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06 May 2006
  The Soul of The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe by Gene Veith

Visiting the Barnes and Noble in Bossier City, LA, I was again striking out on most of the books I wanted to read. I opened my search to anything by the authors, and I came across a book by Gene Veith, a.k.a. Dr. Gene Edward Veith, owner of the Cranach blog and newly hired Academic Dean of Patrick Henry College. I picked up his book, The Soul of The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe.

The Soul is divided into two parts. The first deals with the allegorical references to Christian beliefs in C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Seven chapters cover creation, human nature in two worlds, the White Witch, Aslan, the stone table, the final battle, and coming back home. Veith relates this directly to keystones of Christian theology such as the Devil, the Christ, atonement, justification, and sanctification.

The second part covers what the author calls "The Fantasy Wars". He discusses The Chronicles of Narnia against more modern fantasy literature such as the Harry Potter series and the atheist series His Dark Materials. Veith provides a balanced view of Harry Potter; he praises Rowling for the objective good and evil displayed by her students at Hogwart's, he criticizes her disdain for the world of the Muggles, the normal (presumably ours) of people who don't see the magic around them. He praises Phillip Pullman from a literary standpoint for Pullman's making of atheism palatable through fantasy, though of course he takes Pullman to task for humanistic narcissism and his representation of God as "The Authority" who must be defeated.

The book also contains a reader's study guide, useful for the individual or small groups. Endnotes provide additional information tangential to Veith's points. The book itself is a short read, only 206 pages. Obviously one would benefit from reading The Chronicles of Narnia first, but it's not necessary. The second part is very informative for those who haven't read Rowling or Pullman.

I enjoyed the book and know someone who will very much appreciate it. If you like fantasy literature in general, find The Chronicles of Narnia or C.S. Lewis intriguing, or at the very least want to know about some of what kids are reading today, this is a book I highly recommend.

Originally posted on Necessary Roughness.

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