C.S. Lewis and the True Myth: A Reconciliation of Theology, Philosophy, and Mythology
History of Religions of Western Origin
Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
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AbstractC.S. Lewis was both a student of pagan philosophy and mythology and a Christian. He never was divided between these two pursuits in his life, though he gave the latter its proper priority. What allowed Lewis to keep this balance was his idea of the gospel as the True Myth, an idea that helped lead to his conversion and remained at the core of his thinking throughout his life. By this idea of True Myth, Lewis was able to not only unite the pagan myths to Christian truth, but also the rest of human thought as well. Thus, in order to understand the nature of this key idea in Lewis’s thinking, this paper outlines what Lewis thought of mythology in general as a human phenomenon that bears explaining. The way in which Lewis saw mythology is analyzed in the first chapter according to the categories of the nature, the origin, and the function of mythology. In the second chapter, Lewis’s thoughts concerning the idea of the True Myth itself are considered. That various dichotomies of thought were united in Lewis’s mind by receiving this new idea is demonstrated. After this, the third chapter shows how Lewis’s thought fits in with historic and Evangelical orthodox Christian theology. It is argued there that Lewis’s idea of the True Myth is compatible with an Evangelical theology, and that it opens up many possibilities for exploration. Some of those possibilities are outlined in chapter four, which considers the union of various concerns of contemporary culture with various Evangelical priorities, a union brought about by the idea of True Myth.