Chosen for What? (The Problem of the Christian Jew)


  • Joy Davidman Lewis


This transcript contains Joy Davidman’s six-page outline for a sermon she delivered at a London church in 1956. The introduction, which is the most fully developed piece of the sermon, meditates on the conflict Jewish converts to Christianity face from their former communities and even themselves. There follows an outline for the rest of the sermon, moving from “Jewish Culture,” to “Christian misunderstanding of this” to “special temptation[s] of the convert.” This final section is developed in a somewhat fragmentary manner, and Joy’s solution: “The Jew will only be free of his curse when he can recognize himself to be a miserable sinner like everyone else; instead of something special!” is not elaborated upon.

Author Biography

Joy Davidman Lewis

Joy Davidman (1915-1960) was born in New York City to a Jewish family and was raised in the Bronx. She attended Hunter College and later earned a master's degree from Columbia Unversity in 1935. Davidman "eventually became known for many things: she was a poet, a humanist, a communist, a nonconformist, and a fixture in New York literary circles in the 1930s and 40s. She was a practitioner of Dianetics. People described her as abrasive, animated, critical, demanding, ambitious, and intelligent. Some called her insubordinate, even vain. Davidman also became the intellectual, spiritual, and marital partner of C.S. Lewis—British novelist, poet, and academic. Their relationship and marriage were memorialized in the film Shadowlands (1993). Lewis’s account in A Grief Observed (1961), records his own personal reflection on her untimely death as well as his thoughts on grief itself." - partially adapted from Andrew Barron's article "The Conflicted Jewish Imagination of Joy Davidman" in Volume 36 of VII.