Is Tolkien Useless?

This week’s post is actually a guest post at Transpositions, the student blog of St Andrews’ Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (which has been added to the blogroll on the right). They’re kicking off a series of responses to last week’s ITIA conference on David Brown, which I attended. I answer a statement made by one of the keynote speakers that fantasy literature is not of any use to living the Christian life.

So, Is Tolkien Useless?

2 thoughts on “Is Tolkien Useless?

  1. Prof Bauckham would probably place the parables closer to the realistic fiction end of the scale, which he views as more valuable than fantasy. And in any case, I’m sure he’d privilege the parables even above biography as most helpful to Christian discipleship, because they come directly from Christ.

    One might even make the argument that parables and other stories that have our world as their setting and “real life” as their context are the only valid forms of fiction for a Christian, because Jesus uses them, and doesn’t use fantasy. Of course, I wouldn’t buy that argument for a second, since I don’t think following Jesus means limiting oneself only to the precise activities in which he engaged (e.g. living in Palestine, eating fish) and not taking part in activities in which he did not engage (e.g. watching T.V., getting married). In addition, the Revelation given to John has some pretty fantastic creatures in it (including dragons).

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