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XIANTHE 180: Learning Theology with C.S. Lewis

Instructor: Reinhard HÜtter

When changes to the curriculum shifted CT 32 (Christian theology) and CT 33 (Christian ethics) to the middler year, or second year for M.Div. candidates, Reinhard Hütter developed this seminar for first-year students.

Class Information

  • Fall 2009
  • Tuesdays, 2:30-5:00 p.m.
  • 014 Westbrook

Required Texts

  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Perelandra
  • That Hideous Strength
  • Surprised by Joy
  • From the one-volume The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics:
    • The Abolition of Man
    • The Great Divorce
    • A Grief Observed
    • Mere Christianity
    • The Problem of Pain
    • The Screwtape Letters

“The course has a twofold goal,” says Hütter. “First, to identify and think through the central loci of Christian theology and ethics by way of reading pertinent texts by C.S. Lewis, and, second, to offer an immersion into one of the most imaginative and influential Christian writers of the 20th century.”

Hütter designed the course as a weekly seminar. His mini-lectures allow time for student presentations followed by a discussion period.

“By way of close reading, reflection, and discussion, students will begin to think through central topics of Christian theology and ethics,” says Hütter. “The hope is that students who take this course will encounter, reflect upon, and respond in a theologically reflective way to ministry situations that begin with their first field education placement.”

Reinhard Hütter, Professor of Christian Theology


Professor Hütter’s most recent work deals with theological anthropology and the closely related topics of nature and grace, divine and human freedom, faith and reason, theology and metaphysics. He is especially interested in the theology and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Hütter, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, is the author of three scholarly books, including Bound to Be Free: Evangelical Catholic Engagements in Ecclesiology, Ethics and Ecumenism. He is also the co-editor of Nova et Vetera, the English edition of the international theological journal.

He first encountered C.S. Lewis as a foreign exchange student at Duke Divinity School in 1984-85. When he returned to his native Germany, he received a complete set of The Chronicles of Narnia from Nancy Heitzenrater D’87, who one year later became his wife. He has been reading C.S. Lewis ever since.

His favorites are Till We Have Faces, which he considers Lewis’s most beautiful book; The Great Divorce, which he finds the most hopeful; That Hideous Strength, a “must-read for every university professor,” and The Chronicles of Narnia, which he has read to all four of his children. He looks forward to reading the series to his grandchildren, the second of whom is expected soon.