New Fall 2012 course

Fall 2012 I have the opportunity to teach a special seminar:

Inkling Philosophy: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis on Myth and Truth.

Banner listing: PHIL 4900 ST: Tolkien and CS Lewis on Myth, cross-listed under RELS 4910-004 ST: Tolkien and CS Lewis on Myth.

MWF 9:30-10:20

Course Description:

In this course we will first read what Tolkien and Lewis have to say about myth and then we will read some of Tolkien’s and Lewis’ myths.  In reading about myth, we will seek to understand their philosophy of myth, asking questions about myth and its relation to truth, symbolic language and the limits of natural reason, and the role of the imagination in belief.  Then we will read some of their myths (Lord of the Rings, Narnia, etc) to see how perennial truths about God, man, and the universe can be expressed in, and perhaps only in, myth.

No pre-requisites or previous philosophical experience required.  But note that this is a 4000 level course so it will be reading intensive.  Those unable or unwilling to take on thick reading assignments should look elsewhere.


Author: Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.

4 thoughts on “New Fall 2012 course”

  1. What I never got around to reading from Lewis and Tolkien was their academic work, what they wrote that underwent peer review. I would love to have a list of those pieces.


    1. I do not have a ready list. But you might check out Tom Shippey’s JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century. It looks at Tolkien from the perspective of his academic work on language. Might be a good starting point.
      With Lewis, you could read The Discarded Image as a starting point. It is Lewis’ last book (I think) and is based on his lectures on Medieval and Renaissance Lit.


  2. I’m very glad that Tolkien will be given a semester’s length of intensive study; Lewis will be a welcome extra. Discussing the ‘..limits of natural reason, and the role of the imagination in belief’ would be fascinating in the context of something as unique as ‘The Ainulindalë’ from Tolkien’s *The Silmarillion*. Looking forward to next Fall; thanks for putting this class to together, Prof. Kleiner!


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