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Three Views of the Body (CS Lewis, The Four Loves)


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A quote today from CS Lewis, from his book The Four Loves.

“Man has held three views of his body. First there is that of those ascetic Pagans who called it the prison or the ‘tomb’ of the soul, and of Christians like Fisher to whom it was a ‘sack of dung’, food for worms, filthy, shameful, a source of nothing but temptation to bad men and humiliation to others.

“Then there are the Neo-Pagans (they seldom know Greek), the nudists and the sufferers from Dark Gods, to whom the body is glorious.

“But thirdly we have the view which St Francis expressed by calling his body ‘Brother Ass’. All three may be – I am not sure – defensible; but give me St Francis for my money.”

A good laugh for that one. In the context of the chapter, CS Lewis is talking about the love of Eros (Erotic love) and how we shouldn’t take it too seriously if we want to get by and understand it. We have to keep the balance of looking at it seriously but not too seriously, otherwise we will become its captive.

In this way, and some others, he redefines what many people might see as the “erotic” in a way that I think is helpful.

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One thought on “Three Views of the Body (CS Lewis, The Four Loves)

  1. CS Lewis and St Francis certainly had a way with words. I recently completed The Screwtape Letters and I love the he weaves Theology with analogy, the cerebral with the practical.

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