It’s been said of C.S. Lewis that talking to him and reading his writings were remarkably similar experiences. When he spoke on topics he’d written on, he was so enthusiastic you’d think he was discovering them for the first time.
The C.S. Lewis Logos courses invite us to interact with this man by reading his words, and, in a sense, conversing with him.
Each course (which functions more like a reading plan) offers insight into one of the brightest and best minds of the twentieth century. In them, we learn what Lewis thought about topics such as enjoyment versus contemplation; prayer; the person and work of Christ; and my personal favorite, myth, Christianity, and the Bible.
About the Logos Courses tool
Faithlife has crafted 375 different courses on a variety of subjects. Courses are hand-curated engagements with particular resources, authors, or topics. They are meant to guide our personal study by directing us to important resources and passages or help us distribute longer readings across extended time periods.
You can find this tool by clicking Tools > Reference > Courses in Logos.
Reading Lewis with the Courses tool
While every book in the collection is worth reading from cover to cover, the topical approach offered in these courses has some advantages. Let me highlight three of those through a closer examination of the course on myth, Christianity, and the Bible.
Attention to themes
In this course, we find a passage from Miracles where Lewis notes that myth, in general, is not merely misunderstood history (as Euhemerus thought) nor diabolical illusion (as some of the Fathers thought) nor priestly lying (as the philosophers of the Enlightenment thought). At best, myth is a real though unfocused gleam of divine truth falling on human imagination.
This foundational insight directs much of Lewis’ thinking and writing on the nature of myth as it relates to the relationship of reason to the imagination. For Lewis, the imagination is a vital component to our humanity, and how we understand God and the Bible requires that we take it into account. This insight has been significant to my spiritual and intellectual growth, so I’m glad to see it emphasized in this course.
And this is just one of the many themes important to Lewis.
Breadth and depth
This course—and all the others on Lewis—draws liberally from across Lewis’ oeuvre. It serves as an excellent introduction to the man and his thinking since it paints a more complete picture than focusing on a single book would. It invites us to see the breadth of his writing. More than that, it invites us to dive deep and think critically.
Because Lewis’ writing is so accessible, the course allows us to consider deep things alongside him, not just read his thoughts on deep subjects. We can follow his lead, think his thoughts after him, and try to see things as he did.
It is fitting, since Lewis regularly explored the interplay of reason and imagination, that these courses direct us to both his essays and his fiction (though sadly the C.S. Lewis collection does not include The Chronicles of Narnia or Till We Have Faces, for licensing reasons). This helps us realize the ideas the course explores were actually lived out and practiced. They were more than mere academic interest for Lewis. They were part of what it looked like for him to live out his unique calling in the world.
On the C.S. Lewis collection
After discussing all the good of these courses, I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out one hang-up. Since Lewis’ works are not yet available in Logos individually for licensing reasons, you must own the whole collection to enjoy these courses. Since secondary source readings are also included in these courses, if you want to read every item in the courses, you’ll also need to pick up the Studies on C.S. Lewis collection and the Eerdmans C.S. Lewis collection.
Note: You don’t need to purchase the secondary sources to begin the course. You can start any course for which you own at least one resource, though you won’t be able to complete it entirely without all the suggested readings.
If you were lucky enough to nab the C.S. Lewis Collection when it was on sale a couple of months ago, the world is your oyster. If you didn’t, let this post be an encouragement to consider picking it up if and when your budget allows. Even at full price, the collection is more than worthwhile.
Even if you don’t have access to the resources mentioned above, I’d encourage you to browse the courses listed in the Courses tool (Tools > Reference > Courses). Faithlife has created some great guided studies to help us get the most out of the resources in our libraries.
Please feel free to comment below on particular courses you’d recommend.
Guest writer Adam B. Shaeffer holds an MA in Spiritual Formation from Talbot School of Theology and a PhD in Theology from Durham University. He is already a big fan of Logos 8.