Christian Humanist Profiles 213: Tolkien’s Modern Reading

In the popular imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien was a man born for another time, a medieval anachronism—like his friend C.S. Lewis, a self-proclaimed dinosaur. There’s some truth in that: he was a medievalist perfectly at home in the literatures of many dead languages and long-ago cultures. But that didn’t mean he was disengaged from the events and authors of his own lifetime. Far from it: Tolkien was, it turns out, a broad reader of what for him was contemporary literature, and his own imagination was fired by tales new as well as old.

In this episode of Christian Humanist Profiles, David Grubbs interviews Dr. Holly Ordway, Fellow of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute, Visiting Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, and author of Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth beyond the Middle Ages (Word on Fire Academic, 2021).

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