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C. S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity": A Biography

C S Lewis s Mere Christianity A Biography Mere Christianity C S Lewis s eloquent and winsome defense of the Christian faith originated as a series of BBC radio talks broadcast during the dark days of World War Two Here is the story of the e

  • Title: C. S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity": A Biography
  • Author: George M. Marsden
  • ISBN: 9780691153735
  • Page: 388
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Mere Christianity, C S Lewis s eloquent and winsome defense of the Christian faith, originated as a series of BBC radio talks broadcast during the dark days of World War Two Here is the story of the extraordinary life and afterlife of this influential and much beloved book.George Marsden describes how Lewis gradually went from being an atheist to a committed Anglican faMere Christianity, C S Lewis s eloquent and winsome defense of the Christian faith, originated as a series of BBC radio talks broadcast during the dark days of World War Two Here is the story of the extraordinary life and afterlife of this influential and much beloved book.George Marsden describes how Lewis gradually went from being an atheist to a committed Anglican famously converting to Christianity in 1931 after conversing into the night with his friends J R R Tolkien and Hugo Dyson and how Lewis delivered his wartime talks to a traumatized British nation in the midst of an all out war for survival Marsden recounts how versions of those talks were collected together in 1952 under the title Mere Christianity, and how the book went on to become one of the most widely read presentations of essential Christianity ever published, particularly among American evangelicals He examines its role in the conversion experiences of such figures as Charles Colson, who read the book while facing arrest for his role in the Watergate scandal Marsden explores its relationship with Lewis s Narnia books and other writings, and explains why Lewis s plainspoken case for Christianity continues to have its critics and ardent admirers to this day.With uncommon clarity and grace, Marsden provides invaluable new insights into this modern spiritual classic.

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    1 thought on “C. S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity": A Biography

    1. Of the most intriguing 40 Christian non-fiction titles published in the first half of 2016, historian George Marsden’s new book — C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity: A Biography — stands out immediately. Published in Princeton’s pioneering series, “Lives of Great Religious Books,” Marsden has written a biography about a book, and if that sounds boring, it’s not. Lewis’s classic has a backstory worth telling and Marsden has penned one of the best books of the year.When it comes to [...]

    2. Classic Marsden. He did his homework and dug up some interesting anecdotes, offering a strong narrative, a clear outline and analysis, and some insightful points along the way. He did some "reception history" by looking at ways that people have reacted to Lewis' book, including his famous "trilemma" (Jesus is liar, lunatic, or Lord).One insight from the book that struck me: Lewis didn't use reason to prove Christianity so much as to clear away objections and then invite others to see and experie [...]

    3. Watch Marsden's lecture at Baylor. See a related lecture here. Review by Brian Bethune here. Review by Tony Reinke here. Review by Doug Wilson here.

    4. "Mere Christianity" has been one of the books most responsible for shaping my faith. I re-discovered C.S. Lewis in my third or fourth year of undergrad ( I'd watched the old BBC Narnia adaptations and read some bits of the books as a child) and I eagerly devoured his most popular works. I'd still place "Mere Christianity" in my top 3 spiritual books along with "Orthodoxy" and "No Man Is An Island."George Marsden's "biography" of the book helpfully chronicles its origins as wartime radio addresse [...]

    5. Excellent but not for a "recreational" reader have your cup of coffee and dive in. Rich writing, great material, complex thought.

    6. A surprisingly engaging overview of the origin of Lewis's most famous non-fiction book, a book that began as radio lectures and which were compiled almost as a afterthought. Marsden takes time to explore how the book went from being suspicious to American Evangelicals to being lovingly embraced by many of them. His overview of British and American reactions sheds a lot of light on mid-20th century Christian thought in general. Another strong contribution to the Lives of Great Religious Books ser [...]

    7. Marsden does a masterful job of writing a biographical sketch of, not a person, but a book. Now, one might think a biography of a book would be cumbersome or boring, but I can attest that it, or at least this one, was most certainly not. The reach and scope of Lewis' Mere Christianity was only heightened by understanding how it came about, why it came about, when it came about, the cultural atmosphere in which it was birthed, how it has transcended time and nation of origin, and taken on a life [...]

    8. 3.5 stars. I enjoyed it, but it doesn't seem right to rate it as highly as the book that it discusses (one of my all-time faves, btw). I felt the same way about Ward's "Planet Narnia." I thought it was great, but it would seem wrong to give it more stars than the actual Narnia books, right? If you love "Mere Christianity," you'll appreciate this too

    9. I confess, I did not finish this biography. I was interested in reading about Lewis’ life not so much because he was a famous Christian, that is something I find an oxymoron, but because he had changed his mind. Changing one’s mind is, in my experience, in short supply and I’m fascinated by the process a thinking persons goes through when confronted with new information, be they fact or something else.My first hint that this biography was not what I was looking for was in the introduction [...]

    10. So why read a biography about a book when you can just read the book? Good question. My answer - to add context to the book you are interested in reading and comprehending. And it may motivate you to change your mind on actually reading the book of interest. In this case, I came away with the decision to not waste my time reading "Mere Christianity". But I also walked away with a better understanding of the book for what it is and when it was and by whom it was written. That is usually something [...]

    11. Who hasn't ever been impacted by C.S. Lewis in some way? This is a beautifully written (or beautifully Narrated as in my case) and fascinating story of how it all began, starting with "Mere Christianity" and how it came to be, both in Lewis's life, (a once disillusioned atheist) and in his listeners lives, who in an ever increasing secular society, found themselves hopelessly in the chaos and uncertainty of world war and the detailed myriad effects the book had and continues to have up until tod [...]

    12. This book looks at the history of C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity: a brisk coverage of the author's life, what inspired it, who it has influenced, admirers and detractors. I especially liked reading about Lewis's BBC radio talks, which were the genesis of the book, and the people who converted to Christianity because of it. The whole book is interesting and I wound up wanting to reread Mere Christianity. Also, this book is short, which can be a plus in history as far as I'm concerned.

    13. Yes, it is a biography--of a book but there are many elements of it being a biography of a man as well. I certainly learned more about C.S. Lewis from my good friend George's book. Now I need to read Mere Christianity again.

    14. While slightly dry in places, the book was a fascinating look at the life of Lewis and the circumstances surrounding the publication of 'Mere Christianity.' I'd highly recommend it for anyone who is even a casual fan of Lewis and his work.

    15. Fantastic book. Marsden is a worthy biographer; Mere Christianity a worthy subject. Every moment was enjoyable.

    16. This book was superb until the last chapter which seemed a bit redundant. On the whole a great book. I'm really enjoying this series.

    17. I will, upfront, confess that I have never read C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece, “Mere Christianity.” I will confess, as long as I’m doing it, that I’m not particularly a huge fan of Lewis outside of his fiction work. However, I am a fan of history. And furthermore, I’m a huge fan of George Marsden. I believe him to be on of the most renowned conservative historians of this age.In any case, it’s not exactly “normal” to write a biography about a book. However, Lewis’ magnum opus is di [...]

    18. Thoughtful, detailed explanation of the iterative creation and impact of C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity." Highly recommended.

    19. A biography of a book! Marsden gives the background to Mere Christianity, one of the most popular apologetics books of our time. In the course of the book we are given a short background into Lewis, as well as the history behind the Broadcast talks that eventually became the books making up Mere Christianity. Marsden investigates how the talks and book were received, and has a very interesting chapter in which he explains why he thinks Mere Christianity has had such enduring popularity. He puts [...]

    20. American historian George Marsden tells the story how the the beloved Christian book by C.S. Lewis came to be. Some readers of Mere Christianity know the book came into being after a series of BBC radio lectures Lewis broadcast in war-torn England in the 1940s. But most do not know the full account of the large role Mere Christianity played in the broad arena of Christian denominations. Both fundamentalist evangelicals and intellectual liberalists used Mere Christianity and C.S. Lewis’ to upho [...]

    21. I've (gasp) never read a work by CS Lewis--my family has. So this was "a first step," and how worthwhile. While the book reads like a novel, it also does justice to a certain British reserve in how it recounts Lewis' completely unintended celebrity as he profoundly affected a people in a way that snooty academics found too relatable and common, a true testimony to his piercingly powerful intellect--but more so, his humility. The book also does an excellent job at storytelling about the difficult [...]

    22. Let me say at the outset I am a fan of George Marsden and C.S. Lewis. This is the first book, but certainly not the last, I will read in the "Lives of Great Religious Books" series - Calvin's Institutes and The Book of Common Prayer are in the cue.I believe Marsden has done a great service here, setting forth the place of the book in CSL's life and also in the culture of Christian literature in the late 20th century. In chapter 8, on "The Lasting vitality of Mere Christianity" Marsden makes what [...]

    23. Short review: I like this series. But the series does seem to follow a standard outline. A short section of biography about the author, the story of the writing and overview of the content, a summary of the response and objections, and the spread of the book. All three that I have read have basically been the same format. But the format works.The series also seems to hire really good authors, which does matter. There was not a ton that was new to me here. I have read a number of Lewis biographie [...]

    24. This is a purely lay opinion, I'm not an authority on anything but living and sewing! That said, Lewis always had a way of expressing himself that was not only logical, but was understandable for those of us not using multisyllabic words on a regular basis with a lot of qualifying modificatin words and phrases. It's such plain speak and so logical, you wonder why you didn't think of it before. What's so special is to go behind the beautiful thinking and logic of this work and discover from where [...]

    25. Absolutely stellar -- worthy of ten stars!!! an engaging account of the creative genesis, publication history, biographical background, literary review, critical response, and ultimate impact of C. S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity" somehow that sounds drably incomplete truly an immersion in what causes this particular book to be a "classic" if only this caliber of insightful analysis were given to every acknowledged "classic" work in the English language, civilization would be the richer for it [...]

    26. An excellent read. C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity: A biography is a good and insightful telling of how the book Mere Christianity was compiled and written as well as what was going on in Lewis' life and the world at the time. This book also goes over some religious and secular critiques of the book Mere Christianity and discusses the book's longevity and wide readership.

    27. Very good storytelling about how the book evolved from a series of radio talks, how Lewis honed it, and how the book very unexpectedly became the most influential book of its kind over the past 65 years. What was best was how Marsden went into the stories of people who have been affected by reading it, and the criticism leveled by both fans and detractors.

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