in the reading one will see the same Lewis who later proposed similar arguments in Miracles.
- Those who want to anticipate Lewis’ inaugural lecture at Cambridge will enjoy his statement, “Almost I’d sooner be a pagan suckled in a creed outworn” (164), or this one, “When grave persons express their fear that England is relapsing into Paganism, I am tempted to reply, ‘Would that she were’” (229).
Thanks are to Joel Heck for the kind of scholarly work that continues to fill the widening reservoir of “Lewisana.”