Finding our Future in Fresh Consideration of Major Works II
When: June 8, 2023, 3:30 pm - Thursday
Where: Journals Room
What practices of faith inform and are shaped by major literary works? The writers examined here will suggest powerful and creative ways to think of practices which Christians seek to understand as they face uncertainty.
Karen Beth Strovas, Wayland Baptist University, “Putting off Penitence: Anticipation of Conscience in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)”
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde presents Dr. Jekyll’s anticipation of having to be penitent as a repressive force. Conscience weighs on Dr. Jekyll and informs but exhausts his upright nature. I argue that Dr. Jekyll creates Mr. Hyde not to facilitate the doing of evil, but instead to avoid contrition. I focus on Jekyll’s articulated motives and his brief return to faith; then, I provide direction for how to engage students and scholars in Stevenson’s debate: is it more likely our moral compass or our distaste for conscience and consequence that guides the Christian’s steps?
Greg Laing, Harding University, “‘Though the World Said Otherwise’: Re-Reading Egil’s Saga in a Changing World”
Among the medieval collection of Viking Sagas known as the Islendingasögur, the story of Egil Skallagrimsson holds a special place. While many saga heroes change, none face new challenges and evolving worldviews like Egil, who goes from his youth as a pagan warrior, hungry for glory, to a concerned Christian father, trying to change the trajectory of his own children’s lives. Egil’s story speaks about dealing with shifting cultural values, managing opposing temperaments, and seeking spiritual consolation in the face of tragic loss in ways that audiences in 2023 can both appreciate and find instructive.
Joel Nickels, University of Miami, “The Phenomenology of Discernment in Léonie Adams and Edith Stein”
This paper brings together two Christian authors who offer phenomenologies of the discernment process—specifically the process of interior reflection aimed at ascertaining one’s vocation and purpose in life. Léonie Adams was the seventh United States Poet Laureate and the author of five volumes of spectacularly rich poems that depict, from the inside, the work of discernment. Edith Stein was a disciple of the founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, and she authored multiple volumes of phenomenological writing, philosophical anthropology and theology. What these writers have in common is linked to the Christian discipline of self-denial.
Greg Laing, Harding University, Convener
- Karen Beth Strovas, Wayland Baptist University, “Putting off Penitence: Anticipation of Conscience in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)”
- Greg Laing, Harding University, “‘Though the World Said Otherwise’: Re-Reading Egil’s Saga in a Changing World”
- Joel Nickels, University of Miami, “The Phenomenology of Discernment in Léonie Adams and Edith Stein”