Sword Between the Sexes? a: C S Lewis and the Gender Debates
"There is, hidden or flaunted, a sword between the sexes till an entire marriage reconciles them. It is arrogance in us (men} to call frankness, fairness and chivalry 'masculine' when we see them in a woman; it is arrogance in...
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"There is, hidden or flaunted, a sword between the sexes till an entire marriage reconciles them. It is arrogance in us (men} to call frankness, fairness and chivalry 'masculine' when we see them in a woman; it is arrogance in them (women) to describe a man's sensitivities or tact or tenderness as 'feminine.'. . . Marriage heals this. Jointly the two become fully human."
--C. S. Lewis (from A Grief Observed)
^^This statement and others like it in C. S. Lewis's later writings mark an extraordinary shift from his earlier and frequent defense of fixed gender roles and gender hierarchy. How did Lewis get to this point? And why have so many of his followers not better assimilated his final position?
^^This is the first book to provide a close examination of Lewis's understanding and presentation of gender. Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen evaluates Lewis's attitude toward the social sciences in the context of his slowly changing views on gender relations. She finds Lewis surprisingly prescient in his anticipation of the postmodern turn in the philosophy of science and surprisingly open, especially in his final works, to a more mutuality-based and generically human reading of gender relations. A Sword between the Sexes? addresses the tension between faith and science, suggesting how it may best be eased, and offers insight into the continuing debate over gender relations, egalitarianism, and complementarianism.
"This magisterial and constructive critique of C. S. Lewis reveals him as a sensitive commentator on some centrally important areas of human interaction. Lewis came to embody and think through multiple perspectives on human beings of all ages in their extraordinary complexity. The very social sciences of which he was so suspicious may both confirm his intuitions whilst correcting his mistakes. This valuable book breaks out of some of the Lewis-reading straightjackets and encourages us to see why he is still well worth our careful attention."--Ann Loades, honorary professorial fellow of St. Chad''s College, and professor emerita of divinity, University of Durham"Van Leeuwen''s work is a valuable addition to the various books on C. S. Lewis. Respecting but not romanticizing him, Van Leeuwen explores Lewis''s strengths, influences, and weaknesses, particularly as his writing deals with the relationships between women and men. This adds another excellent volume to Van Leeuwen''s own work, taking Scripture seriously in conjunction with her own academic discipline, pressing us to affirm the love of God, and rejecting distorted views of gender."--Debra K. Block Clark, senior staff, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship"This is a remarkable book. Not only does Van Leeuwen critique and explore the roots of C. S. Lewis''s thought and belief, she does so as a woman who has herself been in the forefront of biblical feminist scholarship. The parallels between her own scholastic, familial, and cultural history and that of Lewis, and the search for authentic Christian wisdom are of great interest. The insights gained by the reader come not only from the life and times of C. S. Lewis but also from Van Leeuwen''s deep understanding of the psychology of gender itself. I highly recommend this book for all Christians--male and female--who desire a richer awareness of our essential unity and communion as persons."--Diane Marshall, clinical director, Institute of Family Living"A keen intellect and a rich academic background are necessary in tackling a substantive study of C. S. Lewis and gender, and Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen brings those resources and much more to her work. In this fascinating, careful, and probing examination, Lewis''s views of gender and his relationships with women are discussed within their cultural, historical, and theological contexts. This book is wonderfully illuminating and important for C. S. Lewis fans and anyone interested in contemporary discussions of gender."--Christine D. Pohl, professor of social ethics, Asbury Theological Seminary"In a fascinating chapter about her own relationship to C. S. Lewis, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen lays all her cards on the table. Then she traces Lewis''s changing views of gender step by step through his prodigious output of books and letters until the end of his life, considering not only his work, but the man himself, and the way he has been viewed by others. Van Leeuwen''s spirit is generous; her prose, wonderfully clear; her arguments, powerful; and her insight, remarkable. Whether you''re a scholar, a Lewis fan, or a general reader, you will find yourself turning pages with pleasure."--Jeanne Murray Walker, professor of English, University of Delaware"This book is an eye-opener. For those of us who have been influenced by C. S. Lewis but have distrusted his views on gender, this book provides a welcome and carefully researched account of how Lewis changed his mind. It does not disguise the more hierarchical and essentialist material from the earlier years. Instead it takes us step-by-step through Lewis''s encounters with women he respected, to the point where he was able to call his wife ''my trusty comrade, friend, shipmate, fellow soldier.''"--John Hare, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale Divinity School"A Sword between the Sexes offers a definitive--even transformative--work on gender and faith. This astonishingly thorough book by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen blends science, Scripture,
What did C. S. Lewis really think about gender roles? In this book, a widely recognized expert on male and female roles evaluates Lewis's understanding and presentation of gender, revealing that he ended his life thinking differently about gender than many of his followers assume. This is the first book to provide a close examination of Lewis's thought on gender and what it means for today. It addresses the tension between faith and science and offers insight into the continuing debate over gender relations, egalitarianism, and complementarianism. The book will appeal to readers of C. S. Lewis and those who are interested in gender issues.
Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (Ph.D., Northwestern University) is professor of psychology and philosophy at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, where she is also resident scholar at the Center for Christian Women in Leadership. She is the author of Gender & Grace: Love, Work & Parenting in a Changing World; My Brother's Keeper: What the Social Sciences Do (and Don't) Tell Us About Masculinity and A Sword between the Sexes?: C. S. Lewis and the Gender Debates.
Koorong -Editorial Review.
- 1. Surprised By Jack: An Ambivalent Journey<br>2. A More Fundamental Reality Than Sex? C. S. Lewis's Views On Gender<br>3. "mere" Christianity? Sources And Results Of Lewis's Views On Gender<br>4. "not The Only Fundamental Difference": The Edwardian World Of C. S. Lewis And Dorothy L. Sayers<br>5. A Better Man Than His Theories: C. S. Lewis As A Mentor And Colleague To Women<br>6. "you Can Only Get To Know Them": C. S. Lewis And The Social Sciences<br>7. Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth: The Psychology Of Gender Since C. S. Lewis<br>8. "nature Speaks Chiefly In Answer To Our Questions": C. S. Lewis And Some Neglected Issues In The Psychology Of Gender<br>9. "true To The Kind Of Things We Are": C. S. Lewis And Family Life<br>10. "suppressed By Jack": The Two Sides Of C. S. Lewis