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Fantasy Fiction

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 117

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Guests on Volume 117: Matthew Dickerson, on the likenesses between Beowulf and three of Tolkien’s heroes, and on how (despite Peter Jackson’s rendition) The Lord of the Rings is more interested in virtue than in military exploits; Jennifer Woodruff Tait, on how assumptions about the nature of moral knowledge—derived from the school of common-sense realism—compelled Victorian Methodists and others to substitute grape juice for wine in celebrating the Lord’s Supper; Jeffry Davis and Philip Ryken, on why the liberal arts ought to be recognized as a calling that enriches Christian living; and Robert George, on the consequences of redefining marriage.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 99

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Guests on Volume 99: Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, on how the abuse of language creates distrust in the power of words and on how we can be better stewards of the gift of language; Paul A. Rahe, on the heresy of progressivism, which abandons vital convictions about human nature and political order and invites the advent of "soft despotism"; James L. Nolan, Jr., on how European countries have adopted the American model of "problem-solving courts" (and what they also get in the bargain); Andrew J. Cherlin, on why the twin American commitments to marriage and to expressive individualism hurt families; Dale Kuehne, on the faulty assumption that intimate relationships demand sexual involvement, and on how the essentially relational nature of the Gospel is ignored; and Alison Milbank on how the fantasy writings of G. K. Chesterton and J. R. R. Tolkien are intended to reconnect readers with reality.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 25

The Heav'ns and All the Powers Therein: The Medieval Cosmos and the World of Narnia

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For decades, readers and scholars have wondered whether there was a Master Plan for the structure of the seven books in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. In his book Planet Narnia, Michael Ward makes a compelling case that the qualities attributed to the seven planets in the cosmology of antiquity and the Middle Ages are embodied in the seven books about Narnia. In this Conversation, Ward explains why Lewis thought the pre-Copernican view of the cosmos can still be of spiritual benefit, that although it may not be true in a factual sense, its beauty nonetheless reveals deeper truths. 67 minutes. $6.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 53

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Guests on Volume 53: Lawrence Adams, on the possibilities of religious pluralism in Islamic views of state and society; Dana Gioia, on the craft, popularity, and significance of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Elmer M. Colyer, on theologian Thomas F. Torrance's understanding of the Incarnation; R. A. Herrera, on how the Christian view of Creation and Incarnation shapes an understanding of history; Margaret Visser, on learning to recognize the deep meaning in the design of Christian churches; and Joseph Pearce, on Tolkien's other writings and on his view of myth and story.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 17

Maker of Middle-Earth

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While it is not a story set in the twentieth century, Tom Shippey (author of J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century) claims that The Lord of the Rings is very much a work of the twentieth century; the momentum of evil sweeps characters into action before they understand the events in which they are involved. Joseph Pearce (author of Tolkien: Man and Myth) defends The Lord of the Rings fantasy genre against those who would claim that realistic fiction is a better vessel for truth; because mythology is stripped of the factual, he explains, it can deal with truth unencumbered and therefore convey its moral more directly. Literary critic Ralph C. Wood explains why he has been drawn to J. R. R. Tolkien's moral Middle-Earth since his first reading of The Lord of the Rings in the 1960s. It is a world ordered by heroism, friendship, loyalty, and hope. These ties alone, he states, enable the hobbits to complete their quest and go where no one else can. 86 minutes. $6.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 48

Guests on Volume 48: Jon Butler, on the United States as a modern society—in 1776; Gary Cross, on An All-Consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America; Zygmunt Bauman, on the loss of permanence and solidity; Pico Iyer, on The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home; Richard Stivers, on sex and violence in media and the rule of technology; Larry Woiwode, on stories and giving form to experience; Alan Jacobs, on Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy; and James Trott, on poetry and piety.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 40

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Guests on Volume 40: Joseph Epstein, on writing essays and education through magazines; John Gray, on the cultural contradictions of global capitalism; Kenneth R. Craycraft, Jr., on why the First Amendment doesn't really protect Christian liberty; William T. Pizzi, on Trials without Truth: Why Our System of Criminal Trials Has Become an Expensive Failure and What We Need to Do to Rebuild It; Pamela Walker Laird, on how nineteeth-century advertising promoted progress; Albert Borgmann, on how technology disengages us from experiencing reality; Neal Stephenson, on the "eureka" moments with codes and computers; and Alan Jacobs, on why Harry Potter's magic shouldn't trouble Christians.