Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Joel Biermann


Together, the experiences and glimpses of what Lewis called' Joy' or Sehnsucht served as the central thread of his life" and provided him with the ontological lens through which he viewed reality. 13 It is the plan of this paper to further examine Lewis' treatment of Sehnsucht" by engaging it in dialogue with a Lutheran theological perspective. In doing so, there are two main objectives that I hope to accomplish. The first objective is to demonstrate that the experience of Sehnsucht should not be merely dismissed or fully embraced; rather, it should be placed within a proper theological narrative that allows 'Romanticism' (in Lewis' peculiar sense)" and reason to run freely within their proper boundaries. The second objective is to warn the reader of the inherent dangers in over-systematizing the language we use to set our theological boundaries, 16for when this happens we are bound to compartmentalize theological belief and lived experience, which leads to something far less then being fully human.

The underlying motivation for pursuing this topic is the perception that certain strands of Lutheran theology have at times tended toward an over-systematization which fails to leave room for non-rational components (such as Sehnsucht), and leads to what Otto refers to as divine 'apatheia.' This, again, can be seen as leading to a compartmentalization between theological belief and lived experience, leaving the individual fragmented rather than reconciled.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.