The Theology of Socratic Piety

By |2020-03-18T18:44:00-05:00March 18th, 2020|Categories: Apology, Crito, Greek Epic Poetry, Homer, Myth, Phaedo, Socrates, Timeless Essays|

We know that Socrates was accused of introducing new gods and of corrupting the youth. But what was Socrates’ true position concerning the gods? Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join the late Nalin Ranasinghe, as he analyzes the essence of piety as expressed in Plato’s Euthyphro. —W. [...]

Metamorphosis by Love

By |2020-02-13T19:41:21-06:00February 13th, 2020|Categories: Great Books, Imagination, Literature, Love, Myth, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors|

Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” is many things: several stories, some bleak, some uplifting, ranging from the creation of the world to the apotheosis of Julius Caesar. Yet in its most fundamental form, his epic love poem of many stories reveals deep truths in its poetic proclamations of the transformative power, and spirit, of love. Ovid was [...]

Athena as Founder & Statesman

By |2019-12-27T17:59:57-06:00December 27th, 2019|Categories: Justice, Literature, Myth, Politics, Religion, Statesman, Timeless Essays|

In the “Oresteia,” Aeschylus examines whether a city exists for proper worship of gods or whether it exists for proper cultivation of “that which is most divine in us.” Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join John Alvis, as he considers Aeschylus’ views of the polity as embodied [...]

Sir Gawain on Maturity

By |2019-11-18T22:09:40-06:00November 18th, 2019|Categories: Character, Christianity, Imagination, Literature, Louis Markos, Myth, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

The mature man is the one who not only honors vows and oaths, but who, when he breaks them, confesses his crime, feels shame for his failure, and seeks to make right what he has violated. Shrugging off one’s moral failings, acting as if they don’t matter, is not a sign of maturity but an [...]

Tolkien & Anglo-Saxon England: Protectors of Christendom

By |2020-02-01T12:32:53-06:00November 10th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christendom, Christian Humanism, England, History, J.R.R. Tolkien, Myth, Senior Contributors, StAR, Timeless Essays|

J.R.R. Tolkien believed that the Anglo-Saxon world might offer us strength to redeem Christendom. The hero of “The Lord of the Rings,” after all, is an Anglo-Saxon farmer turned citizen-warrior. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Bradley J. Birzer, as he discusses J.R.R. Tolkien’s christological interpretation [...]

The Noble Pagan

By |2019-10-24T09:33:42-05:00October 23rd, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Beowulf Series, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Imagination, Myth, Senior Contributors|

Beowulf came from the pagan world and would, for the most part, remain in that pagan world. Yet, his gifts—of strength, spirit, and fortitude—were the gifts of the Christian God, whether the poem allowed this or not. Much like Greek philosophy preparing the way of Christ for the Jews, it could be that Beowulf prepares [...]

“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 [...]

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 [...]