Lilith, Satan and Narnia
- "a mush of borrowings from myth, fable, fairy tales and Beatrix Potter"
As charming as the Narnia stories are, I think this characterisation from the Washington Post article isn't wrong.
Jadis (in French, jadis means "formerly" or "in the past") is supposed to be a descendant of Lilith, Adam's first wife. Lewis borrowed heavily from George Macdonald's Lilith, which includes a magic chamber that is a gateway into another world.
In Macdonald's story, Lilith's "first thought was POWER; she counted it slavery to be one with me [Adam], and bear children for Him who gave her being. One child, indeed, she bore; then, puffed with the fancy that she had created her, would have me fall down and worship her! Finding, however, that I would but love and honour, never obey and worship her, she poured out her blood to escape me, fled to the army of the aliens, and soon had so ensnared the heart of the great Shadow, that he became her slave, wrought her will, and made her queen of Hell."
But Jadis is also a Satan figure in the Narnia stories; the "deep magic from the dawn of time" gives her the right to slay any traitor, and hence she lays claim to Edmund.
My impression is that the Narnia stories were written hastily and sequentially, without much attention given as new stories were composed to matching their details with those of the earlier stories. Hence they have a number of inconsistencies (e.g. in some places Aslan tells some children that they are never told what would have happened, or any other stories than their own; in others he cheerfully tells them what would have happened and relates others' stories.) and the narrative whole that they try to form is somewhat loose and floppy. We are told (in The Magician's Nephew) how Jadis came into Narnia, but not how she gained the right to execute sinners, or what kind of sinners she had a right to.
This doesn't mean that the Narnia stories aren't wonderfully entertaining and enjoyable, just that they can't be read as a treatise of Systematic Theology.
Lilith, along with much of Macdonald's work, is downloadable from www.gutenberg.org.
--- In email@example.com, Katie Glick <ktglick@g...> wrote:
> On 9 Dec 2005 15:26:03 -0000, firstname.lastname@example.org <
> email@example.com wrote:
> > From: "Stolzi" Stolzi@c...
> > Subject: The Roar Over C.S. Lewis's Otherworldly Lion
> > May require registration. Fairly accurate, though with a flip tone that
> > may
> > annoy Lewis' fans.
> > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/07/AR2005120702613.html
> > This article scores fairly high. I only see two obvious errors, one is
> > minor - Mrs. Moore's name was "Janie," not "Janice." Then there's
> > ' As academic, as Christian apologist (meaning one who speaks in defense
> > of)
> > and finally, best known, as the author of the seven books in the Narnia
> > series, published between 1950 and 1956. '
> > Surely the third "best known" career is as a novelist - with several books
> > to his credit besides Narnia: the "Space Trilogy" and his last novel,
> > "Till
> > We Have Faces."
> Well, it depends on how you look at it ... I think it's true that he is best
> known for writing the Narnia books, since many people who have read the
> Narnia books don't even know he wrote anything else. On the other hand,
> you're right to say that as an author, he wrote more than just the one
> series of books and failing to mention that just perpetuates the ignorance
> of those who don't know.
> The other thing I noticed is that the article says that Jadis is Satan. Is
> this right? I was always under the impression that she was supposed to be
> Lilith (based on the Magician's Nephew) but I have never looked into it,
> that's just what I thought based on my extremely limited knowledge of Old
> Testament mythology. Can someone clarify?
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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