News and Events
Cambridge Scholar Michael Ward Explores C.S. Lewis, Narnia, and Medieval Cosmology
Author and distinguished Cambridge University scholar Michael Ward will visit Pepperdine University on Wednesday, Sept. 15, for two convocation lectures. "Spiritual Wisdom of C.S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader" will begin at 12 noon in Malibu's Stauffer Chapel, and "Unlocking Narnia: The Planetary Key to C.S. Lewis's Chronicles" will take place at 4 p.m. in Elkins Auditorium, Malibu.
The presentations will draw from his book Planet Narnia (Oxford University Press 2008), which poses the idea that Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series was structured around the geocentric concept of medieval cosmology, with earth at the center of our solar system. This analysis of the Narnia stories takes the study of Lewis' work in a completely new direction from the traditional Biblical interpretation of his fiction.
"It's the same conception of the universe that Dante worked from," explains Paul Contino, professor of Great Books. "Lewis loved Dante. Ward has a great thesis that C.S. Lewis was obsessed with Dante and secretly wrote the books around the theme."
In Planet Narnia, Ward theorizes that each of the books in the series thematically represents one of the seven planets orbiting the earth according to medieval cosmology: the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe represents regal Jupiter as the Pevensie siblings gain the monarchy; Prince Caspian represents Mars as they acquire strength, and so on.
Ward himself says on his Web site that Lewis did not actually believe in the concepts of medieval cosmology, but that he valued the ideas spiritually, academically, and artistically.
"If you like, or even love C.S. Lewis, especially The Chronicles of Narnia, then don't miss this wonderful opportunity to hear Ward speak," Contino says.
Ward is a writer and speaker with academic and professional ties to both Cambridge and Oxford Universities. He is also an Anglican clergyman, and from 2004 to 2008 was a Cambridge University chaplain. Copies of his book are currently available for purchase from the Pepperdine bookstore, and will also be available to buy and have signed by Ward immediately following his presentation.
For more information, contact Stephanie Cupp at (310) 506-4141, or visit the Planet Narnia Web site.