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Fantasy Literature in the Life of Modern Christendom

This in depth look at fantasy literature and its role in the development of Christian thought will immerse students in the work of George MacDonald, G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and C. S. Lewis. The course will focus on the importance and growth of the genre from ancient epic and medieval allegory to the rise of high fantasy in the 19th and 20th centuries, “baptizing students’ imaginations” (C. S. Lewis in an introduction to the anthologized works of George MacDonald. See Lilith (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), introduction, xi.) in the deeply biblical metanarrative and themes these works are built upon and reflect.

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

  • The Complete Fairy Tales (Penguin Classics) by George MacDonald
  • Collected Works Volumes I (Ignatius Press) by G. K. Chesterton
  • The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Tree and Leaf by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • War in Heaven (Revised Eerdmans white cover paperback edition) by Charles Williams
  • That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis
  • The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip and Carol Zaleski

Allen Rushing has always loved story, and that love only grew when, at the age of 14, the Lord saved him. Since then he has joyfully studied the truth, beauty, and goodness of The Story found in Scripture and reflected in the great works, from Dante’s Divine Comedy to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. One of the delights of The Story is taking the time to delve deeply into it, which is why the “restful” philosophy of Scholé is so appealing to Allen. One of the reasons such an approach is natural for him is because of the way he was homeschooled K-12 in the Classical Christian educational tradition. Allen was able to expand on this solid spiritual and educational foundation through his undergraduate degree in Classics with a History focus; in the process of earning this degree, he enjoyed taking classes in Classical Latin, Koine Greek, Literature, Philosophy, and Theology. While in graduate school, he was able to broaden his historical knowledge base, gaining a greater understanding of Western civilization as a whole and focusing particularly on the periods of the Greco-Roman world, Late Antiquity, medieval period, twentieth century world history, the World Wars, and the Cold War. Since graduate school, Allen has taught the humanities from a biblical worldview. Some of Allen’s favorite ways of enjoying the adventure upon which the Lord has set him are reading, writing, building his house, climbing trees, playing ping pong, and spending time with his wife and two children.

Quarter 1

  1. Introduction
  2. George MacDonald: Life, Works, Influence
  3. Readings
  4. Reflection Papers
  5. Class Discussions
  6. G.K. Chesterton: Life, Works, Influence
  7. Readings
  8. Reflection Papers
  9. Class Discussions
  10. Major Essay

Quarter 2

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien: Life, Works, Influence
  2. Readings
  3. Reflection Papers
  4. Class Discussions
  5. Major Essay or Write your own Fairy Tale

Quarter 3

  1. Owen Barfield: Life, Works, Influence
  2. Readings
  3. Reflection Papers
  4. Class Discussions
  5. Charles Williams: Life, Works, Influence
  6. Readings
  7. Reflection Papers
  8. Class Discussions
  9. Major Essay or Passage of an Epic Poem

Quarter 4

  1. C.S. Lewis: Life, Works, Influence
  2. Readings
  3. Reflection Papers
  4. Class Discussions
  5. Major Essay or Dystopian Short Story

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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