Friday, January 12, 2018

Book Review: He Came Down from Heaven and the Forgiveness of Sins by Charles Williams

These two works are good Charles Williams non-fiction, which is to say, erudite but readable, provocative but fundamentally orthodox, and peppered with Dante, Shakespeare, and Biblical references that are poetic in their own right. Even the fragments that Williams drops in to the conversation, possibly without thinking, are slightly unusual. These were most helpful in thinking about Original Sin. There's a striking discussion of how the Germans should be forgiven, written by a Brit in 1942. And occasional digressions of less value, such as an attempt to interpret the Temptation of Christ with Christ as forgiveness, which I don't think quite works. Still, if you want to make progress thinking your own way through the Big Questions, the non-fiction of Charles Williams is more valuable than the writings of any of the other Inklings. You have to be an active reader, but he is an original and profound thinker who points the way to ideas that we're still catching up to, and yet at the same time points to orthodoxy at the same time.

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