C. S. Lewis's Concept of Sehnsucht: Philosophical Foundations, Aesthetic Analysis, and Implications for Evangelism and Apologetics
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SubjectLewis, C. S. (Clive Staples), 1898-1963
Aesthetics--Religious aspects-- Christianity.
ABSTRACT C. S. LEWIS’ CONCEPT OF SEHNSUCHT: PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS, AESTHETIC ANALYSIS, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR EVANGELISM AND APOLOGETICS Matthew David Crawford, Ph.D. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2015 Chair: Dr. Mark T. Coppenger C. S. Lewis’ concept of Sehnsucht as inconsolable longing for beauty holds much promise for Christian aesthetics, evangelism, and apologetics. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, and many of his other works, Lewis shows how desire for beauty can draw individuals toward God. This dissertation fully develops Lewis’ concept of Sehnsucht within the framework of his life story as well as his writings. The dissertation then explores the corroboration of Lewis’ concept within both Christian and secular philosophical contexts. Once this foundation has been laid, the potential of Sehnsucht for opening hearts to the gospel of Christ and overcoming objections to faith in Him is outlined. Finally, the dissertation aesthetically analyzes specific films and pieces of music in search of common elements that may evoke Sehnsucht, as well as elements that may prevent it from being experienced.