I need to begin this blog by explaining why I titled it, “Surprised by Traherne.” The answer will flesh itself out through what I hope will be many entries to follow. But, in brief, there are at least three reasons for this title:
(1) The first is that C. S. Lewis, of course, titled his autobiography Surprised by Joy, and the writings of Thomas Traherne (the 17th century poet, philosopher, priest, and theologian) clearly brought great joy to C. S. Lewis throughout his life. I believe that Traherne even played at least a minor role in Lewis’s conversion. I look forward to writing more about this later.
(2) The second reason is that the history of how Traherne’s numerous writings found their way into publication is full of surprises. Almost all of his works were not published until hundreds of years after his death, and most of them came within a hair’s breadth of being burned or otherwise destroyed before publication.
(3) The third reason is that the reading of Traherne’s joyful and wise writings has evoked a surprising sense of joy in myself and many others. It was a joy which had, until that time, been dormant or unrealized. I hope that this blog about Thomas Traherne may lead to many more such surprises.