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C.S. Lewis Summer Institute at Oxbridge
July 26 — August 3, 2011

Paradigms of Hope
Transcending Chaos & Transforming Culture


Afternoon Seminars & Workshops


BC-05  — Cosmos or Chaos? C.S. Lewis and the Heavens

Michael Ward

Lewis’ fascination with the heavens was lifelong and deep.  He described Psalm 19 (‘The heavens are telling the glory of God’) as the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the finest lyrics in the world.  Most of Lewis’ readers know that the planets play a large part in his Ransom Trilogy, but much of his other writing on this subject has received little attention.  He described the seven heavens of the medieval cosmos as ‘spiritual symbols of permanent value’ which are ‘especially worthwhile in our own generation.’  Why did he think this?  Was his imaginative embrace of medieval astrology consistent with his Christian faith?  What kind of meaning did he find in the night-sky?  And is it possible that the seven heavens provided him with the imaginative raw materials of his most famous works, the seven Chronicles of Narnia?


Michael Ward Michael Ward— Anglican clergyman and Chaplain of St Peter's College, Oxford. He is the coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and the author of Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis (Oxford University Press, 2008) which became the subject of the BBC television documentary The Narnia Code (2009). He has lectured on Lewis all over the world (Sweden, South Korea, Canada) and very widely in his native United Kingdom and in the United States (e.g., Harvard, Yale, the Library of Congress). A former President of the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society, Dr. Ward lived at The Kilns from 1996-1999, looking after the property on behalf of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. 



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