Tuesday, February 22, 2005

On the Reading of Old Books

One of my favorite, most memorable, and useful C.S. Lewis' pieces is a little essay entitled "On the Reading of Old Books" included in the collection, "God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics." It was originally published as the introduction to Athanasius' "On the Incarnation" (itself a GREAT book).

In it, Lewis recommends alternating between old books and new books in our reading "to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds." He argues that old books help us identify and avoid the "mistakes" of our own age, mistakes to which we ourselves are "blind." He says if we must read only the new or the old because of a shortage of time, "I would advise him to read the old."

In this day and age, when we are bombarded by the latest, greatest, newest fad and fancy, Lewis' advice has challenged me to move in a different direction. There is never enough time to read all that I would like to read, so I have recognized the need to be selective in my reading. I really enjoy reading New Books, but have also grown to love Old Books. I try to follow Lewis' advice and I want to encourage you to do the same. I am currently reading Dostoevsky's The Brother's Karamazov. What Old Book have you read lately? Hollar if you need some recommendations! --Pastor Tim


Captain GoBart said...

The Brothers K is a great book. Some years ago, I spent a year reading nothing but Russian writers, in English, of course. I was greatly helped by a Russian Studies scholar from my church. "Crime and Punishment" was incredible. The funny thing is that I was reading it, slowly, when called for jury duty. The judge asked me what books I was reading. When I told her, she called me back to her chambers and we had a very enjoyable 30 minute conversation on the book, one of her favorites. I was then dismissed from the jury. Keep on blogging!

Tim Weaver said...

We are half way though In His Steps. I read to Karen while she is knitting or doing dishes or.... Great stirring challange to us in how we live our lives. It is making us think about how we use God's money and time that he has lent to us.