Areopagus Lecture 4
Paul Tyson: Escaping the Silver Chair
For the fall 2018 Areopagus Lecture, philosopher Paul Tyson, in his talk entitled “Escaping the Silver Chair: Renewed Minds and Our Vision of Reality,” explored how the Christian responsibility “to repent” involves more than expressing feelings of regret for moral wrong-doing and the desire to reform. Rather, the New Testament call to “repentance,” the English rendition of the Greek word metanoia, is inseparable from radically reenvisioning what is “really real.” St. Paul’s admonition that we be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” — in other words, metanoia — invokes a process that demands the recognition and rejection of various false enchantments of this world. With the help of C. S. Lewis’s story The Silver Chair, however, we realize that identifying and then escaping the ways in which we are bewitched is no easy task.
Paul Tyson on the New Testament understanding of metanoia and breaking the spell of our current enchantments
“In something of an inversion of the ‘disenchantment thesis,’ I’m going to argue that we live in an age of high enchantment. But this is a false enchantment, premised firstly on our strange belief in the disenchantment of the world, followed by the liberation of imagination and meaning from transcendent and revealed truth. That is, disenchantment itself is a powerful enchantment. It has a deep idolatrous appeal and it has a spiritually entrapping purpose.”