“Chronological Snobbery”

“One of [C. S.] Lewis’s most illuminating breakthroughs came when his Oxford friend Owen Barfield convinced him of the folly of ‘chronological snobbery.’ Lewis defined chronological snobbery as ‘the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited.’

That insight helped Lewis overcome his naïve acceptance of the latest naturalistic scientific pronouncements that led intellectual snobs such as he had been to dismiss beliefs in spiritual realities as merely ‘romantic’ or ‘medieval.’

He saw, rather, that ‘our own age is also *a period*, and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions.’ That insight helped him get beyond the shallow modern scientifically based rationalism that had stood as a roadblock to his encountering the spiritual as real.”

[Apud George M. Marsden. C. S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” (Lives of Great Religious Books) (pp. 10-11). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.]

Transcribed here on July 6, 2020.

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