An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

C. S. Lewis, his worlds, and his faith.

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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby stargazer » Jul 15, 2012 6:43 pm

Going back to the Magi for a moment, I've heard a good reason for concluding they were descendants of the Exile, or at least had reason to be interested in a Jewish baby born in another land: the star of Bethlehem story itself.

Matthew 2 says "wise men came from the east, saying, '...we have seen his star in the east." (emphasis added). Note that this means the Magi actually had to travel west (since they came from the east). Modern carols to the contrary, they did not follow the star! (At least not until its second appearance, when it led them to Bethlehem). So their original decision to go to Jerusalem wasn't because they were following the star, but because that city held significance for them - perhaps as the seat of Jewish government.

But this does not lessen the significance of the idea that the Emeth story means that Aslan is not just for the Narnians. (After all, Jewish descendants or not, it's likely the Magi would have been considered foreigners and aliens by most of the people living in Jerusalem at the time).

Side note: I'm familiar with the controversy Emeth's tale stirs among Narnia fans - whether or not it seems to condone some kind of universalism on Jack's part - but recently I listened to a friend read parts of this section aloud (including some of what Cineadh quoted above) and what struck me most was not the theological controversy but the humility Emeth displays - he realizes he's unworthy to be in the presence of the Lion but marvels that he's allowed to be there anyway, and that Aslan would even speak to him.

This may not be the main point of Emeth's inclusion in the story (it could have been written so as to avoid the controversy!), but it stood out to me much more this time than it has in the past.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Lady Rosalia » Dec 08, 2012 9:06 pm

Wow, I had never thought about Emeth this way before! I loved that scene where he describes his meeting with Aslan, yet it always perplexed me for the above reasons stated.
I thought that perhaps Lewis was trying to get across the point that when a Christian commits an act of evil in the Name of Christ, it is really done for (and accepted by) the evil entity/ies. And that those who haven't had the opportunity to accept Christ (I agree that Emeth had probably only heard wrong things about Aslan. Think of the conversation between the Tisroc, Rabadash, and the Grand Vizier in HHB) yet have tried to honor Him will indeed have an opportunity to accept Him.
My sincere apologies for the fact that I don't have this theology figured out yet, and the above is given more as another possibility than my position on the subject :)
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby King_Erlian » Jan 21, 2013 3:22 am

If one thinks of Narnia not so much as "the Kingdom of Christianity" but more like the nation of Israel - God's "chosen land" within a particular world - then one could regard the story of Emeth as mirroring that of Cornelius in the Acts of the Apostles. Cornelius was not only a Gentile, but even worse, a Roman centurion, an officer in the oppressing military force; yet God showed that he loved and accepted him by filling him with the Holy Spirit.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby parableproductions » Jan 21, 2013 2:47 pm

That's a very good analogy King_Erlian! I hadn't thought of that one before.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Eustace » Jan 22, 2013 5:09 pm

I think I have heard someone mention this before, but I don't really think the point was that Emeth was there. I think the point was that Emeth was seeking for Aslan, he truly was seeking the truth and he found it. In an unlikely spot as well. I have always found this to be some what troubling but, if this was Jack's point to say if we seek we will find, I do not really mind that. I think maybe our focus is all wrong and maybe, he was just trying to use this as an illustration to point out other small things that could deal with certain theology that is hard to figure out.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Slatts » Mar 06, 2013 3:35 pm

It is certainly possible for the Magi to have been gentiles. Some rightly wondered why they would care about Jewish prophecy, but the assumption was wrong. They cared about the prophecy of Balaam, who was not a Israelite. It was Balaam who spoke of a star rising in Judah and a scepter would come from that star. In the oral traditions of the ancient near-east, it would not have been uncommon for that prophecy to continue.

Is Emeth like the Magi? In the most important way yes. His salvation would come from his seeking (all who seek find). I loved this character in the book and I am glad Lewis put it in there.
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