I have to return Owen Barfield’s History in English Words to the InterLibrary Loan, so I am putting in a quick, final comment here.
Owen Barfield was one of C. S. Lewis’ most influential friends, and exceptionally brilliant. J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of Middle Earth, was profoundly influenced as well by Barfield.
Barfield was most definitely quirky, theologically. But it really is amazing how Barfield was able to put together the philological insights he had in this relatively short book.
I am ultimately a “Bible guy” on the “God Squad,” as some people think of me. But I am just fascinated by how Christians, and my fellow evangelicals, in particular, get stuck on the meanings of words, as they make their way from the pages of the Sacred Text, through voices of preachers in the pulpit, to the average Christian, who is trying to figure out what the Bible is all about. Even more fascinating is how various interpretations of the Bible, that are hinged upon key words, get morphed over time, without people completely realizing it. Barfield is a great companion here, to work these thoughts out, in this introduction to his thought, History in English Words.
The standard recommendation for studying Barfield is generally to start with History in English Words, then move on to read Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning, and then finally tackle his Saving the Appearances: A Study of Idolatry. Not sure when I will be able to get to these.
In the meantime, back to C.S. Lewis (later this summer??)…..