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I am conducting research on Cruciformity in C.S. Lewis’ Narrative Spiritual Theology
Brenton Dickieson photo

Cruciformity in C.S. Lewis’ Narrative Spiritual Theology

Supervisors: Dr. Alana Vincent and Prof. Chris Walsh

Wider Research interests

Theology and Literature, C.S. Lewis and the Inklings, Intertextuality and Subcreated Worlds, Speculative Fiction, Spiritual Theology, Feminist Theology, Evangelicalism, New Testament and Early Christianity.

For the last decade I have been teaching in theology and religious studies and interdisciplinary studies. I am sessional lecturer at the University of Prince Edward Island, adjunct professor at Maritime Christian College, graduate instructor at Regent College, and lecturer at Signum University’s Mythgard Academy.  I curate the popular faith, fiction, and fantasy blog, A Pilgrim in Narnia. I also do freelance writing and government consultation in higher education. I am married to a Kindergarten teacher (Kerry) and an incurably curious pre-teen (Nicolas). We live in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.  



Though C.S. Lewis is a famous 20th century convert, I argue that he did not view conversion as a one-time event. In Lewis’ view, in the cross event Christ patterns the normal spiritual posture of a believer’s life, i.e. the willingness to lay down one’s own life. This idea of self-death or self-surrender is what Michael J. Gorman calls “Cruciformity,” and we discover this pattern embedded within Lewis’ fiction and nonfiction. I argue that C.S. Lewis’ move past Thomas à Kempis’ important Imitatio Christi in his fantasy writing and theological projects welcomes important critiques of public theology. Lewis’ idea of self-surrender as central to spiritual life can inform devotional life, political theology, and even literary criticism. In particular, I engage with a feminist criticism of the cross as a central Christian symbol, allowing that criticism to dialogue with the questions of cross-patterned spirituality.

Published work

* Brenton D.G. Dickieson, “Mixed Metaphors and Hyperlinked Worlds: A Study of Intertextuality in C.S. Lewis’s Ransom Cycle” in The Inklings and King Arthur, ed. Sørina Higgins, Apocryphile Press, forthcoming, 2016.

* Brenton D.G. Dickieson, “‘Die Before You Die’: St. Paul’s Cruciformity in C.S. Lewis,” pp. 32-45 in Both Sides of the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis, Theological Imagination and Everyday Discipleship, ed. Rob Fennell, Eugene, OR: Resource Publication, 2015.

* Brenton D.G. Dickieson and Pamela Bastante, “Nuestra Señora de las Sombras: The Enigmatic Identity of Santa Muerta,” Journal of the Southwest 55:4 (Winter 2014): 435–471.

* Brenton D.G. Dickieson, “The Unpublished Preface to C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters,” Notes and Queries 60.2 (2013): 296-298.

* Brenton D.G. Dickieson, “The Pedagogical Value of The Screwtape Letters for a New Generation,” Inklings Forever VIII (2012): 12-29. 

Conference Papers

* 2014, Leuven, Belgium, Presenter: “From Epistles to Epistolary Fiction: Expanding Norman R. Petersen’s New Testament Sociology of Narrative Worlds,” International Society for Religion, Literature, and Culture 17.

* 2014, Norton, MA, Presenter: “A Cosmic Shift in The Screwtape Letters,” Mythcon 45.

* 2014, Norton, MA, Invited Panelist: “The Inklings and King Arthur,” Mythcon 45.

* 2014, Charlottetown, PEI, Lecturer: “How to Build A Fictional World,” PEI Seniors College “Sharing Our Research” series.

* 2013, Halifax, NS, Presenter: “‘Die Before You Die’: St. Paul’s Cruciformity in C.S. Lewis” at the Atlantic School of Theology C.S. Lewis Symposium.

* 2012, Charlottetown, PEI: “A Cosmic Find in a C.S. Lewis Archive,” UPEI Arts Colloquium Series. 

* 2012, Taylor University, Upland, IN, Presenter: “The Pedagogical Value of The Screwtape Letters for a New Generation,” Joint Meeting of the 8th Frances White Ewbank Colloquium on C.S. Lewis & Friends and the C.S. Lewis & the Inklings Society.

* 2012, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, Co-presenter: “La Negrita, La Comadre, and La Santita: The Enigmatic Identity of Santa Muerte,” Canadian Congress of the Humanities. 

* 2010, Charlottetown, PE, Presenter: “Was St. Paul Anti-Semitic? A Look at a Key Text,” Invisible Scholars Lecture Series.