Chronological Snobbery

I’ve been reading a book called ‘The Narnian‘ that is about the life of C.S. Lewis. It’s been an interesting journey into Lewis’ life from his young life through his adult years and I have just reached the point where he became a Christian. (interesting side note, we have 1 remaining recording of Lewis’ voice reading what would eventually become ‘Mere Christianity’ that you can hear here.)

One of the things Lewis was most concerned about was the way he saw his students completely dismissing anything people from history said. I’ve talked a couple times on this blog before about the importance of remembering where we’ve come from, and this book reminded me again of how important it is to maintain perspective. Lewis called this “chronological snobbery” where because we now know that the earth revolves around the sun we dismiss anything said or written during the middle ages because they believed the sun revolved around the earth. We should not be so quick the throw the baby out with the bath water, but instead should look at what they wrote that was good and see how it applies to our lives and times today. Lewis said of the old books, “The great books of the past, then, if we read them properly and carefully, can be mirrors into which we see the sins and limitations of our own period.” This especially goes for the Bible too. No, the Bible writers didn’t know of molecules and planets and cells like we do, but God used them in their time and their place to write down his very Words. Let’s not be so quick to dismiss any thoughts from history, but instead weigh them carefully in light of our own generations blind spots.

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