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The Humanities in the Age of Fantasy

Ducharme feature

In the words of J. R.R. Tolkien’s Gimli, “faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” There is much to learn from the Lord of the Rings other than the names of elves, wizards, and magic. The work provides philosophical and spiritual guidance.

paige-hichschild_-chair-of-theology-paige-hochschild.jpgAssociate Professor of Theology Paige Hochschild, Ph.D., will illuminate Tolkien’s wisdom in the fall 2019 Ducharme Lecture, titled “Sin and ‘The Gift of Mortality’ in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.” The lecture, set for Wednesday, September 25, at 4:00 p.m. in Knott Auditorium, will focus on the themes of spirituality pervasive in Tolkien's work.

In examining the power struggle of good and evil within oneself, Hochschild hopes to give students a glimpse into Tolkien’s objective to produce good literature that renews one’s vision of the world and stimulates the imagination to see anew the dignity of humanity and the goodness of creation. In addition, she will highlight the value of the liberal arts examined through various texts that are used within the Mount’s core curriculum such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.  The audience should leave the lecture reflecting about who they are and where they want to be.

Hochschild, who serves as theology department chair, obtained her Ph.D. from Durham University, U.K., in 2007 with highest distinction. She specializes in ancient and medieval intellectual history, St. Augustine, Latin patristics, and historical and systematic theology. Recently, she published a book titled Memory in the Theological Anthropology of Augustine, which examines the faculty of memory. The book ties into her current work, which addresses St. Augustine’s concept of history.

The Ducharme Lecture is an ongoing series that invites scholars to foster the integration of learning and helps students make connections between different fields of knowledge in the Mount’s core curriculum. The lectures are named in honor of Dr. Robert Ducharme, who, as an English professor at the Mount for 39 years, made contributions towards the Mount’s mission. This series is made possible by Raphael Della Ratta, C’92, who was an English major and a philosophy minor at the Mount.