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Tolkien conference successful

Published in The Falcon (Seattle Pacific University)

Approximately 600 people attended the “Celebrating Middle Earth: The Lord of the Rings as a Defense of Western Civilization” conference at SPU last Friday and Saturday. The conference was co-sponsored by the SPU Society of Fellows, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the Discovery Institute and hosted by the C.S. Lewis Institute.

Associate Professor of Political Science John West, who first had the idea to hold the conference, said he was delighted with the way the conference went.

West said that the role the Society of Fellows and the Discovery Institute, as well as the financial support of the Earhart Institute and Intercollegiate Studies, was instrumental in making the conference a success.

“I couldn’t have done it without [them],” West said.

The speakers included Joseph Pearce, author of a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien titled “Tolkien, Man and Myth, A Literary Life,” Peter Kreeft, a Christian author and several SPU professors, including Associate Professor of Philosophy Phillip Goggans, retired Professor of English Janet Blumberg and Associate Professor of Theology Kerry Dearborn.

Goggans said he enjoyed West’s paper, titled “The Lord of the Rings as a Defense of Western Civilization.”

“John West’s application of [The Lord of the Rings] was so timely and thoughtful,” he said. “I found it inspiring and uplifting.”

Goggans loves the book because of the way it helps us live our lives.

“It’s something that if we enter into it, we’ll be transformed and enter into that reality and live how we ought to live,” he said.

Goggans said that the book helps us to focus on the task that God has given us, just as Frodo has his task as the ring bearer in the book.

The conference included many speakers, as well as “The Lord of the Rings Symphony” performed by the SPU Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

West enjoyed the symphony, and said that the Symphonic Wind Ensemble did a spectacular job. He also said that Peter Kreeft approached him afterward to express his enjoyment of the symphony.

“He was just amazed that an undergrad symphony could sound so good,” West said.

Senior Lisa Tifft also liked the symphony.

“I thought that the music was very good,” she said. “I thought it presented the characters very well.”