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The Lewis Legacy-Issue 81, Summer 1999

The False Anscombe Legend Original Article

“Surprised by Freud”by John Beversluis
Christianity and Literature, Winter 1992
A review of A. N. Wilson’s Lewis biography

First, the Anscombe debate was by no means Lewis’s first exposure to a
professional philosopher: he lived among them all his adult life, read the
Greats, and even taught philosophy.
Second, it is simply untrue that the post-Anscombe Lewis abandoned
Christian apologetics. In 1960 he published a second edition of Miracles
in which he revised the argument of his third chapter and thereby replied
to Anscombe.
Third, most printed discussions of the debate, mine included (65-73), fail
to mention that Anscombe herself complimented Lewis’s revised version on
the grounds that it is deeper and far more serious than the original
version (see Anscombe ix-x).
Finally the myth that Lewis abandoned Christian apologetics overlooks
several important post-Anscombe articles, among them “Is Theism Important?”
(1952) — a discussion of Christianity and theism which touches on
philosophical proofs for God’s existence and their relevance to the
religious life — and “On Obstinacy of Belief” (1955) in which he defends
the rationality of believing in God in the face of apparently contrary
evidence (the issue in philosophical theology during the late 1950s and
early 1960s). It is rhetorically effective to announce that the
post-Anscombe Lewis wrote no further books on Christian apologetics, but it
is pure fiction. Even if it were true, what would this Argument from
Abandoned Subjects prove? He wrote no further books on Paradise Lost or
courtly love either.