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A Beautiful World: J.R.R. Tolkien, “Music of the Ainur”

November 15, 2018   |  6:30-8:00 PM   |   Bozeman, MT

The popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels—The Hobbit (1937), and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (1954-55)—has only grown since his death in 1973. These novels stand on their own as hallmarks of the fantasy literature tradition. Additionally, however, Tolkien began a “sketch of mythology”, essentially, an epic history that spanned the time from the creation of the Tolkien universe to the end of the ‘second age’. He had hoped this would be published with The Lord of the Rings, but his publishers declined, and it was posthumously published in 1977.

The Silmarillion, as this mythology is titled, contains a vivid account of the creation of the universe, as well as its eventual ‘spoiling’ by an angelic being, one of the Valar, named Melkor. This evening’s lecture describes Tolkien’s account of creation in The Silmarillion, and examines its parallels with other ancient creation narratives. Additionally, the lecture examines how Tolkien’s own Christian faith, and life’s experiences shaped his account of creation, and, how Tolkien’s vision can give us a broader, healthier understanding of creation.

Dr. Jay SmithDr. Jay Smith (Ph.D., Trinity College, University of Bristol) is president and Bridger professor of theology and ethics. He has taught at Howard Payne University, Baylor University, and the United States Naval Academy. A published author, he and Stanley Grenz co-created The Pocket Dictionary of Ethics (IVP, 2003) and Created for Community Revised Edition (Baker Academic, 2015). A conversation with Jay reveals his passions for literature and adventure. He loves to hike, compose music, and write about Jesus. Jay roots for the Baylor Bears and Howard Payne Yellowjackets.


Bozeman Public Library


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