Christian Humanism

Curses and Magic in the “Night of the Demon”

By |2019-10-30T17:32:43-06:00October 30th, 2019|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Culture, Fiction, Film, Literature|

Like the best horror tales, the “Night of the Demon” came back from the “dead.” This was as a result of a late-night slot for cult movies on British television in the late 1980s. Continuing to this day, the film has attracted ever-increasing praise from critics and found an ever-more appreciative audience. It seems [...]

Approaching Weathertop: Anatomy of a Scene

By |2019-10-29T21:01:16-06:00October 29th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series, Writing|

Though the approach to the mountain Weathertop is only one scene in “The Lord of the Rings,” it is a telling one. Through romance, imagery of light and color, the voluptuousness of his landscapes, and the holiness of song and poetry, J.R.R. Tolkien brilliantly reveals himself as a master of the English language and, [...]

“Beowulf” and the Men of the Twilight

By |2019-11-23T15:40:06-06:00October 20th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Beowulf Series, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors|

The “Beowulf” poem, J.R.R. Tolkien stressed, is fundamentally about the very nature of heroism. Beowulf is, of course, a “noble pagan.” Given such a consideration, questions arise: Does he advance only his own will, or does he take into account God’s grace? Can true heroism even exist in a Christian world of grace, or must [...]

Fate and Will in Tolkien’s “Beowulf”

By |2019-11-23T15:38:35-06:00October 15th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Beowulf Series, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors|

Arguably one of the finest stories in the Western Tradition, “Beowulf” concerns the advent of a hero and his timely end. Throughout, questions of fate, free will, good, and evil predominate. Most prominent, though, are the theological questions of will and grace, one pagan and the other Christian. In 1926, when merely a thirty-four [...]

“Prince Caspian” and Political Extremism

By |2019-11-26T09:44:19-06:00October 15th, 2019|Categories: Books, C.S. Lewis, Conservatism, Literature, Politics, Populism|

Those who object to globalism find themselves in a frustrating, even infuriating position, even now in the age of Brexit and Donald Trump. Three years after the 2016 votes were counted there is still no wall, Britain is still stuck in the EU, and an anonymous White House “adult in the room” has gotten [...]

St. Augustine and J.R.R. Tolkien

By |2019-10-14T10:03:55-06:00October 13th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors, St. Augustine, StAR, Timeless Essays|

As with St. Augustine as the barbarians tore through Rome’s gate on August 24, 410, at midnight, J.R.R. Tolkien looked out over a ruined world: a world on one side controlled by ideologues, and, consequently, a world of the Gulag, the Holocaust camps, the Killing fields, and total war; on the other: a world [...]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth

By |2019-10-12T14:11:46-06:00October 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 [...]

The Permanence of Russell Kirk

By |2019-10-14T12:29:01-06:00October 7th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Conservative Mind, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

With the phenomenal success of The Conservative Mind—selling over a million copies during the three decades after its initial release—Kirk worried that “conservatism” might prove to be a hollow answer for the post-war world. Afterall, he reasoned, conservatism must, by necessity, be highly subjective, centered around a specific time and place, even while embracing [...]

Revisiting “The Return of the King”

By |2019-10-05T22:21:17-06:00October 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 Wonder of G.K. Chesterton

By |2019-10-02T15:12:49-06:00October 2nd, 2019|Categories: Christianity, G.K. Chesterton, Imagination, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors, StAR|

What makes Gilbert Keith Chesterton so wonderful is that he is full of wonder. He doesn’t merely see trees, or clouds or sky; he sees glorious creatures charged with what Gerard Manley Hopkins called the grandeur of God. He sees that seeing is itself a miracle. “Give me miraculous eyes to see my eyes,” he [...]

The Earliest Days of the Inklings

By |2019-09-30T23:36:32-06:00September 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 |2019-10-04T12:56:45-06:00September 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 [...]

“Out of the Silent Planet”: A Retrospective

By |2019-09-26T22:52:31-06:00September 26th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

C.S. Lewis’s “Out of the Silent Planet” presents within the envelope of science fiction a moving story that considers the complexity of human nature and its relationship with the Creator. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that Lewis’s “Space Trilogy” made science fiction respectable, elevating it from what many had perceived as [...]