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Blog (DE)

News from Tübingen

Birgit Hallmann

by Beth Langstaff

Spring has finally arrived here in Tübigen; the daffodils are in bloom and the ice cream shop along the Neckargasse has sold a great many cones today.

The summer semester starts in two weeks.  In the Theological English class this summer, we'll be reading and discussing the fantasy writings of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.  This is the third time I have taught a class on Lewis and/or Tolkien, and I am looking forward to it, not in the least because the topic tends to attract participants from a variety of academic disciplines (English literature and philology as well as theology).  Neither Lewis nor Tolkien was a theologist, strictly speaking, but their respective fantasy writings are rich in theological motifs:  creation and re-creation, good and evil, fall and redemption, death and immortality, pity and mercy, hope and heaven.

The story of Lewis's conversion to Christianity is well known; the role of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien in that conversion may well come as a surprise.  A late-night walk and long, intense conversation with Tolkien and another friend, Hugo Dyson, was a major factor in moving Lewis (one-time atheist) from "believing in God to definitely believeing in Christ — in Christianity."