Theology and Morality through the Lens of C.S. Lewis

Course Instructor:  Philip Rolnick, Ph.D. (Duke University, 1989), is Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas and Chair of the Science and Theology Network (STN) in the Twin Cities.  He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Analogical Possibilities:  How Words Refer to God (Oxford University Press); and Person, Grace, and God (Eedrmans).  He has been awarded the St. Thomas University Scholars Grant to work on a new book on the relationship of science and Christian theology (forthcoming with Baylor University Press).  In addition to his interest in C.S. Lewis, he is a frequently invited guest lecturer on the meaning of personhood and on issues related to science and theology.

Course Information:  Mondays, March 31-May 12, 2014 (no session on April 21), 10:00 a.m.-Noon, Terrence Murphy Hall, Room 260 (Thornton Auditorium), UST Minneapolis Campus

Course Description:  Because C.S. Lewis's theological vision was expressed through his creative imagination, he could portray theology and morality with remarkable vividness.  Topics to be explored include:  Lewis's life and work; concepts of natural law; truth, goodness, and beauty as the ground of the virtues; the cardinal virtues-prudence (practical wisdom), justice, courage, and temperance (self-mastery); the theology virtues-faith, hope, and love; the human soul; cultural relativism; and the Trinity.  Each session will have reading that is highly recommended but not required.  Both experts and beginners are welcome.

Registration fee for the series:  $80.00 per person

To register on-line with a credit card, click on this link:

To register by check or cash through the mail or in-person, click on this link for the registration form to download, print and mail in with your payment: Spring 2014 Registration Form

Link to campus map:  Minneapolis Campus Map

Detailed Course Syllabus (subject to change):

March 31

An Overview of C.S. Lewis's Life and Work

Recommended reading:  Mere Christianity, Book 1, Ch. 1-5, which lays out Lewis's argument for natural law.  For a very short, very easy, but still good biography, read Beatrice Gormley, C.S. Lewis:  The Man Behind Narnia.  For a long, detailed, and good biography, read George Sayer, Jack:  A Life of C.S. Lewis.

April 7

The True, Good, and Beautiful as the Ground of the VIrtues and the Ingredients of Love.  The First Cardinal Virtue:  Prudence or Self-Mastery.

Recommended reading:  Mere Christianity, Book III, Chapters 1-2.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Ch. 1-6.

April 14

Jesus' Paradox that explains much of Lewis (Mark 8:35).  The Second, Third, and Fourth Cardinal Virtues:  Justice, Courage, and Temperance (Self-Mastery).

Recommended reading:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Ch. 7-11.

April 21 No Session
April 28

The Theological Virtues-Faith, Hope, and Love.

Recommended reading:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Ch. 12-17; Mere Christianity, Book III, Ch. 11-12 ("Faith"), Book III, Ch. 10 ("Hope"), and Book III, Ch. 9 ("Charity").  (For the very ambitious, Lewis's The Four Loves would be good additional reading.)

May 5

The Human Soul.  Cultural Relativism.

Recommended reading:  The Great Divorce, Ch. 1-8 (this delightful work is about a field trip from hell to heaven, but even more, it is about human character and the soul); "Men without Chests" in The Abolition of Man (this chapter addresses cultural relativism, as it had already begun in 1944 in English education).

May 12

The Trinity

Recommended reading:  Mere Christianity, Book IV, Ch. 2 ("The Three-Personal God").  This last session will be a theological "grab-bag," during which we will address participants' questions and interests.