Monday, September 27, 2010


"Now what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was this: that if I met the idea of sacrifice in a Pagan story I didn’t mind it at all; again, that if I met the idea of a god sacrificing himself to himself, I liked it very much and was mysteriously moved by it: again, that the idea of the dying and reviving god… similarly moved me provided I met it anywhere except in the Gospels. The reason was that in Pagan stories I was prepared to feel the myth as profound and suggestive of meanings beyond my grasp even tho’ I could not say in cold prose 'what it meant'.

'Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened and one must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God’s myth, where the others are men’s myth....

'The 'doctrines' we get out of the true myth are of course less true: they are translations into our concepts and ideas of that what God has already expressed in a language more adequate, namely the actual incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. Does this amount to a belief in Christianity? At any rate I am now certain (a) That this Christian story is to be approached, in a sense, as I approach the other myths. (b) That it is the most important and full of meaning.

'I am also nearly certain that it really happened"

Letter from one Clive Staples Lewis to Arthur Greeves, October, 1931

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  1. This looks like it could be even more interesting than (and very much connected to) your last series of posts...

  2. I think the series started with 'Epilogue' so they're probably both part of the same thing and Andrew is freakin' out the squares with these swapped names.

  3. Yeah. Sorry. Thank you for not using the expression "too clever by half".

  4. Oh well. That's what I get for reading and commenting at work.

  5. Mr. Rilstone, have you ever happened upon Mr. Machens "Hieroglyphics: A Note upon Ecstasy in Literature"?

    It is not impertinent to your subject.

    Mr. Lovecraft was quite ravished by it, anyway.

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  7. One of those passages that makes me really like C.S. Lewis, despite his hatred for lipstick, invitations etc :) I remember certain fundies getting upset about the "true myth" business - but Lewis's rather Inclusivist theory seems very attractive to me - the idea that all these myths have a hint of one true Myth. It's all in Plato, what do they teach them in these schools?

    However, as an agnostic, the part I find most attractive is undoubtedly "I am also nearly certain that it really happened". Bless you for that 'nearly' sir :)