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God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics
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God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  3,784 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Lewis addresses theological and ethical questions with profoundly Christian insight in these 48 essays. Drawn from a variety of sources and written to meet a variety of needs, the essays range from popular newspaper pieces to learned defenses of the faith.
Paperback, 346 pages
Published March 24th 1972 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (first published 1971)
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Mere Christianity by C.S. LewisKnowing God by J.I. PackerHow Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thou... by Francis A. SchaefferThe Problem of Pain by C.S. LewisKnowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul
Top 100 Christian Books (By Worldview Institute)
36th out of 173 books — 91 voters
American Gods by Neil GaimanAre You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy BlumeThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonCity of God by Augustine of Hippo
54th out of 224 books — 56 voters

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Community Reviews

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This is a collection of essays and letters by C.S. Lewis that mostly aren't available elsewhere. Probably my favorite of all the essays is "Man or Rabbit?", which is a word-picture of conversion. ("All the rabbit in us is to disappear -- the worried, conscientious, ethical rabbit as well as the cowardly and sensual rabbit.")
Some of the essays are less interesting to me, and some of them I don't find interesting at all. But Lewisian gems are sprinkled everywhere, and I like that his curmudgeonly
Jason Mccool
"God in the Dock" is a great collection of essays and letters from C.S. Lewis, compiled and edited by Walter Hooper. For the American readers like myself, the book title (from an essay of the same name) is not referring to God being down at the boat dock, but rather in the dock, or witness stand, in a British court. Modern man has essentially put God on trial, asking Him to defend His existence and right to judge us. This book will appeal to the veteran reader of Lewis's major works looking to f ...more
M. J.
I had read so much fiction of late that I felt almost a necessity to return to some non-fiction; and having no unread books within my grasp I chose one I had read before. I have read this half a dozen times before, since first encountering Lewis in undergrad thirty-mumble years ago, and expect that I will read it as many times again if I live long enough. It is a collection of essays, letters, and published interviews on a broad variety of subjects which the editor has gathered from many sources ...more
Douglas Wilson
Great. Also read in March of 1980.
C.H. Cobb
Reading Lewis is like peering through a freshly washed window into the depths of his soul. A rare communicator among great thinkers and writers, Lewis is able to put deep thoughts on the lower shelf, accessible to the man who has callouses on his hands and dirt under his fingernails.

God in the Dock is a compendium of Lewis’ essays, articles, letters, and a few transcripts of his speeches compiled by editor Walter Hooper, who served briefly as Lewis’ secretary during the illness that took Lewis’
Before I discovered Adrian Plass and Philip Yancey, CS Lewis was unquestionably my favourite Christian author. He still ranks as one of my top three. For apologetics and clear explanations of doctrine, I don't think he has any equal.

However this particular book isn't one of his best. To be fair, it was never intended as a book. It's a collection of Lewis's articles and talks on various topics, which don't really hold together. The chapters are short, and I enjoy his intellectual but clear style
God in the Dock is the first C.S. Lewis book I completed. It was excellent. The essays are short so that I was able to read them as a morning devotional.

I was able to get comfortable with Lewis' style and went on to read 2 or 3 other books by him.

Very enjoyable, especially the chapter which was a Q & A event at an English factory.
Sometimes I forget how great CS Lewis is. Then, I go back and re-read this book and see that the man is a genius. People give him a lot of attention for Narnia, but I think his brilliance shines in his essays.
This is a collection of essays that is outstanding. I took a C.S. Lewis class at Ricks (one of the benefits of attending a church school) and the teacher pulled a lot of material out of this book. It is great.
Adam Shields
Short Review: God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics by CS Lewis - this is a series of 51 essays and a variety of letters that was compiled after Lewis's death. What is interesting is to seek Lewis approach a variety of audiences. He did not speak down, but as he talks about several times in the book, he thought it quite important to be able to speak to different audiences in a way they understand without condescension or dumbing down. There is a fair amount of repetition, but overall th ...more
Scott Hayden
Sep 24, 2012 Scott Hayden rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Daniel Groot, Daniel Lamb
Rich, deep, practical, provoking.
One of those books that I ought to create an outline for for future reference.
This book is a collection of essays on a wide range of topics from theology, ethics and social issues of his time. Lewis has a great command of logic in looking at the implication of holding certain beliefs, taking certain actions or denying truths we hold as self evident. For example, in dealing with the problem of evil, there are several standard theological answers, but Lewis addresses it from the point of view that non-Christian worldviews lack the foundational epistemology necessary to even ...more
This is another collection of essays by CS Lewis. As in "Christian Reflections", some were excellent, some were OK, and a very few I just skipped after reading the first few paragraphs.

There are two quotes that I felt really stood out. The first may be a paraphrase, as I can't find it right now. But I believe it to be darn close. "We do not believe Christianity because we think it is GOOD. We believe Christianity because we think it is TRUE."

And in the same vein, in response to the question of
Jeni Enjaian
A review from my old blog...

Previous to making this huge reading list the only C. S. Lewis books I had read were the Chronicles of Narnia and 'Til we have Faces... none of his nonfiction.

God in the dock is the second of the his nonfiction books that I have read.

To be honest, it took me a while to get into the book and I never really stayed captivated by it. I don't mean to say anything against Lewis' writing because as usual Lewis uses spectacular and striking images. The structure of the book w
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alexis Neal
Editor Walter Hooper has collected an impressive assortment of Lewis's previously unpublished--in book form, at any rate--essays and letters. The topics range from miracles to apologetics to theories of punishment to gender roles. The essays are not terribly long, and the collection is necessarily a bit disjointed, as there is often no connection between the various topics. The individual essays are still quite good, however.

Because Lewis was writing to different audiences at different times, th
I intended to read this book the way I read non-fiction books- pen in hand, highlighter at the read, prepared to mark the important or critical passages, so that the next time I read the book I don't actually have to read the whole thing, just skim over my notes and markings.
Lewis defies such an approach. His thinking and writing are not systematic and cannot be easily summarized, at least not without losing the force of his arguments. To get his whole point you have to read the whole article.
Susetyo Priyojati
This is a collection of (almost) random essays by one of my favorite Christian authors, C.S. Lewis. As such, some discussions are repetitive, while some others stand alone. It is of quality as a work of apologetics (the defense of Christian faith) just like other books by the same writer, though it is quite apparent that he was a bit of a conservative (regarding social classes, gender equalities, etc.) and in some cases not in accord with the political correctness of the present (narrow-sighted ...more
Second time through this diverse and superb collection of essays. Naturalism is left in pieces, but equally valuable are his insights on feminism ("Priestesses in the Church?"), civil rights ("We Have No 'Right to Happiness'", Bulverism and on and on. Every highshool freshman ought to read "On the Reading of Old Books".
Carolyn Thomas
"God in the Dock" is a collection of essays and letters written by Lewis over a period of 24 years, collected and edited by Walter Hooper in book form as an antidote to other publications 'unsettling' to articles of the Christian faith. The collection covers a wide variety of subject matter - anything from 'Vivisection' to 'Xmas and Christmas' - and differ in length and in emphasis, but all written with earnestness because of the high stakes which Lewis believed were involved. For Lewis, to be b ...more
Whether you are a Christian or not, this collection of essays by C.S. Lewis is a challenging & thought-provoking read. Each chapter stands alone as an independent topic, so it's been an ideal book for my Tuesday evening Bible study group. We discuss one or two chapters, per week, and it's been an eye-opening experience to contemplate the differences in viewpoints between atheists and believers. For Christians, it's a lesson in apologetics that may prepare you for responding to tough question ...more
Zachary Robinson
Once again, C.S. Lewis never seizes to amaze me. He is at sometimes comical, darkly serious, and over all a great guide to have on a wonderful journey in understanding Christianity through fresh eyes and fresh hearts.
May 15, 2008 Liz rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: thinkers
I've read bits and pieces of this before -- occasionally I'll pick it up and read the essay with the most random title I can find -- but I just started really reading it. Last night I read the one about why it's a good idea to read older books instead of all contemporary ones. And is he ever right. It made me feel like my brain was going to rot if I didn't read Plato's Republic RIGHT NOW.

UPDATE: I finally finished the whole thing. It's hard to rate a collection of essays as a whole, but while I
Jan 25, 2008 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves CS Lewis
I have a shameless crush on CS Lewis as it is, and this book or previously unpublished essays shows Lewis' versatility as a writer and the attention he pays to his audience; it includes general lectures, academic debates, personal musings, and more. Some of them were harder to get through, but there was gold throughout this book.

My favorite essays:

Dogma and the Universe
Answers to Questions on Christianity
Myth Became Fact
Horrid Red Things
Some Thoughts
On the Reading of Old Books

I only give it four
Doug Morelly
Great set of essays and letters. Lewis is my favorite writer on religious topics. Pretty much everything he wrote is great reading, and full of convincing arguments. Even his space trilogy is pretty good, though I did have trouble finishing it. No need to mention the super Chronicles of Narnia.

This collection of essays allows us to see how Lewis felt about many mundane, as well as important, issues. His books have strengthened my faith and witness. He sees deeply, but explains in a better style
Jason Leonard
What a remarkable journey! Some readers may balk at the sheer scope of content in this collection; Lewis deals with many strictly theological topics, but also with the role of government, capital punishment, liberty, marriage, etc. I enjoy very way Lewis' mind works; the perspective and paradigm with which he deals with each topic. I suppose it is because of that I enjoyed this so much. 20 or so of the 60 different articles are amazing. The rest I thoroughly enjoyed because they gave a good impr ...more
An interesting collection of essays. The reader was very dry (but maybe that is how C.S. Lewis sounded). Lewis was able definitely able to put together a good argument, but some of the material included seemed to be filler, letters to the Church Times etc. It is a book of its time, and many of the arguments would seem misogynist if put forward today (sadly some still are). But it was an interesting listen.
As apologists go Lewis is one of the best. This book contains a variety of theological issues which he handles with skill and efficiency.
Jacob Aitken
Of particular importance is his essay on punishment. If anyone thinks the retribution-model of punishment is barbaric, reflect for a moment on the more humane models. If punishment is to make the criminal better, then why even wait until he has committed a crime? Ethically speaking, on such a gloss, you are morally obligated to imprison him before he commits a crime (for do we not all need to be made better?).

Not surprisingly, the only just and "humane" model for punishment is what God has given
Peter N.
If you ever wanted to know what it was like to open a treasure chest filled with literary, theological, and cultural gold this is it. Many of Lewis' most famous quotes come from this book. I kept stumbling across phrases and think, "So that is where that phrase came from." There are so many topics covered. As usual, Lewis covers them with grace, wit, precision, and humility. I cannot recommend the book highly enough. Not everyone will love every essay, but there are enough diamonds here to be we ...more
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  • The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #3)
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  • Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Study Guide Edition)
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  • On Christian Doctrine
  • The Mind of the Maker
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CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than th ...more
More about C.S. Lewis...
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) The Chronicles of Narnia (Chronicles of Narnia, #1-7) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3) The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6) Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

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“If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.” 89 likes
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” 69 likes
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