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19535Graduate programs - C.S. Lewis, theology, & the arts

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  • Cole Matson
    Feb 28, 2008
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      Greetings, all.

      I am currently researching Masters programs in theology, theology & the
      arts, individualized study, and liberal studies. Yep, I know it seems like a
      wide field. However, I'm currently casting a wide net so as not to rule out
      a program that might be a good fit for me.

      I have realized, through my past several years reading of C.S. Lewis and the
      other Inklings (esp. Tolkien), that I do not have nearly the background in
      Christian theology and general philosophy that I would like. No theology
      courses were offered at my high school or college (New York University). As
      an undergrad pursuing a B.F.A. in Theater from the Tisch School of the Arts
      (with a double major in Psychology), I did make time to take a few courses
      that, at the time, were just for fun (Arthurian Legend, Tolkien & Lewis: The
      Antiquarian Answer to Modernism, and an independent study on Lewis entitled
      C.S. Lewis: The Christian Storyteller). However, I've realized that working
      as an actor is not enough, and I want to gain the general background in
      theology and philosophy (theology especially) that I need in order to carry
      on the discussions I try to have with others, and then work toward a Ph.D.

      I want to attend a program where traditional orthodox Christianity is taken
      seriously. I would like to write a thesis on the moral role and duty of the
      Christian storyteller (literature and the performing arts are the artistic
      spheres with which I am most familiar), especially looking at what Lewis had
      to say about the subject. (This would be, in effect, a much more in-depth
      look at the topic of my independent study final paper. It would also be a
      response to the artistic philosophy at NYU, where I was taught: art for
      art's sake, as long as you're expressing yourself without censor you're
      doing something right, and artists shouldn't be held to a moral code because
      otherwise they wouldn't be free to comment on society.) Therefore, I would
      like to go somewhere where there is a a Lewis scholar (or at least
      aficionado) teaching. I've seen a couple of programs, like the Ph.D. program
      in Theology, Imagination & the Arts at the University of St. Andrews and the
      Centre for Literature, Theology & the Arts at the University of Glasgow
      (which offers pre-Ph.D. programs) that excite me. Flexibility and the
      ability to individualize one's program are desirable, but not deal-breakers.

      So basically, I'm looking for a post-baccalaureate program where I can get a
      grounding in Christian theology & basic philosophy, and which doesn't
      require previous formal study of these fields; has people with a positive
      view of traditional orthodox Christianity; and will be helpful in writing a
      thesis discussing C.S. Lewis, theology, & the arts. A Lewis scholar and
      individualized study are nice bonuses (and desirable in that order).

      As I said, I'm doing my own research, but I thought I'd run this question by
      this group of distinguished folk in case I was rewarded by flashes of
      insight that wouldn't come from other sources. So, any suggestions as to
      places to look into?

      Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate any of them I can get.

      Cole


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