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Mere Christianity Paperback – Deckle Edge, March 3, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: C.S. Lewis Signature Classics
  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Harper San Francisco; Revised & Enlarged edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060652926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060652920
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,502 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1943 Great Britain, when hope and the moral fabric of society were threatened by the relentless inhumanity of global war, an Oxford don was invited to give a series of radio lectures addressing the central issues of Christianity. Over half a century after the original lectures, the topic retains it urgency. Expanded into book form, Mere Christianity never flinches as it sets out a rational basis for Christianity and builds an edifice of compassionate morality atop this foundation. As Mr. Lewis clearly demonstrates, Christianity is not a religion of flitting angels and blind faith, but of free will, an innate sense of justice and the grace of God. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The late Lewis, Oxford professor, scholar, author, and Christian apologist, presents the listener with a case for orthodox Christianity. This is definitely not the shouting, stomping, sweating, spitting televangelist fare so often parodied; Lewis employs logical arguments that are eloquently expressed. He describes those doctrines that the four major denominations in Britain (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic) would have in common, e.g., original sin, the transcendent Creator God, and the divinity of Jesus as well as his atonement and bodily resurrection. Geoffrey Howard reads both works, and his performance is superb; he is clear and unhurried, giving just the right emphasis and/or inflection. The volume on the Blackstone edition is recorded at a higher level than HarperAudio's. Otherwise there were no perceived differences in the recordings. If your institution can afford it, the Blackstone production would be preferred because of its sturdy case and the announcement of side changes. Whether or not one agrees with Lewis's arguments, it is a pleasure to hear such a skillful reading of an eloquent work. Public libraries as well as institutions that teach religion/theology or speech should consider. Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Customer Reviews

I have read this book a number of times over the years.
Sonny Boninsegna
I would highly recommend reading this book, if you are interested in learning about true Christianity.
William Andrew Pursley
This is, from what I've read from him, C.S. Lewis' best book.
Allen W. Nyhuis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

997 of 1,048 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Simmons on September 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
In his "Preface to Paradise Lost", Lewis wrote the following:
"The first qualification for judging any piece of workmanship from a corkscrew to a cathedral is to know *what* it is - what it was intended to do and how it was meant to be used. After that has been discovered the temperance reformer may decide that the corkscrew was made for a bad purpose, and the communist may think the same about the cathedral. But such questions come later. The first thing is to understand the object before you: as long as you think the corkscrew was meant for opening tins or the cathedral for entertaining tourists you can say nothing to purpose about them."
This is a splendid piece of writing, but the idea presented is no way an original one - Plato and Aristotle said the same, said it clearly, and said it over two thousand years before Lewis did. If you had been able to confront Lewis with this fact, he might have said "Exactly."
This brings us to one of the great themes of Lewis's writing, evident nowhere more so than in "Mere Christianity": the defense of traditional wisdom against prejudice of our age that would reject it for no other reason than that it is traditional. Lewis often encountered those who complained that his ideas were old-fashioned, and his standard reply was that theirs would soon be as well, so in that they were equal. I admit I couldn't help but smile at the complaint by one Amazon reviewer that Lewis's ideas on sexuality were "decades old". The complaint is quite mistaken: the ideas are not decades old but thousands of years old.
And it is here that we have part of the answer to the problem of understanding the kind of thing "Mere Christianity" is: it is nothing new. It is in fact very, very old.
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183 of 191 people found the following review helpful By bixodoido on February 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
CS Lewis is one of the great modern Christian writers. His writings are non-denominational, and can be appreciated by people of any faith. This box set contains some (though not all!) of his best work.
'Mere Christianity' is a great introduction to Lewis's way of thinking. Originally a series of radio addresses, this work details why Lewis is a Christian, and presents a case for Christianity that is compelling, to say the least.
'The Screwtape Letters' is my personal favorite. It is fiction, written from the unique point of view of a master devil named Screwtape. The master is trying to teach his nephew how to win souls for the devil through temptation. This one will definitely change the way you look at sin.
'The Problem of Pain.' -- what is pain? Well, Lewis tackles this subject here, and argues that God gives us pain because he loves us, and in order to mold us to his will.
'A Grief Observed' is a very intimate work, written after Lewis's wife died. It is, quite simply, a very honest and unique look at grieving, which shows this master Christian apologist, who seems to always have all the answers, vulnerable and without a solution.
'The Great Divorce' is Lewis's 'Divine Comedy.' This is a great look at Heaven and Hell, and presents the very compelling idea that people will go to Hell, not because they are forced to, but because they simply won't tolerate Heaven.
'Miracles' examines the question "can miracles occur?" For Lewis, the answer is yes, and this book shows how the Creator of Nature and mankind can work miracles without interrupting the 'natural' flow of things.
Buying these books together in a set is a good way to get these six classics at a great price. This is a wonderful starting point for anyone interested in Christian theology. No one interested in Christian thinker should be without these masterpieces by CS Lewis.
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321 of 345 people found the following review helpful By B. Stubblefield on November 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
After reading several books on a similar topic that did nothing but confuse me, I was glad that I came upon C.S. Lewis's work. All of the other books about the existence of God are way off in their own world, and discourage anyone who feels lost in their ideas about God. This book really explained the reasons that God must exist, and then moved on to easily describe the major beliefs of Christians, without leaving anyone out in the cold on what the key issues actually are. This book is perfect for the agnostic, the atheist, and even the Christian that wants to know the logical and simple reasons that C.S. Lewis came to be a Christian. Over and over, his words made me see even the simplest concepts of religion in a completely new light. I was greatly impressed and have already read this book multiple times.
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357 of 389 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 20, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
C. S. Lewis rejects the boundaries that divide Christianity's many denominations. While religious belief is not a concern for some, to many more it is an extremely serious decision, requiring deep thought and the entire energy of the mind.

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis leads all the Christian religions to common ground. This book is in fact a defense of the beliefs common to all Christians at all times. Originally, these ideas were contained in three separate books. Prior to 1943 they were only heard as informal radio broadcasts. This is why you will see colloquialisms used and the conversational style of the writing.

When you read C. S. Lewis' work, you can hear his voice. Sometimes I forget I am reading. Like a friend with a cup of coffee in hand, he sits across from us. He then leads us up a ladder of logical thinking. He starts on the lowest step and gives us confidence to climb the next step. He guides us through an incredible thought process to a conclusion, which is perhaps so logical it becomes irrevocable truth.

If you were to fall off a real ladder, your body would simply be obeying the laws of Gravity. He brilliantly explains how there is an eternal Law of Human Nature. This is the law of how mankind "ought" to behave in order to maintain a safe and happy society where everyone plays fair. Unfortunately, we all know how our society has failed to practice this law in all aspects of life.

If you want a definition for this law it can only be "morals." A word from which many reel, as if a light was shining brightly in their eyes. To others: it is a light by which they see the path they walk through life. C. S. Lewis divides morality into three main sections: the actions, reasons behind the actions and why man was created.
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