Noted C.S. Lewis Scholar Christopher Mitchell to Join Torrey Honors Institute

Dr. Christopher MitchellThe Torrey Honors Institute of Biola University has announced that Dr. Christopher Mitchell will be joining its faculty beginning in the fall of 2013.

Dr. Mitchell is the director of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College in Illinois, a study center devoted to researching the lives and works of influential Christian writers, including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and others. He is the author of numerous articles on C.S. Lewis, and will be releasing a critical edition of C.S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man with HarperCollins later this year. He will also be lecturing at Biola on the literary art of J.R.R. Tolkien on March 6.

“The Torrey Honors Institute has always looked to the creative and intellectual legacy of C.S. Lewis as a model,” said Paul Spears, director of the Institute. “To have one of the premier C.S. Lewis scholars in Dr. Mitchell on our faculty will deepen our students’ appreciation for the sort of training that Lewis received.”

As a member of the faculty, Dr. Mitchell will work directly with students in an educational environment modeled on the Socratic approach of Oxford and Cambridge. Students read through a core curriculum of classics and dialogue with each other and professors within small groups. Founded in 1996, the honors program has grown from 16 to some 400 students, making it one of the largest classical books honors programs at any Christian college.

“The Torrey Honors Institute has students who are eager and intelligent and provides a rigorous and well-rounded education,” said Dr. Mitchell. “I am delighted to return to the classroom and to spend time helping students encounter goodness, truth and beauty.”

Dr. Mitchell’s lecture “The Gospel and Fairy-Story: The Literary Art of J.R.R. Tolkien” is free and open to the public. It will be held at 7:30 p.m., March 6, in the Andrews Banquet Room of Talbot East.

Read an interview between Mitchell and professor Fred Sanders at the Scriptorium, the Torrey Honors Institute’s blog.

3 Responses to “Noted C.S. Lewis Scholar Christopher Mitchell to Join Torrey Honors Institute”

  1. Ray Lambert says:

    I’ve always been interested in the “birth” of Narnia and a possible connection to George MacDonald’s book Lilith. How influenced was C.S. Lewis by Mr. MacDonald’s writing (seems significant to me) and how well did they know one another.

    While the two men have very different takes on the idea of salvation, it does appear that they have a very similar allegorical flair as both used the idea of passageways to the “other world”, of animal guides, monsters, and questing for the “truth” of the nature of God.

    I’m sure both of them read “Pilgrim’s Progress”, a ham fisted sort of “heavenly quest” and saw possibilities that Bunyan could never have written. Perhaps they both were interested in taking what Bunyan had written and actually writing something interesting using the same allegorical styling…maybe they both followed in his footsteps?

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    • talking beast says:

      The influence of Pilgrim’s Progress on Professor Lewis is of course most obvious in his early work “The Pilgrim’s Regress”. I’m not aware of any evidence of it being a strong and direct influence elsewhere in his writings.
      There are references to George MacDonald’s influence on Professor Lewis being a very profound one in, for example, biographies of Lewis by AN Wilson, and by Walter Hooper and Roger Lancelyn Green.

  2. Ray Lambert says:

    I’m pretty sure that CS was aware of George MacDonald as he put together an anthology of his work and wrote the preface.

    George MacDonalds book Lilith seems like some sort of “pre-Narnia” story and could easily be the seed idea for the whole Narnia series…just sayin’.

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