Why There Is No Jewish Narnia

I came across a pretty interesting article this morning, investigating why no Jewish authors have taken advantage of the allegorical fantasy fiction genre the way that several Christian authors have done. It’s a long read, but anyone who has an interest in fantasy novels will find it pretty interesting. In case you haven’t got time to read the whole thing, here’s a highlight:

“When he wrote the Narnia books, Lewis drew deeply from his Christian beliefs. In this, he and the many Christian fantasy writers have an advantage over not only the few, largely assimilated Jewish fantasy writers, but even over a deeply knowledgeable and religiously committed Jewish writer who might seek to create a work of fantasy dramatizing Judaism in the way that the various Narnia books dramatize Christianity. The Jewish difficulty with fantasy is not only historical and sociological. It is theological as well, and this has to do with the degree to which Judaism has banished the magical and mythological elements necessary for fantasy.

To put it crudely, if Christianity is a fantasy religion, then Judaism is a science fiction religion. If the former is individualistic, magical, and salvationist, the latter is collective, technical, and this-worldly. Judaism’s divine drama is connected with a specific people in a specific place within a specific history. Its core is not, I think, convincingly represented in fantasy allegory. In its rabbinic elaboration, even the messianic idea is shorn of its mythic and apocalyptic potential. Whereas fantasy grows naturally out of Christian soil, Judaism’s more adamant separation from myth and magic render classic elements of the fantasy genre undeveloped or suspect in the Jewish imaginative tradition.”

Read the rest of the article here.

It is pretty interesting to think on this. Jews have essentially rejected Christ because they see the Christian understanding of Christ’s fulfillment of God’s promises to be fantasy. The miracles He performed — culminating in His resurrection from the dead — are truly fantastic! May our imaginations ever be stirred when we consider God’s wondrous works (Psalm 106:7)! May we declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among the nations (Psalm 96:3)!

(HT: Trevin Wax)

One comment on “Why There Is No Jewish Narnia

  1. Jason Cohoon says:

    Great post, hopefully I will get time to read the whole article soon.
    I agree with this supposition, I’ve always felt that stories that more-or-less model the Christian ideals of selflessness overcoming evil are the best stories because they reflect the True story.

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