Lewis didn’t coin phrase “The Hound of Heaven”

I usually at least scan the sermonette that is found on this page but there was something not quite right about this one.

Dear Editor,

Hound of Heaven”, p.9, Thursday, Nov 1, 2012

I usually at least scan the sermonette that is found on this page but there was something not quite right about this one.

The unnamed writer in this homily referred to C.S. Lewis as one who was converted to Chistianity’ … largely against his will. No wonder he described God as “The Hound of Heaven”.

Dr. Lewis was greatly influenced by discussions with fellow academic J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of The Rings) and the writings of the apologist, G. K. Chesterton. However the phrase “The Hound of Heaven” comes from a famous poem published by Francis Thompson in 1893. The poem describes God in pursuit of Thompson’s soul like a hound in pursuit of its prey.

C. S. (Jack) Lewis’ description of his own conversion in 1929 includes the phrase “… the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England”, and “kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape.” Perhaps like a captured prey but Lewis did not coin the phrase “The Hound of Heaven”.

Dick Snook,


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