Towards a Unified Theory of Magic
“Magic is not about causing things that are beyond what is naturally possible, it is about causing things that are beyond the ordinary. Put another way, magic is not supernatural, but extraordinary.”
Junius Johnson, "Introduction to Narnia"
It started when I was preparing to teach a session on how magic works in C.S. Lewis' fictional world of Narnia. First, I got carried away thinking about the hypothetical titles for scholarly studies of magic (*listed below for your enjoyment). Then, I found myself diving deeper into the philosophy of magic, what might be called the metaphysics of magic, than I could justify going for a one hour class for children. But it was when I found myself in the midst of assertions about the nature of magic that I was not sure I was prepared to defend that I knew that I could not think this through on my own: I needed conversation partners, and I needed to share the first-fruits of my musings with the world.
"The Grammar of Magic" is an invitation to think with me about the fundamental nature of magic in fantasy settings, and about the basic choices authors must make concerning magic as they are building worlds. We will consider the forms, costs, methods, and rules of magic, with an eye to discerning the underlying structure of magic as a feature of a world. We will also consider magic in relation to science, and consider the advantages of each.
Bring your thoughts about your favorite fantasy stories, bring your most unusual theories, and, most of all, bring your sense of wonder!
Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 7:30 pm Central time
Free, registration required (recording available to all registrants)
What might a scholarly collection of books about magic look like? Browse my imaginary shelf below!
“This is a friendly, informal format where you can learn and share ideas about different aspects of faith. Junius as leader is welcoming, encouraging, real, orthodox, very knowledgeable, and clearly loves the Lord and loves people.”