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Episode Info: In our second of of three episodes examining the life and legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien, Dr. Helen Freeh joins Bishop Wall to discuss Tolkien’s upbringing, faith, and friendships. Tolkien was acquainted with death from an early age, losing his father as a little boy and later 2 close friends in the horrors of World War I. Throughout it all, his Catholic faith was a constant source of strength, as were his later friendships with a group of Oxford writers and professors. They called themselves The Inklings, and famously smoke, drank, argued philosophy and literature, and critiqued each member’s writings. Besides Tolkien, a notable member of the Inklings was C.S. Lewis, and the two men formed a deep and lifelong friendship that will forever impact English literature. Tolkien was instrumental in Lewis’s conversion to Christianity, and Lewis, for his part, helped Tolkien’s work reach publication. “At the heart, then, of Tolkien’s world is a providential God, with a love for creation.” – Dr. Helen Freeh References and Further Reading: Tolkien Among the Moderns: Dr. Freeh’s essay appears in this collection Tolkien’s early life and the Great War The Birmingham Oratory, which led Tolkien’s mother to Catholicism Why did Tolkien refer to his mother as a “martyr”? “The Immortal Four”: Tolkien’s early friendships The Problem With Utopias Tolkien’s Creation Myth, Illustrated Tolkien’s English Mythology Tolkien vs Lewis on allegory Newman Institute in Lincoln, Nebraska One midnight walk: Tolkien Brings About Lewis’s Conversion Tolkien: “On Fairy Stories” The Inklings Send us your questions! Do you have a question for Bishop Wall? Leave it in the comments below, send us a message on Facebook, or email us at You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes right here. Thanks for listening! Outro music: Heart Ache by Broke for Free is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License. ...
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