Lewis' theology and novels are all well and good, but if you want his best work you need to go to his "day job" - literary criticism. The Discard ImagLewis' theology and novels are all well and good, but if you want his best work you need to go to his "day job" - literary criticism. The Discard Image, his final book before his death, is a prime example of his literary genius. For anyone even remotely interested in medieval thought and/or literature, this is an indispensable resource.
In some ways, the book reminded me of John Walton's The Lost World of Genesis One. In Walton's book, the creation narrative in Genesis is placed within the context of the ancient Near East's model of the universe. By looking at the text through that lens, Walton is able to transform the way the Genesis narrative is viewed and help modern readers step inside the mind of the original author(s) of the Genesis account.
Lewis' book does the same thing for medieval literature. Granted, the medieval writers are far more recent and closer to our modern day, yet their own model of the universe is nearly as foreign as that of the ancient Near East. By showing us how they conceived the cosmos, Lewis opens up whole new dimensions of the work to us. We're able to see significance in where they hold to the model and where they subvert it. We're able to step into their worldview in a way that a modern reader is incapable of doing without such a reference. It's an extraordinary work worth the time of anyone interested in medieval literature or merely in understanding how our forebears understood the world...more
This is really wonderful resource packed full of information. I learned an enormous amount - particularly in the first half. If you're a beer enthusiaThis is really wonderful resource packed full of information. I learned an enormous amount - particularly in the first half. If you're a beer enthusiast or especially a homebrewer this is a must read...more
This was a really helpful book, especially for someone who, like me, is new to the sport. The authors cover the gamut of cycling topics - training plaThis was a really helpful book, especially for someone who, like me, is new to the sport. The authors cover the gamut of cycling topics - training plans, equipment, nutrition, winter riding. That and more is all here. There are several parts that, while not immediately applicable (such as training in winter), I was grateful the book covered as I now know where to go to find good information on those topics when I need to.
The one major complaint I have is the chapter on stretching and maintaining comfort while riding. As nearly any long distance rider knows, comfort more than fitness is what prevents you from being able to sustain a high speed or go a longer distance. The authors describe several stretches - including several to do on the bike - but only a small handful include diagrams. That made one of the essential chapters in the book considerably less helpful.
That complaint aside, I highly recommend this to any and all cyclists looking to learn more about their sport ...more
Awesome book! This one's a must read for anyone interested in the ongoing origins debate.
Those of us who take the Bible seriously are often given a tAwesome book! This one's a must read for anyone interested in the ongoing origins debate.
Those of us who take the Bible seriously are often given a tough choice on Genesis 1. We either interpret the 7 days as 7 literal days and must therefore adopt a young-earth view that doesn't jive well at all with scientific discovery. Or we perform exegetical gymnastics to turn the 7 days into longer time periods (or some other approach) so that we can feel comfortable adopting modern science without rejecting Scripture.
Neither of these alternatives is satisfying. Thankfully, Walton suggests another approach.
His thesis is that Genesis 1 does not refer to material origins but to functional creation. It is not about how God made something out of nothing but how he gave the material he has already made purpose and order.
Walton takes on both sides in the debate. He agrees with the young-earth crowd that those who attempt to read Genesis 1 through an old-earth lens are approaching the passage with a very poor hermeneutic. However, the young-earth interpretation isn't much better. To interpret Genesis 1 as affirming young-earth creationism is to read our culture and language back into the text. Rather than performing a careful, literal exegesis, young-earthers are performing eisegesis, a practice that has never been acceptable for someone trying to take a respectful, literal, conservative approach to Scripture.
The evidence Walton presents for Genesis 1 being function oriented rather than material oriented is overwhelming and very persuasive. He dives into studies of both the cultural context of Genesis 1 and Hebrew linguistics. The research is phenomenal. Far from being a concession to modern science, this approach presents Genesis 1 as it would have been read by the original audience.
Toward the end of the book, Walton looks at the current intelligent design in education debate. He states that science, by definition, should be neutral regarding the supernatural. Intelligent design is not neutral as it assumes a designer and therefore is not in line with science. However, he also acknowledges that what is often taught now is not a neutral position but metaphysical naturalism, which assumes randomness in the same way the ID crowd assumes purpose.
His solution is for both sides to step back, encourage neutrality and promote more philosophical classes in public education where the debate between randomness and design can take place. I think his view is really ideal, however I'm not sure it's practical. Metaphysical naturalism is so entrenched in scientific thought that I'm not sure a neutral position is possible anymore. It would better to have the debate take place entirely outside of science class but that train seems to have left the station.
I believe his proposal is worth serious effort but if neutrality ultimately becomes impossible than ID should be introduced in the classroom as a balance for metaphysical naturalism.
As a whole, this book is incredibly freeing. Christians shouldn't have to feel like there's a choice between science and the Bible and, thanks to people like Walton, we don't have to. His view is that the Bible is silent on the age of the earth and we are therefore free to follow the evidence where it leads. Consider me convinced. This is by far the best of Genesis 1 I've ever encountered. Highly recommended
The second volume in The History of LOTR is no where near as interesting as the first. The material in Return of the Shadow was quite a bit differentThe second volume in The History of LOTR is no where near as interesting as the first. The material in Return of the Shadow was quite a bit different from the end result. It was great stuff.
Unfortunately most of what's in Treason of Isengard is a lot closer to the finished product. There is some good stuff. Tolkien's various outlines are fantastic and watching the development of the story is still great.
But on the whole this reads like a rough draft of the finished product. Great for Tolkien scholars but for even a die hard fan like myself it seemed a bit pointless at times. ...more
Tolkien fanatics and/or would be novelists will loves this. Everyone else will probably be bored silly.
Even for a Tolkien fanatic like me, the book dTolkien fanatics and/or would be novelists will loves this. Everyone else will probably be bored silly.
Even for a Tolkien fanatic like me, the book does get a little dense in places (Middle-Earth geography, dates, some of the footnotes) but those sections are very easy to skip over if you start losing interest.
One interesting side note: the four titles that make up The History of The Lord of the Rings (Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard, The War of the Ring and The End of the Third Age) were all alternate titles for the the volumes of LOTR. Personally, with the exception of End of the Third Age, I like them much better. ...more