Myth

“Beowulf” and the Men of the Twilight

By |2019-10-20T22:16:00-05:00October 20th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Beowulf Series, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Imagination, 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 |2019-10-18T17:12:40-05:00October 15th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Beowulf Series, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Imagination, 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 [...]

St. Augustine and J.R.R. Tolkien

By |2019-10-14T10:03:55-05:00October 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 |2019-10-12T14:11:46-05:00October 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 [...]

Paganism, Poetry, and Pointers: Why the Old Stories Matter

By |2019-10-05T22:29:50-05:00October 5th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dwight Longenecker, Imagination, Myth, Senior Contributors|

Myths are not simply fanciful stories that are untrue; they are simple, fanciful stories that are very true, woven into the very fabric of the universe we perceive. There is, in the human heart, some kind of poetry that sees meaning in everything and everyone, and this meaning is expressed in fantastic stories and [...]

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 [...]

Plato’s “Symposium”: The Drama and Trial of Eros

By |2019-07-21T22:20:01-05:00July 21st, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Love, Myth, Paul Krause, Philosophy, Plato|

Plato was a moralist. An ethicist. He was concerned with the primacy of action, of engagement, in a world that was deeply iconoclastic, barbarous, and savage. Love of wisdom allows for the creation of that space where ethical and loving life is possible. Plato’s Symposium is one of the most iconic works of literature [...]

Hungry Souls & Brave Hearts: Heroism, History, & Myth

By |2019-07-22T12:33:42-05:00July 20th, 2019|Categories: Heroism, Myth, Stephen M. Klugewicz, Timeless Essays|

The cynicism of modern-day youth presents us with a great teachable moment. We must tell history as a great myth, for myths are often the best way of expressing truths. They are also the lifeblood of civilizations. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Stephen Klugewicz, as [...]

The Importance of the Underworld

By |2019-05-04T16:07:44-05:00May 4th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Heroism, Myth, Senior Contributors|

The mythic theme of descent to the underworld is virtually universal. The hero journeys to the underworld to confront the monster, then returns with the prize. That the hero must go down into the depths to battle the dark forces seems written into the very fabric of human psychology. During a vacation to Belize [...]

C.S. Lewis and the Truth of Balder

By |2019-09-12T13:51:39-05:00March 22nd, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Myth, Religion, Senior Contributors, Truth|

C.S. Lewis’ famous conversation with Hugo Dyson and J.R.R. Tolkien, allowed him, for the first time in his life, to see that Christianity expresses not just myth, but true myth, something profoundly real, “a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened.” [...]

The Classics and Christianity

By |2019-01-11T15:44:57-05:00January 11th, 2019|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Civilization, Classical Education, Classics, Culture, Great Books, Homer, Liberal Learning, Literature, Myth, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, St. Augustine, Virgil, Western Civilization, Western Tradition, Worldview|

Christians invented the classical curriculum; it is as much part of the broader Western inheritance as it is specifically part of the Christian inheritance… Why study old books? How do dusty old books written by dead men and women thousands of years ago grow my faith? Such can be common thoughts when the Christian [...]

Storytelling and Modernity

By |2019-07-16T20:43:16-05:00January 2nd, 2019|Categories: Civil Society, Civilization, Community, Culture, George Stanciu, History, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Modernity, Myth, Senior Contributors, Social Order|

The storytelling of a tribe gives each member a common remote past, communal heroes to emulate, shared social rules, and an answer to “Who am I?”  Editor’s Note: This essay is part of a series dedicated to Senior Contributor Dr. Eva Brann of St. John’s College, Annapolis, in this, the year of her 90th [...]