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PublicationNarnia, Middle-Earth and the Kingdom of God: a history of fantasy literature in the Christian Tradition2016 Worthing, MarkNarnia, Middle-Earth and the Kingdom of God tells the story of fantasy literature within the context of its complex relationship with the Christian tradition. In this book, Worthing looks at early influences on the genre, including European fairy tales and folklore, Northern and classical mythology, and Christian allegory. He also explores the contours of a variety of fantasy worlds from MacDonald's Faerie, Lewis' Narnia and Tolkien's Middle-Earth, to LeGuin's Earthsea, Pratchett's Discworld and Rowling's world of Hogwarts. In these worlds, and many more, we discover themes such as the battle between good and evil, the question of the existence of God, and the problem of suffering. Fantasy fans of all religious persuasions will find in this book a delightful and informative exploration of the rich history and profound themes of the fantasy genre.
PublicationSome brief reflections on Christology and the natural sciences(Lutheran Theological Journal; 47 (1) ) 2013 Worthing, MarkThe natural sciences have become the dominant, if not exclusive source of knowledge in the modern world. The scientific method is applied to every area of knowledge that arises from or is at least linked to the material world. For many, if a field of knowledge lies outside the realm of the material, then it is not genuinely something to be known. The difficulty for Christians who base our beliefs and way of life in large part upon the 'revealed' knowledge of a transcendent God is clear. At the heart of Christian knowledge is our knowledge of Christ. Significantly, it is precisely at this point that the respective spheres of our knowledge of God and our knowledge of the natural world meet. The two greatest festivals of the church year, Christmas and Easter, celebrate, respectively, God taking on human flesh and entering our material world, and Jesus rising physically from the dead. How do these fundamental assertions of Christian faith sit with a modern scientific view of the world? And what do they say about the physical world itself, our view of it, and God's relationship to it?
PublicationMartin Luther. A Wild Boar in the Lord’s Vineyard2017 Worthing, MarkMartin Luther: A Wild Boar in the Lord's Vineyard tells the story of one of the most eventful and extraordinary lives of the late medieval period. On 31 October 1517 an obscure German monk named Martin Luther posted 95 theses protesting the selling of indulgences. This single act brought him into inevitable conflict with both pope and emperor. The dispute that followed changed not only Luther's life, but also the religious and political face of Europe. This book offers the modern reader a concise and accessible account of Luther's remarkable life. It explores his passionate and fiery character, introduces us to a colourful cast of friends and enemies, and explains the complex politics of church and empire. Whether you agree or disagree with Luther, you will be left with little doubt that his life and thought have shaped the world in which we live - and in more ways than you may have thought. Worthing's Martin Luther is a well-paced introduction to Luther that makes his impact 500 years later understandable.
PublicationIscariot (Novel)2018 Worthing, MarkThis is a novel (historical fiction) which treats the life of Judas Iscariot and deal with a number of theological and pastoral issues.
PublicationGerman inter-monastic politics and the Reformation of the sixteenth century(Lutheran Theological Journal; 48 (2) ) 2014-08 Worthing, MarkThis article explores the complexities of the relationship between the Dominican and Augustinian orders in Central Europe during the time of the Protestant Reformtion. It is argued the the competition between the orders played a significant role in the dispute over indulgences developing into a major schism within the Western church. Early Dominican opponents of Luther are examined as are early Augustinian supporters, including a catalogue of defections from the Augustinian order to join the Reformation. Pope Leo X's reported quip that the dispute in Germany was a monastic squabble is seen to have perhaps more truth to it than is often assumed.
PublicationUnlikely Allies. Monotheism and the Rise of Science2019 Worthing, Mark
PublicationThe Winter Fae. A Fantasy Novella (Novel)2018 Worthing, MarkThis is a novella that deals pastorally with issues of ageing, dementia and death via the fantasy genre.
PublicationGod and science: in classroom and pulpit (revised and expanded edition )2018 Buxton, Graham ; Worthing, Mark ; Mulherin, Christopher
PublicationThe discordant symphony: the problem of evil in Tolkien’s world(Lutheran Theological Journal; 47 (3) ) 2013 Worthing, MarkSince the emergence of modern fantasy writing in the 19th century with the former Scottish Congregational pastor George MacDonald, the genre has frequently served as the vehicle for the exploration of theological themes. The creation of fantasy worlds, often with strong parallels to our own world, and open to 'magic' and the action of supernatural forces, has facilitated the creative exploration of spiritual and theological themes. This tradition was continued in the twentieth century by J R R Tolkien, among others. His writings are not only great literature in the fantasy genre, but they also contain much insightful theological reflection. While Tolkien the novelist would not have thought it appropriate to reflect formally on theological problems - that was the domain of the trained theologians - in the fantasy world he created he dealt indirectly with a number of theological topics. As Australian Catholic writer Damien Casey observed: 'Tolkien may not talk about God directly, but he does so indirectly, in a manner consistent with an appreciation of revelation grounded in the idea of salvation history, according to which God is best revealed in and through the story' (1). Among the theological themes one finds in Tolkien's own storytelling, one of the most poignant is his wrestling with the problem of evil. It is not surprising that evil and its origin is a major theme in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings as the question of the origin of evil arises quite naturally in any monotheistic mythology and Tolkien's world, despite the lack of significant references to the creator in The Lord of the Rings, is monotheistic.
PublicationThe atonement in the light of human and divine suffering(Lutheran Theological Journal; 48 (3) ) 2014-12 Worthing, MarkIn theologies of the atonement the starting point is often the problem of human sin. While not discounting the importance of the role of sin this article explores the significance of so divine and human suffering for the atonement, with special focus on the biblical texts about God's experience of pain and the role of Christ's suffering on the cross in overcoming suffering through suffering.