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God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics | [C. S. Lewis]

God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

C. S. Lewis was a profound thinker with the rare ability to communicate the philosophical and theological rationale of Christianity in simple yet amazingly effective ways. God in the Dock contains 48 essays and 12 letters written by Lewis between 1940 and 1963 for a wide variety of publications.
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Publisher's Summary

C. S. Lewis was a profound thinker with the rare ability to communicate the philosophical and theological rationale of Christianity in simple yet amazingly effective ways. God in the Dock contains 48 essays and 12 letters written by Lewis between 1940 and 1963 for a wide variety of publications. Ranging from popular newspaper pieces to learned defenses of the faith, these essays cover topics as varied as the logic of theism, good and evil, miracles, vivisection, the role of women in church polity, and ethics and politics. Many of these writings represent Lewis' first ventures into themes he would later treat in full-length books.

©1970 C.S. Lewis Pte Ltd.; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[Both Lewis'] searching mind and [his] poetic spirit are readily evident....Here the reader finds the tough-minded polemicist relishing the debate; here, too, the kindly teacher explaining the cosmic extraction by means of clarifying analogies." (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jack Lawton, OK, United States 01-13-12
    Jack Lawton, OK, United States 01-13-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A must-have!"

    Although the title means virtually nothing to American readers not being familiar with English legal terminology, it is still the perfect title. (It means, God on Trial)

    If you like C.S. Lewis, or if you have never read him and have an interest in serious philosophical thinking regarding life and meaning and religious and legal issues this book has something for you. An anthology of never printed, or obscure, articles, speeches, letters, and essays ranging from about 5 minutes to perhaps half an hour each, these pieces are a great introduction to critical thought regarding God, criminal justice, existence, miracles, social issues, etc. It is amazing how little has changed in 50+ years since the last of these were presented... but then mankind is always mankind.

    If you were thinking about his book Miracles, but had trouble getting through it, two chapters in this give you the simplest summary of much of that book.

    I have listened to this book a number of times and will continue to listen to parts of it on occasion as it is timeless and unparalleled in its clarity of thought and expression. I especially like Lewis' assertion that if you cannot explain a theological concept without using theological terms then you probably don't understand the concept. He is a master at presenting complex concepts in simple terms understandable by the masses, hence his being asked to speak to labor organizations and commoners meetings where he was as well received as at the Oxford Society which he led.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 03-20-09
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 03-20-09 Member Since 2005

    Business Physicist and Astronomer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    707
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    "Astounding"

    This is the real deal. Excellent. What a beautiful mind.

    If you like narrator---I do---try the Divine Comedy.
    Beautiful.

    This is a superb work. I liked it so much, I ordered the Hard Cover Book---not cheap.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    04-01-08
    04-01-08
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    "More Hidden Gold"

    I don't why someone said this was boring.

    If anyone knows the works of C.S. Lewis, they know that it is so rich that you have to listen to it again and again to get its full benefit.

    The narrator is perfect. Sound like the Mere Christianity narrator. I am pumped that this book has been published.

    Music, sweet music

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    F. R. Vining Shreveport, LA USA 10-30-10
    F. R. Vining Shreveport, LA USA 10-30-10 Member Since 2003

    Flashback Photography

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    "Superb"

    Listening to this is like I suspect it would have been to listen at the feet of CS Lewis. Excellent and insightful in every respect. If you like Mr. Lewis, you will love this collection of letters, comments, personal talks, etc that he gave. Amazing mind!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason POMPANO BEACH, FL, United States 03-12-13
    Jason POMPANO BEACH, FL, United States 03-12-13
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    "Excellent for the C.S. Lewis fan"
    Would you listen to God in the Dock again? Why?

    Yes, because C.S. Lewis is a great thinker and helps to elucidate different topics so well.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I never do that.


    Any additional comments?

    I wouldn't choose this as my first C.S. Lewis book, go to Mere Christianity, Chronicles of Narnia, Screwtape Letters and Weight of Glory first. This one is more for the fan who has read most of the other items and wants to continue to read more. Which describes me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James JACKSONVILLE, AL, United States 10-29-12
    James JACKSONVILLE, AL, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2012
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    "These Are Great"
    Any additional comments?

    Get this collection and also the audio of his essay collection called "The Weight of Glory" and you'll be in great shape. I'm so much a fan of Lewis that I don't know how valuable my review can be - indeed, I don't even go to him to find answers anymore so much as for the pleasure of his company - but I can at least say that if you like Lewis in general, these essays are not a step down from his books. They're just... you know ... shorter. Happy listening. Cosham performs well as always.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald E. Campbell Pearl, MS USA 03-09-14
    Donald E. Campbell Pearl, MS USA 03-09-14 Member Since 2012

    reader

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    "Very interesting book"
    Any additional comments?

    This was my first introduction to Lewis, and I have to say it was enlightening. I have not read/listened to any of his books. This is a collection of essays/newspaper articles/speeches that Lewis gave over the years. It seems to really give a sense of Lewis's religious philosophy (and zealousness!) and his logical defense of Christianity. Not only that, it is written so well -- and with such a conscious intention to be accessible -- even when he was discussing topics that are either uninteresting to me or really dated, it still kept my attention. Let there be no doubt -- Lewis was a "true believer" of the truest believer clan. However, some of his defenses of Christianity have such a logical flavor and are so honest and straightforward in the issues and questions that he addresses, that I have to say that I was very impressed.. Who should read this? Let me go secular first and say writers who want to see someone take what could be complicated/boring material and make it really accessible (my bias: this is me) should just absorb the metaphors and analogies he uses to make points that you may think would otherwise be indefensible. For those interested in a defense of Christian dogma -- you'll find a lot of logical defenses here as well. I am sure they are more completely developed in his book-length treatments, but for me I thought this was well worth the listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer EastBay CA 12-07-13
    Amazon Customer EastBay CA 12-07-13 Member Since 2003

    brassart

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    "If you've wanted more C.S. Lewis...This is it!"

    Absolutely great collection of his essays combined into a collective whole. Many of these aren't available elsewhere.
    Also - great reader! Does a wonderful job, you would think Lewis was there speaking it himself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Shields Marietta, GA, USA 04-26-14
    Adam Shields Marietta, GA, USA 04-26-14 Member Since 2003

    Book blogger at Bookwi.se

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wide variety of essays compiled posthumously"

    I have been on a Lewis kick over the last year. But I have definitely slowed down on my Lewis reading. God in the Dock was exactly what I needed to be inspired to pick more Lewis up again.

    God in the Dock is a collection of 51 essays and a handful of additional letters. These are mostly on either ethics, apologetics (and really how and why of apologetics more than actual apologetics) and general theology.

    With a collection like this, you can really see Lewis’ skill at speaking to his audience. A negative of this is that you see how Lewis covers similar topics with different audiences, so there is a decent amount of repetition, especially of his good one liners.

    But mostly, I appreciated his skill. He gave a talk to a group at a textile mill about Christianity and then he also has a talk about apologetics to pastors and youth workers. In both he talks about apologetics and the role of sharing faith, but very differently. What impresses me is his willingness to not answer questions at times and what seems to be real humility of trying to only talk when he feels like he has something he can add.

    It is this book that several of Lewis’ famous quotes are found, including his quote about reading old books, not because they are better, but because they are from a different time and place with different biases and blind spots. And that quote is true of reading this book. His thoughts on animal cruelty and the role of science and the decline of religion are interesting both because there are ways that they are still relevant today and because they are relevant in an odd way that feels like he is from a different culture.

    Lewis seems to be both at his best and occasionally his worst because he is a man particularly writing to his own culture. So his essay on women as priests will sound quite dated to most. But still essentially has the main points that will seem right to many complementarians. But even as he is writing he is correctly predicting his argument will sound dated.

    At other times it is easy to see how little our culture has changed from the culture of the 1950-60s in the UK. He complains of commercialism at Christmas, advocates for continuing to support new translations of the bible (but in other essays against modernization to hymns and the prayer book), speaks of the need of pastors to actually be a part of the people and not set apart, and many other topics that could have been written within the last few years.

    This is not a book that I would pick up if you are new to Lewis. (Although it does give a fairly wide range of his writings.) But if you have read a lot of the standards, the Narnia books, the Space Trilogy, the Great Divorce, Mere Christianity, Surprised by Joy, etc., then this is a good next step.

    (originally posted on my blog, Bookwi.se)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Herman PretoriaSouth Africa 11-03-08
    Herman PretoriaSouth Africa 11-03-08
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    "Very insightful"

    Bravo!

    7 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 11 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Stair
    Northumberland, UK
    11/24/12
    Overall
    "Crystal clear logic and great insight"

    As an ex-atheist with a scientific mind and no time for sentimental and wishy washy drivel, that had driven me away from and kept me away from serious thought about God and existence, it is a huge relief to come across writings (or readings in this case) that actually address in a sensible and logical way the issues surrounding belief. I can say that almost certainly if I had not been recommended to read these works (I bought the Audible version instead so as to listen in the car) - I would almost certainly not now think of myself as (it still makes me cringe to say it) a convert. Yes it was written decades ago, but clear thinking that addresses real and timeless issues does not go out of date (although perhaps someone worthy and trustworthy of the task could rephrase some of the essays with permission of the estate?). The section on vivisection is, for example, one of the clearest pieces of reasoning I have come across, similarly that on the position of women in the church (particularly relevant at the time of my writing this review).

    I think that the modern Christian church(es) seriously need someone of this kind to bring balance to the arguments: who will take up the batten?

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Enquiring Mind
    United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "More than just a writer of children's stories."

    Most of the secular world knows CS Lewis as the man who wrote the Narnia chronicles. Unfortunately many of them probably don't know that he was one of the most accomplished Christian apologists of the 20th century. His supreme talent lay in being able to tailor the complexity of his arguments to his audience and this is superbly illustrated in this collection of his lectures, letters and articles. There is something for everyone here and is fascinating reading/listening for both those who want to defend their faith to those who seek understand why Christians believe what they do. Don't let the title put you off! It is much more user-friendly that the words "theology and ethics" suggests. It is also a fascinating look into the mind of one of literature's towering intellects.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • jcw
    8/4/14
    Overall
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    "Interesting but fragmented"
    Any additional comments?

    Even as a non-believer, it's interesting to listen to Lewis's thoughts on theology and ethics. His style is clear and his arguments are still thought-provoking, even if a few of the, are dated. My only complaint is that, because the book is a collection of articles and interviews, it doesn't gain much momentum. Perhaps that's a good thing, if you like to dip into an audiobook and listen for a brief ten minutes; but, because that isn't the way I listen, I found the fragmentary format frustrating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dee S
    Bath, Somerset
    5/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting"

    I read this book as I had recently done an Alpha Course and they had mentioned the book a couple of time. It was thought revocting as C.S. Lewis was trying to prove that God didnt exsist but in the end he became Christian because he couldnt prove God didnt exist.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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