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Matt Dickerson, PhD '89


September 18, 2015 at 10:00 PM - 11:30 PM EDT


411 Willard Straight Hall

Imagination may be one of the greatest gifts God has given to — or created into — his image-bearing human creatures.  And that imagination is a vitally important aspect of our reason, or creativity, our language, and even our ability to enter into and understand and honor scripture.  To be persons created in the image of God is to be creative and imaginative. The church, however, has not always valued or nurtured the imagination. Matthew Dickerson will explore the importance of our imagination, and look at ways  the church can (and needs to) cultivate and disciple the imagination of its members.


In 1989, Matthew Dickerson earned his PhD in Computer Science at Cornell University where he also studied Old English Language and Literature. That same year (1988-89), he and his newlywed wife Deborah helped plant New Life Presbyterian Church in Ithaca. Since then, he has been a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, the faculty advisor for the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship group there, and for twelve years the Director of the New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf.


He has written several books and book chapters and taught numerous college classes on the writings of C.S.Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien in particular, and on mythic and fantastic literature in general. He is an internationally known scholar on the works of J.R.R.Tolkien. His books in this area include Ents, Elves and Eriador: the Environmental Vision of J.R.R.Tolkien (with Jonathan Evans, 2006), Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: the Environmental Vision of C.S.Lewis (with David O’Hara, 2009), From Homer to Harry Potter: a Handbook of Myth and Fantasy (with David O’Hara, 2006) and most recently A Hobbit Journey: Discovering the Enchantment of J.R.R.Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Matthew Dickerson is also the author of many creative and imaginative works of his own. His most recent work of fiction is a new fantasy novel titled The Gifted (Volume 1 of the Daegmon War), published in May of 2015 by AMG. He has also published two medieval historical novels: The Finnsburg Encounter (Crossway Books, 1991) and The Rood and the Torc: the Song of Kristinge, Son of Finn (Wings Press, 2014). His works of creative non-fiction include Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia (with by O’Hara, Cascade Press, 2014) and a forthcoming series with Wings Press that will begin in the fall of 2015 with the volume Trout in the Desert: On Fly Fishing, Human Habits, and the Cold Waters of the Arid Southwest. He has three sons: one entering his third year of graduate school, one entering his final semester of undergraduate education, and one who will start college in the Fall of 2016. About the book Downstream, Eugene Peterson has said, “From its early pages I was riveted. Their language is exuberant but also disciplined. It didn’t take me long to know that it would soon take its place on my bookshelf alongside John Muir and Henry David Thoreau. They are that good.” One of the essays from Downstream, which appears as the cover story in the current (July-August 2015) issue of Books & Culture, is available here: “The Clear Cut, the Cut Throat, and the Cascade Effect.”

Dr. Dickerson’s visit is co-sponsored by the New York State Presbytery (PCA).

Chesterton House Painting