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God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  6,777 ratings  ·  261 reviews
"Lewis struck me as the most thoroughly converted man I ever met," observes Walter Hooper in the preface to this collection of essays by C. S. Lewis. "His whole vision of life was such that the natural and the supernatural seemed inseparably combined."It is precisely this pervasive Christianity which is demonstrated in the forty-eight essays comprising God in the Dock. Her ...more
Paperback, 346 pages
Published March 24th 1972 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (first published July 2nd 1971)
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Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I once heard a pastor/theologian say CS Lewis was overrated. Now, I like this person and have found his work helpful. But I can't help but wonder he made this judgment based on reading very few Lewis books and knowing nothing about Lewis' life. The more I learn about Lewis, the more I am amazed by his work. Yet, if you just read Mere Christianity and The Chronicles of Narnia, maybe also Screwtape Letter, sure, he may seem over-rated.

God in the Dock is the longest Lewis book I've seen, maybe only
Apr 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
It’s a mashup of Lewis’s thoughts over various different times. Long and sometimes rambly, but rich with insights if you take the time to stop and think.

One of the older essay collections, assembled by Hooper. Anthologies like this show that good ideas rolled off Lewis in waves, in whatever he happened to be writing. Fascinating to see the same idea at play in various different spots. I read this with a pencil in hand and underlined something on nearly every other page.

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Jan 22, 2019 marked it as to-read
Read "The Dangers of National Repentance" for the first time on Jan. 22, 2019. Incredibly insightful and incisive. H. L. Mencken was no saint, but his comment "The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it" seems related.
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood, best-of
An excellent collection of pivotal ideas. I requested & received this book as my 15th or 16th birthday present on the strength of a single quote from the titular essay, and devoured the whole.

Lewis developed many of the ideas from these early periodical publications into books or book chapters, and they weren't always improved by the expansion.

On the other hand, as he got older he became more circumspect in his self-editing, so that his earlier works at times reveal prejudices which he later o
Douglas Wilson
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Great. Also read in March of 1980.
An interesting collection of essays on a variety of topics from miracles, to the celebration of Christmas, to the penal system.

If you’ve ever wondered about the saved man of Calormen in The Last Battle, there are a couple essays in here that expound on that concept.

The essay on Apologetics is particularly helpful, and it is one well-worth revisiting again.

There were some that left me a little confused as to what kind of news from America, especially as regards to systematized racism of the time,
Jason Mccool
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
"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
Luke Miller
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read a number of books from Lewis, but I don't think I have savored one as much as this one. This is due in large part to the style of the book. "God in the Dock" is a collection of 60 letters and essays, so it's kind of like picking C.S. Lewis' brain over coffee... minus the coffee.

When I read Lewis, it feels like I am reaping a harvest, but as time passes, I realize that it was really more like planting for one. At times, Lewis is very quotable. Every good author is. But he is more than
Ryan Hawkins
This is my last book read of 2018, completing virtually all of C.S. Lewis’ works. It was a fantastic way to end.

At 380 pages (and denser pages than the typical Harper Collins Lewis publications), this was the longest Lewis book I read all year. But as with Weight of Glory and other ‘books,’ this is simply a collection of essays. But I’d say this is the best collection. About a half of it is apologetics, which I really enjoy. I’d say reading Lewis’ apologetic essays here were clearer than in Mira
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat hit or miss. But, some of the best chapters are incredible! Worth a read.
Jon Beadle
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fantastic collection of responses, letters, and essays on many cultural collection.
G.M. Burrow
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, inklings
Excellent. Favorite essays: Christian Apologetics, Man or Rabbit, The Trouble With “X,” Dangers of National Repentance, On the Reading of Old Books, Bulverism, and The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment.
M. J.
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-non-fiction
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
Collin Coffee
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I had to recommend to you an essay collection by C. S. Lewis, then THIS WOULD IT BE!!!
Walter Hooper has done a very great job in compiling this essay collection....
I must confess that in the art of writing, the essay form versus the novel or even novellas has capture and gain my heart.
It even was neglected by me, so as for example other peoples neglect short stories or non fiction literature....
And so "God in the Dock" by C. S. Lewis will not disappoint, it is witty and insightful written, co
Dec 30, 2014 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book. At one moment it would be delightful, then next abominable theology, and the next the best theology I've heard in a long time. Definitely one to cherry pick from and re read in the future
Mia Parviainen
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book on my shelf for years; I had read the first essay and was impressed with it, but then set it aside for far too long. It was time to tackle this collection of essays and correspondence by Lewis. Editor Walter Hooper assembled the various texts and organized them into four sections. In his preface, Hooper explains that Part I is theological, Part II is semi-theological, Part III is on ethics, and Part IV are letters in chronological order.

Casual readers of C.S. Lewis (i.e. thos
Karly Noelle White
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This collection, an assortment of unrelated essays, interviews, letters, and articles that were never intended for publication, let alone publication together in one volume, is a conundrum. Because of the varying themes and styles in the documents contained within, as well as the timeline ranging several decades, God in the Dock runs the gamut of Lewis, representing him at both his absolute best and his absolute worst, his most insightful and his most close-minded, his most progressive and his m ...more
Donald Owens II
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those grandly frustrating books that is so quotable it is not. In seeking a reasonable division for a quote, one finds he has posted to Facebook the entire book. Some parts, like "Modern Translations of the Bible", I feel like I wrote. Others, like "Priestesses in the Church?" and "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment" are prophetic. Not by design, but because we have grown so absurd, his reductios are now fulfilled predictions. Excepting Walter Hooper’s coattail-riding foreword, ...more
John Elliott
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the past several months, I’ve started each day by reading an essay from this collection, a tradition I’m somewhat sad to see end. The experience only solidified Lewis’ standing as my favorite author, dead or alive. Particularly enjoyed “The Trouble with ‘X’”, “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness’”, “First and Second Things” and “The Sermon and the Lunch”. A memorable excerpt from the latter:

“If a man can’t be comfortable and unguarded, can’t take his ease and ‘be himself’ in his own house, where
Ian Major
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
His theology is weak in many places, but he has a lot of sound observations.

The book's title derives from Lewis's comments on p.100: 'The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge: if God should have a reasonable defence for being the god who permits war, poverty and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God's acquitt
Jacob Van Sickle
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lewis
Great collection of Lewis essays. The following essays are especially rich:

- “Christian apologetics” - great introduction on how to do apologetics
- “On the transmission of Christianity” - why are young people so messed up? Because old people are messed up.
- “dangers of national repentance”- young people tend to “repent” for their past ancestors instead of repenting of their own sins.
- “on reading old books” - reading old books helps us escape our cultural moment.
-“Priestesses in the church” -
Andrew T.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think every Christian should have a copy on their bookshelf for reference. I know I'll be buying one.
John Funderburg
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some exceptional thoughts on still-relevant issues by one of history's greatest Christian apologists. Lewis has a way of writing about complex issues that is both challenging and accessible.
Tarah Lewis
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some very interesting essays, most of which I had not read before. A few of them were a bit too ethereal but most had very practical applications and insights. Totally worth a read!
C.H. Cobb
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
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’
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious
I think I like some of Lewis’ other books better that are all based on one theme and purpose and message, but there were still some good quotes in this book that is a compilation of some of his essays on theology and ethics. Lots of good things to think about. Here were some of my favorites:

“Complete ignorance of the laws of Nature would preclude the perception of the miraculous just as rigidly as complete disbelief in the supernatural precludes it, perhaps even more so (p. 10).”

“It depends, of
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book of essays. Of course, like any book of essays, I didn't love every single one, but overall this volume was fun to read. Lewis's humor comes across in many of the essays and had me actually chuckling out loud. There were some essays I skimmed, some essays I did not understand, but then there were essays that were so true and insightful (as Lewis tends to be), and I have underlined many portions of this book. The book is broken up by essay and in sections, so there are l ...more
Adam Shields
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Clive Staples Lewis 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

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