28 March 2012

Hebrews 2:18

If Christ never sinned, can he really sympathize fully with me in all my temptations?

Nineteenth-century NT scholar B. F Westcott, commenting on Heb. 2:18, writes:
Sympathy with the sinner in his trial does not depend on the experience of sin but on the experience of the strength of the temptation to sin which only the sinless can know in its full intensity. He who falls yields before the last strain.
--Brooke Foss Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews (1892), 59

In a 1943 letter, C. S. Lewis alludes to this comment by Westcott, and it seems that Westcott was the one to influence Lewis' own similar but more well-known statement on temptation in Mere Christianity.

1 comment:

jcs said...

A brilliant connection - thank you for this! There's quite a lot of (ideologically motivated, I think) misunderstanding of Westcott out there and I'm keen to help rectify in the ways I can. The positive use of him by someone like Lewis would be one great step in that direction. He served himself in the foundation named after Westcott, but I've been able to find little in the way of his personal interaction with Westcott's theology (some have assumed his position was negative, because he spoke so harshly of modern biblical criticism - but I think that this underlies a fundamental misunderstanding of Westcott's relationship to biblical criticism. A mistake which, I hope, Lewis did not simiarly make). In that vein - have you come across any more resonances or allusions to Westcott in Lewis?