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Beyond the Shadowlands: C. S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell [Paperback]

By Wayne Martindale (Author) & Walter Hooper (Foreword by)
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Item description for Beyond the Shadowlands: C. S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell by Wayne Martindale & Walter Hooper...

SUBTITLE: C.S. Lewis On Heaven & Hell

Publishers Description

Those who know Lewis's work will enjoy Martindale's thorough examination of the powerful images of Heaven and Hell found in Lewis's fiction, and all readers can appreciate Martindale's scholarly yet accessible tone. Read this book, and you will see afresh the wonder of what lies beyond the Shadowlands.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.68" Width: 5.54" Height: 0.63"
Weight:   0.62 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 7, 2005
ISBN  1581345135  
ISBN13  9781581345131  

Availability  0 units.

More About Wayne Martindale & Walter Hooper

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Wayne Martindale (PhD, University of California) is professor of English at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, where he regularly teaches classes on C. S. Lewis.

Wayne Martindale was born in 1965.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Eschatology

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Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Beyond the Shadowlands: C. S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell?

Skip Martindale and go straight to Lewis  May 7, 2007
This book suffers from two faults. First, it does very little beyond restating what Lewis wrote in his books. None of his books are very long, so I suggest you skip this one and just get it from the horse's mouth. Second, Martinadle falls into the same old trap of casting Lewis in his own image. Lewis was an enigmatic square peg, but so many readers twist Lewis' words to endorse their own ideas because they've fallen in love with the picture of C. S. Lewis that live in their minds. This effect helps book sales, but it leaves Lewis misunderstood.
very helpful  Jul 29, 2006
This book provides quotes from a wide range of Lewis's works and is set out in a very clear format. I recently wrote an essay on C S Lewis and this book was one of the most useful.
Fascinating Look at a Misunderstood Man  Apr 17, 2006
Dr. Wayne Martindale is a recognized authority on the works of C.S. Lewis. That said, I never felt that I was being lectured to or spoken down to as I read this book-though I now know that I need to read a LOT more Lewis.

The purpose of the book is to look at various myths of both Heaven and Hell, and compare them with the pictures of both that Lewis paints in his works. Martindale shows that Lewis' ideas of the afterlife are far more Scriptural than most of the common misconceptions that we have today.

I think that the richest parts of this book are those sections where Martindale explores in depth Lewis' conceptions of heaven and hell. These read like literary criticism, but they are easilly accessible to any reader. Readers who are familiar with Lewis' writing will want to explore them again, and those of us who have not read as much of Lewis as we should (or would like) will find ourselves buying more books!

One of the things that I was hoping to gain from this book is an explanation of Lewis' alleged heterodoxy. I've heard him accused of universalism. I've heard that he believed in Purgatory. From reading Mere Christianity, I can tell he was fairly ecumenical. Martindale defends Lewis from the first two charges in this work.

Much of Martindale's book is literary criticism: he looks closely at the symbols and imagery that Lewis uses, and shows their meaning in terms of Heaven and Hell. He assumes that the reader has at least a passing familiarity with Lewis' work, which I am increasingly aware that I do not have. The Space Trilogy is referenced many times-I have put reading that trilogy at the top of my must-read list. I've decided that I really need to start reading more C.S. Lewis-the weekly readings out of Mere Christianity aren't enough. And I'm buying the Narnia set to read to my daughter.

The benefits of reading this book are numerous. I've gained an appreciation for C.S. Lewis beyond what I already had. But more importantly, my desire for heaven and my outlook on the afterlife has been slightly changed. More than a merely spiritual existance, we have a life to look forward to-a life full of enjoyment and pleasure, unburdened by the worry and bondage of sin. We will be able to do what we want, because our desires will be pure.

This book should be on the shelf of anyone who reads and enjoys Lewis' works, both fiction and nonfiction. It should also be on the shelf of anyone who is interested in learning some very different ways of looking at both Heaven and Hell.
What waits beyond...  Aug 24, 2005
C.S. Lewis was once described as the man who could convince people to believe in God who were letting their intellects get in the way. Wayne Martindale brillianty proves why. He looks at the fiction of Lewis and finds the truth in these works. By concentrating on Heaven and Hell, he directs the focus to the most misunderstood part of the Christian existance and one of the major difficulties that non-Christians have, what is Heaven and Hell?

As far as what I got out of it is that Heaven is the full realization of what we as humans can become, the "fullfilment of the human potential" as he puts it. He blows apart the myths that "heaven will be boring" by saying, essentialy, how could heaven be boring if you're in the presence of the one who created pleasure in the first place. Hell, on the other hand, is the shriveling up of human potential, all the negative effects and aspects, therefore it's so nearly nothing. That's why the myth of all the interesting people being in Hell is ridiculous because it's complete selfishness. My favorite part is what he says about Ghosts, that their shriveled up souls, dried up without potential or any hint of being human, i.e. Jacob Marley in Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Basically what he's saying is that our limited understanding of us just being in the "Shadowlands," a Lewis word from The Great Divorce, makes the potential of what is on either side easily corruptible.

Brillantly written with endnotes and great biblical quotes. Highly recomened for anyone interested in what else is out there.
Considering the Afterlife  Jul 26, 2005
In my younger years, I read almost all of the popular books C. S. Lewis wrote; and in the last several years, I've given many of them another run-through as my own children grow interested in them. Circumstances, too, have caused me to spend a lot of time recently thinking about the afterlife. I was pleased, then, to be given the chance to read and review a book that parallels my own interests so closely.

What did I learn? Well, for one thing, I understood more fully how extensively my reading of Lewis influenced my own view of the afterlife, particularly when it comes to how I envision heaven. For a long time, I've considered the fleeting experiences of true loveliness that we have in this life to be a brief glimpses into the heavenly realm; and the longing we have because those glimpses are lost so quickly is, deep down, a longing for the everlasting beauty of heaven. Heaven will give us what we long for; and the breathtaking beauty of a wilderness landscape, or a haunting piece of music, or even those moments when husband and wife understand and love each other so deeply that it hurts, point not to the beautiful wilderness itself or the music or the love, but beyond those things to the reality of heaven, when we will experience forever, always, steadily, the quality of perfect fulfillment for which those moments are but the briefest hints. These glimpses of heaven and the longing they cause are a theme found throughout Lewis's work.

Many of the other ideas I have about heaven may well have come from Lewis's writings, too. One of the things about myths and mythical stories is that we learn things without being so aware of it. They speak to us at a level below (or, more likely, above) the analytical one, and something that would have taken pages to explain to us in a didactic sort of writing--and even then we would not have gotten the heart of the matter--we understand fully, deeply, within our souls, with just one image. That's the greatest strength of imaginative stories: Through them we see and feel and know what we might not understand so completely otherwise.

And I suppose that's where the danger of mythical stories lies as well. It's easy for an imaginative image of things heavenly or hellish to become part of how we see the real heaven and hell without any thought on our part as to whether they are actually a helpful sort of image. Even when the image was meant to convey something right about heaven or hell, we may give little thought to whether the idea we carry away from that image is the correct one. For instance, in our mind's eye, we may see heaven as streets of gold and white angels and harps. If we take from that image the idea that heaven is a rich place, a pure place, and a joyful place, then the image has served us well enough, for it has conveyed real truth about the real heaven to us. If we see the image of golden streets, angels and harps, and we think "How unbearably boring!", then the image has not worked to give us the right idea about the real heaven, which will be the most exciting place ever--the sort of place for which all the Christmas celebrations and birthday parties and thrilling trips of our life have been the palest shadows.

Martindale shows us how C. S. Lewis has remythologized heaven and hell in his work. Lewis's work can help us see which of the ideas we have about the afterlife are wrong, and give us new myths to help us understand things more as they might be. Of course, we need to examine Lewis's myths as well to see if they are helping us grasp heaven as it really is or not. Martindale points to a few places where Lewis might have let what pleased his imagination stand over against what might be reasonably gleaned from scripture. Sometimes, perhaps, Lewis too easily let his love for an idea persuade him of the rightness of it.

There are times, too, when Martindale seems to accept the correctness of Lewis's thoughts when I wouldn't. For instance, there's the idea that predestination is simply historical events seen from the viewpoint of a timeless* God, who sees all of history laid out before him in one glance, and things that from our viewpoint are yet to come into reality are forever existing from his vantage point. It seems to me that this idea misses the boat because it misses the point that God intends to convey when he tells us that something was planned before the foundation of the world. When scripture tells us that something was predestined or planned outside of time, it is not telling us merely that God views that event "timelessly," and thus it is really a done deal before (or outside of) the experience of it by timelocked creatures; rather, it is also telling us something about the logical cause of that event. That event happens in time because God planned it, and God's plan brings it to pass. There may be other causes as well, like the choices of creatures in time, but the first cause is God's thought.

However, this is just a very minor quibble in comparison to the strength of the whole of this book. If you've read several books by C. S. Lewis, you'll probably find this book fascinating. All of his ideas about the afterlife gathered together in one book makes for a thrilling read. You'll be reminded why you long for the real heaven--a longing that is, above everything else, a longing for God himself. If you haven't read much from C. S. Lewis, I suggest you remedy that as soon as you can, and then read this book. We would all do well to think more on the substance of heaven and hell, for those who see the reality of the unseen--who, like the ancients, "desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one"--are those who live more nobly--more faithfully--upon this earth.

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