J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth

By |2019-10-12T14:11:46-05:00October 11th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Myth, Senior Contributors|

Myth, J.R.R. Tolkien thought, can convey the sort of profound truth that is intransigent to description or analysis in terms of facts and figures. But, Tolkien admitted, myth can be dangerous if it remains pagan. Therefore, one must sanctify it. As an artist, a scholar, and a mythmaker, Tolkien gave us a glimpse of [...]

Revisiting “The Return of the King”

By |2019-10-05T22:21:17-05:00October 5th, 2019|Categories: Books, Culture, Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors, Uncategorized|

I’ve just completed the sixteen-hour marathon, run over three consecutive Tuesday evenings at a friend’s house, watching all three extended editions of Peter Jackson’s movie magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings. I’ve already shared my impressions of watching The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers for the first time in possibly [...]

The Earliest Days of the Inklings

By |2019-09-30T23:36:32-05:00September 30th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Imagination, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis talked, dined, drank, and walked together. And then, other friendships began to form around this critical one. Some arrived by chance, some by circumstance, and others by design. Eventually, they adopted a name: “The Inklings.” With the friendship of Tolkien and Lewis having grown into something almost preternaturally solid, [...]

Revisiting “The Fellowship of the Ring”

By |2019-10-04T12:56:45-05:00September 28th, 2019|Categories: Books, Culture, Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

As I pondered the artistic license that Peter Jackson had granted himself in one of the most important scenes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring, I realized that a film adaptation of a literary work should not be expected to follow the literal letter of the original but should seek faithfully to [...]

From Pagan Heroism to Christian Alliance: Tolkien’s “Beowulf”

By |2019-10-05T09:54:55-05:00September 24th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Great Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Myth, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien argued that while Christianity gave the heroes a new point upon which to focus, the enemies of the heathen gods remained, too, the enemies of the Christian God. Beowulf, by challenging all that is spawned in Hell, has, by default, become the ally of all that destined to Heaven. Inducted into the [...]

Revisiting “The Two Towers”

By |2019-10-05T09:03:45-05:00September 21st, 2019|Categories: Books, Culture, Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

I’ve just enjoyed the second of the three movie nights at a friend’s house watching the full extended editions of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. As I stated in my essay describing my experience of watching The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time in many years, it’s intriguing to see [...]

Tolkien’s “The Children of Húrin”

By |2019-08-23T11:55:02-05:00August 22nd, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

How does one account for J.R.R. Tolkien’s seeming ability to live inside of mythology? He read it, he translated it, and he absorbed it. After all these grand things, he rewrote it. Yet, no matter how deeply he delved into the profound and pervasive paganisms of pre-Christian cultures, he never lost his ability to [...]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Beren and Lúthien”

By |2019-08-02T23:19:30-05:00August 2nd, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

J.R.R. Tolkien's story of Beren and Lúthien remains one of the most beautiful parts of Tolkien’s entire mythology. It matters profoundly in "The Lord of the Rings" and indeed also mattered profoundly in Tolkien’s own life. “The chief of the stories of The Silmarillion, and the one most fully treated is the Story of Beren [...]

The Batman and Tolkien’s Batman

By |2019-08-01T23:45:27-05:00August 1st, 2019|Categories: Christian Humanism, Dwight Longenecker, Fiction, Heroism, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Superheroes|

While we continue to marvel at the steady stream of superheroes being pumped out in comics and movies, I am more interested in ordinary heroes. The ordinary hero is the man or woman behind the scenes. They are the ones who play the steady, supporting role. Natural second fiddles, they are the loyal retainers [...]

Was Owen Barfield an Inkling?

By |2019-07-25T22:12:31-05:00July 25th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Any right-thinking individual, then or now, would want to have Owen Barfield as a vital and central member of the Inklings. Yet placing Barfield within the Inklings is incredibly difficult, given that he attended fewer than ten percent of the total meetings, and could not name the beginning or the end of the group. [...]

World War I and the Inklings

By |2019-07-18T21:38:17-05:00July 18th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, War, World War I|

The Great War destroyed much the Inklings had held true, personally and culturally. Each lost friends, and each felt the guilt that any survivor of a war feels. Many of them refused to talk about their own experiences, for good or ill. J.R.R. Tolkien, perhaps, provides the best example. Though not the best-known Inkling, [...]

Friendship Among the Inklings

By |2019-10-05T10:36:03-05:00July 5th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien not only held onto friendship for dear life, but he also incorporated it into every aspect of his literary mythology. And for the Inklings, friendship had a mystical element. “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?” C.S. Lewis once famously asked. Surely not, [...]

The Immortal Four: Tolkien and the Barrovian Society

By |2019-05-28T13:45:43-05:00May 27th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, History, J.R.R. Tolkien, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

During summers away from school, J.R.R. Tolkien led a debating society called the TCBS, or “Tea Club, Barrovian Society.” When the horrors of the First World War began, Tolkien considered the mission of the group a holy, prophetic, and, perhaps, even messianic one. He was sure that their fellowship—”The Immortal Four”—would survive even the [...]