Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity

O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal; grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Natural Lawyer Jokes, Part I

Christianity … is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, complex, and exacting doctrine, steeped in a drastic and uncompromising realism. … Teachers and preachers never make it sufficiently clear, I think, that dogmas are not a set of arbitrary regulations invented a priori by a committee of theologians enjoying a bout of all-in dialectical wrestling. Most of them were hammered out under pressure of urgent practical necessity to provide an answer to heresy. And heresy is, as I have tried to show, largely the expression of opinion of the untutored average man, trying to grapple with the problems of the universe at the point where they begin to interfere with his daily life and thought.

Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos?

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The anonymous Scottish Catholic blogger Lazarus Redivivus recently tweeted something or other linking to a paper from a couple of years ago, written by one Dr Edward Feser, critiquing ‘New Natural Law Theory’ in defense of its more fully Scholastic predecessor. Natural Law Theory is the sort of thing that it’s just about impossible not to get by the eyeful when you read Catholics writing about homosexuality, so I’m not totally unfamiliar, but this was a distinction I hadn’t come across before so I surrendered to my curiosity.

I started having problems with it immediately, which was delicious. People don’t usually realize how spacious Catholicism really is. Seeing it from the outside, they perceive the dogmas merely as boundaries—and they are in one sense, but they are much more like LEGOs: the defined structure is what lets you do all the fun stuff.

Dr Feser writes:

Among the features that crucially distinguish the ‘old’ natural law theory from the ‘new’ is the former’s grounding of ethics in specifically Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysical foundations. … It presuppose an essentialism according to which natural substances possess essences that are objectively real (rather than inventions of the human mind or mere artifacts of language) … and a teleologism according to which the activities and processes characteristic of a natural substance are ‘directed toward’ certain ends or outcomes, and inherently so, by virtue of the nature of the thing itself … Some objections to the ‘old’ natural law theory rest on a failure to understand its Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysical background … One such objection (famously raised by ‘New Natural Lawyers’ as well as by secularist critics) is … that the ‘old’ natural law theory commits a ‘naturalistic fallacy’ by failing to take notice of the ‘fact/value distinction.’ For from the Aristotelian-Thomistic point of view, there simply is no ‘fact/value distinction’ in the first place. More precisely, there is no such thing as a purely ‘factual’ description of reality utterly divorced from ‘value,’ for ‘value’ is built into the structure of the ‘facts’ from the start.1

Now, I’m as Thomistic as the next chap when it comes to metaphysics. But this doesn’t mean that the fact-value distinction has no merit: indeed, Feser immediately provides examples of what is meant by the fact-value distinction, such as that of the triangle, which (in principle) has three perfectly straight sides and three angles inevitably adding up to 180°, but of which any drawn example will be in some measure imperfect. In other words, observed facts alone—without the intervention of the intuitive mind, which perceives the meaning contained in the facts but not constituted by the facts—don’t reveal the Euclidean form of triangularity. What may be known about triangles is clearly seen, being understood by those which are made; but no man hath seen a Euclidean triangle at any time.

The Adoration of the Name of God, Francisco de Goya, 1772

To Thomists this may seem like mere nitpicking—how else were you supposed to perceive significance except with a mind?—but the distinction is immensely important. The popular conception of natural law is based on exactly this misunderstanding, that ‘natural law’ means ‘everything that happens is supposed to,’ which is inconsistent not only with Thomism but with any meaningful belief in a loving God.

And conversely, I think Thomists are far too ready to take their point of view as obvious and rationally irrefutable2: terms like ‘common sense,’ ‘self-evident,’ and ‘objective’ seem to abound in their writings; and when we find ourselves using words of that kind, we should always scrutinize whatever it is we’ve applied them to, for as often as not they’re a sign that we don’t want to mount a defense for that part of our argument—for which there are many possible explanations, some less flattering than others. In order to dismiss the fact-value distinction on the ground that values are inherent in facts (never mind the Fall!), some Thomists seem prepared to claim that there can’t be any real doubt about what values inhere in the facts. That every living thing in fact dies, for instance, does not at all diminish the Thomist’s enthusiasm for the assertion that living things naturally seek to preserve their lives; nor, to do them justice, does their admiration for self-preservation at all inhibit their admiration for martyrdom.

The practical problem of this kind of overconfidence comes out as Dr Feser’s argument proceeds.

Like the other, non-rational animals, we have various ends inherent in our nature, and these determine what is good for us. In particular, Aquinas tells us, ‘all those things to which man has a natural inclination, are naturally apprehended by reason as being good’ … By ‘inclination’ he does not necessarily mean something consciously desired, and by ‘natural’ he doesn’t mean something merely psychologically deep-seated … What he has in mind is rather the natural teleology of our capacities, their inherent ‘directedness’ toward certain ends. … Of course, there is often a close correlation between what nature intends and what we desire. Nature wants us to eat so that we’ll stay alive, and sure enough we tend to want to eat. Given that we are social animals, nature intends for us to avoid harming others, and for the most part we do want to avoid this. And so forth. At the same time, there are people (such as anorexics and bulimics) who form very strong desires not to eat what they need to eat in order to survive and thrive; and at the other extreme there are people whose desire for food is excessive. Some people are not only occasionally prone to harm others, but are positively misanthropic or sociopathic. … Hence, though in general and for the most part our desires match up with nature’s purposes, this is not true in every single case. … ‘Natural’ for the Aristotelian-Thomistic philosopher … has instead to do with the final causes inherent in a thing by virtue of its essence, and which it possesses whether or not it ever realizes them or consciously wants to realize them.3

To which the less Aristotelian-Thomistic reader might pardonably reply, ‘If no particular instance of nature can be trusted to show what nature intends, how the hell am I supposed to know those intentions?’

That, I think, is the weakness in the Thomist’s armor. Having already said (reasonably enough) that the activities and processes characteristic of a natural substance are ‘directed toward’ certain ends … inherently … by virtue of the nature of the thing itself, I for one have yet to come across a Thomist offering a satisfyingly objective method for determining which characteristic qualities and behaviors should count as natural and which should count as aberrant. Sinning is extremely characteristic of humanity.

Is natural law known by the simple majority of what we do with our impulses? I’m pretty wary of that, especially when it comes to sex4: I wouldn’t like be the surety for either the intentions or the results of most human orgasms, even if that were discoverable. Nor are certain of Dr Feser’s key assertions about sex in the animal kingdom wholly accurate: e.g., ‘That sex considered from a purely biological point of view exists for the sake of procreation is uncontroversial,’ when in fact the discovery of homosexual behavior among monkeys, swans, sheep, giraffes, lions, penguins, bison, and literally hundreds of other species, certainly allows (though it does not compel) us to posit that sex has a social function even at the animal level, not only a procreative one. The problem here isn’t that there are a bunch of counterexamples, and so Thomist metaphysics must be wrong: the point is, granted Thomist metaphysics, what method do we use to discern the inherent natures in the midst of this sea of inconsistent (or at the least, contrasting) examples of characteristic behavior?

I don’t think that the Thomist position is irrecoverable. As I said above, I’m a Thomist myself.5 But I do think it’s less watertight than some of its advocates assert. In my next few posts, I plan to engage further with Dr Feser’s essay and, hopefully, find some ways of reconstructing the Thomist synthesis.

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1Neo-Scholastic Essays, pp. 379-380. (I’m working from a PDF that contains only this essay, but the page numbers of the original are dutifully noted therein.)
2Which is not, I think, a charge that can easily be levelled at St Thomas himself; but in zeal, nearly every pupil is above his teacher and every servant above his master. Msgr. Ronald Knox, Catholic chaplain of Oxford from 1926 to 1939, is a good counterexample to that bad habit, particularly in his explanation of invincible ignorance; G. K. Chesterton is another, not only in his friendship with men like Orwell and Shaw, but in his very writings on the Angelic Doctor. He was perfectly confident in his Thomism, but he shows that he appreciates the difficulties it involved, and the fact that a rational person might somehow not be a Thomist:
‘[St Thomas’] argument for Revelation is not in the least an argument against Reason. On the contrary, he seems inclined to admit that truth could be reached by a rational process, if only it were rational enough; and also long enough. Indeed, something in his character … led him rather to exaggerate the extent to which all men would ultimately listen to reason. … Only his common sense also told him that the argument never ends. I might convince a man that matter as the origin of Mind is quite meaningless, if he and I were very fond of each other and fought each other every night for forty years. But long before he was convinced on his deathbed, a thousand other materialists would have been born, and nobody can explain everything to everybody.’ (St Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox, pp. 14-15.)
3Neo-Scholastic Essays, pp. 383-384.
4I mention sex because Dr Feser’s essay is primarily a defense of the ‘old’ Scholastic approach to, and defense of, Catholic sexual mores, in contrast to the New Natural Law school descending from Germain Grisez.
5An eclectic one, anyway. I’ve got a heaping helping of Scotism, too, largely thanks to the romantic and esoteric theology of Charles Williams.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

To Jerusalem

The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

The Gospel According to Saint John, 4.xix-xxii

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Symbol of St John the Evangelist from the Book of Kells, ca. 800

The Gospel of John is remarkably elegant. Its style isn’t typical of Greek, but it’s beautiful, and its structure is subtly intricate; I’m convinced there’s not a word in the book that was put there without thought. In my last semester of college, one of my courses was an independent study of John, and in 6.9, at the feeding of the five thousand, the passing mention of the loaves being made of barley establishes it as coming from a poorer family—the well-to-do preferred wheat bread. The detail is just phenomenal.

I’ve been going over the Gospel again, with an eye to the specifically Jewish content and significance of its material.1 In particular, I’ve been reading up a bit on the practices of the various feasts, and I think I’m seeing them thematically reflected throughout the book. The basic structure of John is twofold: the first twelve chapters form what’s sometimes called the Book of Signs, while the next eight form the Book of Glory, with a prologue (1.1-18) and an epilogue (all of 21) rounding out the book. Vague mentions of a feast of the Jews are made in a couple of places; festivals mentioned by name include Passover (2.13, 6.4, 11.55), Sukkot (7.2), and Chanukkah (10.22). I think the whole structure of the Book of Signs is built around several of these feasts.

First there is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. At the time of Christ’s ministry, this was the one day of the year when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant had been kept,2 and sprinkled sacrificial blood before the presence of God to obtain forgiveness for the sins of Israel. Now, we are not told what time of year it was when Jesus was baptized, so this is pure conjecture; but the Baptist uses the address Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world only here; and the fact that a wedding (2.1-11) follows so quickly afterward may reflect the custom of holding weddings shortly after Yom Kippur, a custom which seems to be at least as old as the Mishnah.3 If my guess is correct, that these motifs are meant to evoke the Day of Atonement, then this—like the cleansing of the Temple that immediately follows (2.13-22), which took place just before the Crucifixion—thematically situates Christ’s whole activity in the priestly sacrifice of the Cross. And in John, the Passion and the Resurrection are treated almost as a single event: one of the refrains of the Gospel is the Son of Man must be lifted up, which suggests the elevation of the Cross, the rising from the dead, and the Ascension all in one. It is a three-in-one act, the Exaltation.

After this there comes an explicit reference to Passover, and Jesus is shown cleansing the Temple (anachronistically, because John freely arranges his material for its significance, rather like Matthew) and having a private conversation with Nicodemus, the famous ‘born again’ discourse. Here a new theme comes in, that of the water of life; obviously John the Baptist’s ministry of penitential washing has already been touched upon,4 but the association of water with new life begins here in 3.5, where the Lord insists that Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. He then goes in a slightly different direction, alluding to the Exaltation. But after this, he and his disciples leave Jerusalem and perform baptisms, and the Baptist again bears witness to him; and after that, the theme of water comes out still more strongly in Christ’s address to the Samaritan at the well in Sychar.

But in that discourse I think we see a shift, gathering themes around a new feast. An unspecified festival is noted in 5.1, for which Jesus went to Jerusalem: only three festivals were standard occasions for pilgrimage, those of Passover, Shavuot (or Pentecost), and Sukkot, and I think this one is Shavuot. Liturgically, it commemorated the giving of the Torah at Sinai; culturally, it marked the wheat harvest.

Hints at these themes are given in chapters 4 and 5. First, the Samaritan woman asks Jesus about the controversy over whether to worship on Mount Zion or Mount Gerizim, and he replies (among other things) that Ye worship ye know not what: we know what worship: for salvation is of the Jews; second, he makes an extensive analogy about the harvest in speaking to the Apostles (4.35-38); and thirdly, throughout 5, allusions are made to the preëminence and authority of the Torah—the dispute begins because of works done on the Sabbath (vv. 10-18), the legal requirements for witnesses are discussed (vv. 30-37), and finally direct reference is made to the Scriptures and to Moses and to the Jews’ diligence in studying them (vv. 39, 45-47). All of this is consistent with the unnamed feast of the Jews in 5.1 being Shavuot.

In chapter 6 we return to Passover.5 Here the theme Jesus picks up is that of the manna given to the Israelites in the wilderness; as the first Passover in chapters 2 and 3 touched on themes of new life given in baptism, so this touches on new life given in the Eucharist, and the next is immediately preceded by the resurrection of Lazarus. The increasing identity of Christ with life in the context of Passover—you must be born from above as I am from above; I am the bread of life; I am life—makes the Resurrection of chapter 20 artistically inevitable.

The next feast mentioned is Sukkot, which in Hebrew means tabernacles or booths, so named for the tents in which they dwelt while in the wilderness. (They ritually dwell in similar tents during Sukkot to this day, as the Torah commands.) The teaching of Jesus in chapters 7 and 86 takes the form almost of a cross-examination: Jesus, the people, and the priests alternate assertions and jabs and questions with each other, with Jesus testifying on his own behalf, the people quarreling over the meaning and credibility of his testimony like a hung jury, and the priests making accusations and a foiled attempt at an arrest.7

In the course of this teaching, the Lord identifies himself with the inner meaning of the feast. One of the most joyous rituals in the whole Jewish year was the pouring of water on the altar in the Temple (water drawn from the pool of Siloam, the same place that Jesus sends the blind man to be cured at in chapter 9), performed every morning during Sukkot; the Mishnah3 states that ‘He who has not seen the rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life.’ And on the last day of the festival, he says, He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water: the believer is identified with the altar, and the cryptically foretold Paraclete with the joy of Sukkot.

This transitions—a little oddly, to modern sensibilities—into Chanukkah, hinted at in chapters 8 and 9 and mentioned directly in chapter 10. I say ‘a little oddly’ because, in modern Judaism, Chanukkah is not that big a deal. A pleasant enough feast, but a minor one. I get the impression that it was a bigger deal in Christ’s day; the Temple was still standing, so the festival of its dedication was probably more enjoyable, and it may have had nationalistic and irredentist associations too, since the Jews were unhappy with both Roman domination and the Herodian dynasty, and Chanukkah recalled the glory of the Maccabees’ rebellion. Regardless, the symbolism of light becomes pronounced in chapter 9 with the cure of the blind man. I am the light of the world in 8.12 adumbrates the new theme, as well as recalling the prologue’s dramatic the life was the light of men, and the light shineth in darkness; the dictum is repeated in 9.5, followed by a cross-examination of the healed blind man (echoing the cross-examinations of the Baptist in the first chapter and of Jesus in the previous two), and then by an allusion to the Festival of Lights in 10.22, one of the very few times when John gives us a specific date. Christ has already associated himself with the Temple in 2.19. Here, in making himself the light, he again links his own person to the Temple, and indeed to a rebuilt and rededicated Temple, purified of unclean influences.

After the extended and increasingly tense conflict of chapters 7 through 10, we come to chapter 11, whose chief events (as we know from v. 55) took place not too long before Passover. We have again come full circle, and the life which is the light is again at the forefront. The raising of Lazarus from the dead provokes the plan to have Jesus killed, so that, in addition to being the seventh of the great miracles of the Book of Signs, it forms a magnificent foreshadowing of how the Book of Glory is going to proceed. And although Passover is famous for the death of all the firstborn in Egypt—and Christ, the firstborn over creation and firstborn of the dead, as St Paul has it, is not exempted—Passover is here made the means of life, for life as such cannot be killed, and when you try it just comes back. The Lord has already warned the Sanhedrin that as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. Jesus’ identity as Life has been one of the main themes of the Gospel from the very beginning, increasingly so with each Passover, and at this one, the identification becomes complete.

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1A lot of critics regard John as anti-Semitic; I don’t think he is, but it’s understandable: he regularly identifies Jesus’ opponents simply as the Jews, rather than the Pharisees or the chief priests that the Synoptics tend to use. On the other hand, he shows as much insight into Judaism as Matthew does, and he omits Matthew’s His blood be upon us and our children, while being the only evangelist to record Jesus saying (to a Samaritan no less) Salvation is from the Jews. It’s speculated that John’s Gospel was written after the decisive break between the church and the synagogue, and that his usage reflects that strife.
2The Ark was lost at the time the Temple of Solomon was destroyed (around 586 BCE). Ezekiel 10-11 describes the glory of the Lord departing from that Temple, which may or may not also be a coded commemoration of the Ark being removed by the prophets before Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem; II Maccabees 2.4-8 records that Jeremiah concealed the Ark in an unknown place.
3The Mishnah is the first part of the Talmud, which for Orthodox Jews is the authoritative compilation of interpretation and commentary on the Scriptures. The Mishnah was compiled around the beginning of the third century CE, but it’s derived from older rabbinic sources, at least some of which may well date back to the life of Christ.
4And echoed, in the account of the miracle at Cana. A large quantity of water was changed into wine, something like a hundred and fifty gallons, but the evangelist also notes the reason they had all that water around in the first place: not just because, duh, it’s an arid climate and you need a lot of water anyway, but specifically for Jewish purification rituals.
5The exact dates of Jesus’ life are not known. However, according to one theory (which places Herod the Great’s death in 1 BCE, instead of the formerly accepted date of 4 BCE), Jesus could have begun his ministry around 30 CE and been crucified in the year 33, so that the old conventional date happened to be right after all. If this theory is correct, then—allowing for John’s willingness to arrange by theme instead of chronologically—it’s possible to get a rough idea of when most of these festivals were specifically, e.g., the Passover before which the miraculous feeding happened would’ve been our 14th April of the year 32, the miracle itself presumably happening in late March. But do remember, fun though it is to guess about this stuff, this is guesswork. Do not build convictions on it.
6Note, however, that John 7.53-8.11, the pericope adulteræ or ‘passage about the adulteress,’ is (almost) certainly misplaced. The oldest manuscripts do not have it, it interrupts the flow of the Gospel, its style is atypical of John, and it is sometimes found in other places, such as appended to the end of John, or occasionally even in Luke. The passage is generally accepted by scholars and is quoted by several early Church Fathers, but it probably its right place is elsewhere. (My guess is that it properly belongs to Luke. Why the misplacement happened is uncertain, though the inconsistency of the manuscript traditions was noted even in antiquity, and some of the Fathers conjectured that certain teachers had excised the passage for being ‘soft’ on adultery; it may also have gone astray due to arrangements of early lectionaries.)
7Although I don’t say much about it in this post, another prominent motif in the Gospel of John is that of a court. Witness and judgment are frequent terms in the gospel, and, by evoking the trials of Holy Week almost from the beginning (by referring to St John the Baptist as a witness and by relating the cleansing of the Temple early on, instead of in sequential order after the Triumphal Entry), the author of John turns the whole work into something like the minutes of a trial. But it is, also, a sort of reënactment of Jesus’ trial, inviting, and challenging, the reader of the gospel to make a judgment of faith.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

From a Thirty-Second Century Dissertation on C. S. Lewis

The following material is excerpted from the famous doctoral thesis of the esteemed J. O. Trottelmann, Ph. Dim., Do. L. T., &c. His best-known series of books, published between 3130 and 3160 CE, revolutionized the contemporary understanding of the Inklings; this thesis of 3126 was where that work began. The modern student of his work will doubtless be fascinated by this glimpse into Dr. Trottelmann’s early mind.

Brutus Raca, Doctor of Divinity, St Amyalus College, Cambridge

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The conventional orthodoxy in which we were raised must, alas, be put to rest by serious scholarship. Modern science has made it impossible to believe that a single man like the putative C. S. Lewis, armed only with such primitive technologies as the pen or at most the typewriter, could have completed the multitude of volumes attributed to him; nor could the diversity of styles discernible in the many works written under the ægis of his thought truly proceed all from a single author. Let us, therefore, sweep away the lovely yet in the end only customary reverence for the supposed Inklings, and see what the mastery of a more progressive age can discern beneath the pious fictions of our forebears.

In point of fact, the works attributed to C. S. Lewis can be safely stated to have been written by a minimum of eight discrete authors, whom I shall notate as T, O, C, J, N, A, S, and L. T is the theological source, who articulated the arguments underlying most of the apologetic corpus (though he did not make the final redaction of these works which we possess today). O represents the Oxford source, the work of a literary scholar who sought to aggrandize his work by attaching it to that of the T source. C refers to N. W. Clerk, the name under which A Grief Observed was originally published, before that author similarly availed himself of the greater prestige of Lewis’ name and feigned that his own name was a mere pseudonym. J was the author of Surprised by Joy, who gave an imaginative account of Lewis’ early life, possibly based in part on the testimony of someone who knew the Lewis family. N is the Narnia source, who composed most though not all of the material we know as the Chronicles of Narnia. A, the Aslan source, revised and expanded material inherited from N. S was the main (though not sole) author behind the Space Trilogy. Finally we have L, the Lewis source proper, who collocated and redacted the documents of his seven predecessors, and established them as the work of the supposed Oxford don and Christian apologist.

Whether there was a historical C. S. Lewis is a problem I do not propose to examine much; the multitude of his supposed names (Clive Staples Lewis, Clive Hamilton, N. W. Clerk in some accounts, and the curious mononym Jack) is certainly a mark against the hypothesis, there being no reason for one individual to have so many. But on the other hand, in dividing the Lewisian corpus, I am already so upsetting the conventions of eleven hundred years that I can scarcely afford to embroil myself still further in controversies.

But to return to the thrust of the argument. Sources O, C, and J, I presume to require little argument as not authentically Lewisian. The content, style, and vocabulary of O (to whom I assign the entirety of The Allegory of Love, The Discarded Image, An Experiment in Criticism, A Preface to ‘Paradise Lost,’ and Studies in Words, along with most of the putatively Lewisian half of Arthurian Torso and certain parts of Reflections on the Psalms) are all markedly different from the rest of the corpus, reflecting O’s career as an Oxonian academic, in contrast to the purported career Lewis enjoyed as an apologist and a writer of fiction. (This will require further deconstruction later, naturally.) Likewise, the intimate style, the doubts, the emotional strain, and the mystical resolution evinced by C are in stark contrast to the other works attributed to Lewis, and the fact that C’s work was originally published as the work of one ‘N. W. Clerk’ is yet another indication that its later attribution to Lewis is fallacious. Likewise, while L (and perhaps T) make passing references to the biography of Lewis, only J gives it any shape or content, and is so transparently concerned to give background to the other writings that we can confidently place J as not only a distinct source from the others, but the last to make a major contribution, before L’s redaction of the corpus into a pseudo-cohesive whole.

This leaves us with the theological source, T, and the fictional sources, N, A, and S. I take T to be the mind behind The Abolition of Man, God In the Dock, Letters to Malcolm, Mere Christianity, Miracles, The Problem of Pain, a rudimentary form of Reflections on the Psalms (later edited by the O source), The Screwtape Letters, The Seeing Eye, The Weight of Glory, and—tentatively—The Great Divorce; these display enough shared vocabulary, style, and theological content that they can be safely regarded as the work of a single author. (Dr Clare Kashikoku of Yokohama’s St Paul Miki University, a proponent of the traditional three-source theory, has argued that the Chronicles of Narnia should be added to this list; my reasons for dissenting from her opinion should become clear when I treat of the fictional sources.)

We must dismiss the customary assumption that The Four Loves belongs on this list as well. In terms of technique, it is a Lewisian product of the first order; however, it is so divergent from the other works listed in terms of subject matter, and fails so totally to reflect T’s apologetic concerns, that the idea of its being from the same pen as Mere Christianity is, well—untenable for the serious scholar.