Feast of St Symeon the New Theologian
WE ARE honored to have Richard Rohlin, a philologist and lover of the Inklings, join us from Texas for the Oktoberfest. He'll be with us on Friday evening (Oct 19) for the Inklings Walking Tour, offering toasts to the Inklings, and then he'll present two seminars on the Inklings on Sunday afternoon (Oct 21). You can read his bio below. And here are his descriptions for the two seminars he'll be offering:
Sunday, 2:30 PM: Can the Singer Enter the Tale? Sub-creation, Suffering, and Sacrament in Tolkien’s Legendarium
“The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval…” According to J.R.R. Tolkien, stories aren’t created apart from language—but neither are they created apart from matter. And in what Tolkien calls “the Christian story,” God does not just come down into matter; He actually raises it and redeems it, hallowing the very act of myth-making. Often neglected within the field of Tolkien studies, this is the real thesis of Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories essay, and underwrites Tolkien’s whole theology of sub-creation. Beginning with this lynchpin essay, we will examine how Tolkien develops this idea through lectures, glossopoeia, and fiction, showing not only that our art must use the tools of reality—bread, wine, cold iron, verbs and nouns—but that doing so is a means of revealing and restoring the sacramental purpose of creation.
Sunday, 5:30 PM: Not a Bowl but a Book: C. S. Lewis and the Sacrament of Story
Unlike fellow Inkling J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis rarely hesitated to moralize, lecture, and even preach in his fiction. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe may have begun as a “picture,” but it very quickly developed into a means of slipping past “watchful dragons.” Responding to criticisms that Lewis’s use of fiction as a medium to teach deliberate theological truths stems from an undeveloped sacramental theology, this lecture will follow the “baptism” of Lewis’s imagination, from the Phantastes of George MacDonald to the ornate allegory of Edmund Spenser’s The Fairie Queene. Finally, through Till We Have Faces, Lewis’s last and greatest work of fiction, we will see the reconciliation of Lewis’s allegorical and sub-creative impulses as story itself becomes sacrament.
Richard Rohlin is a husband, father of four, data analyst, and philologist living in Grand Prairie, TX. He is currently in the final semester of pursuing his graduate degree in English Literature and Language from Signum University with a concentration in Germanic philology, producing a new critical edition and translation of the Old Norse poem Hervararkviða. A lover of ancient languages, he has taught through the Bible for the last ten years at his local church, including a three-year study through the book of Isaiah, and teaches a Latin class for adults out of his home. He is currently working on a translation of Vergil’s Aeneid. His essay “Masters of Fate: The Men of the Silmarillion” has been published in Forgotten Leaves: Essays from a Smial. He also co-authored “Do Elves Dream of Immortal Sheep?” in A Wilderness of Dragons, a forthcoming festschrift in honor of Verlyn Flieger. Richard has also peer-reviewed numerous publications in the fields of Inklings Studies and Germanic Philology, most recently The Inklings and King Arthur, and Tolkien’s Apprenticeship. His other hobbies include traditional archery and bowyery, tabletop gaming, conlanging, poetry, and Medieval theology. He also blogs short philological notes at http://blogonthebarrowdowns.blogspot.com/.