Religion, Imagination and Fantasy


The use of human imagination to create secondary or
alternate worlds, in which religious themes and deep
concerns in human life can be explored, is basic to all
religions. The major world religions operate in this way
and are often understood as primary worlds. However,
the authors that we will study have created secondary
worlds which engage with the primary world of
the religion or the person. The unfettered use of the
imagination leads to these worlds being understood as
fantastic. Fantasy does not mean lacking in credibility:
the successful ones allow the participants to enter and
leave the secondary world with an added dimension of
experience. These ideas will be introduced and explored
through the prism of the authors Lewis, Tolkien, Herbert
and Rowling. The course is based on one taught at
George Mason University over the last 10 years.

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