Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What would Jack say?

C.S. Lewis has some helpful advice when considering what to read next. There is always some new book coming out that "everyone must read" and packages itself as some new take. Lewis cautions the reader with some very timely words:

"A new book is still on trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light. Often it cannot be fully understood without the knowledge of a good many other modern books. If you join at eleven o'clock a conversation which began at eight you will often not see the real bearing of what is said... The only safety is to have a standard of plain, central Christianity ("mere Christianity" as Baxter called it) which puts the controversies of the moment in their proper perspective. Such a standard can be acquired only from the old books. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between."

The above quotation is an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' introduction to Athanasius' classic work, On the Incarnation.

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