Thesis Theater: Jacob R. Schreiner, “The Logos of Faith: Sub-creation through Speech-Acts in Tolkien’s Legendarium”

Date & Time




Signum MA student Jacob R. Schreiner will present his thesis “The Logos of Faith:  Sub-creation Through Speech-Acts in Tolkien’s Legendarium” and respond to questions from the audience in an interactive Thesis Theater. The discussion will be facilitated by Jacob’s thesis supervisor, Dr. Brenton Dickieson.



J.R.R. Tolkien’s theory of sub-creation has long been studied within his legendarium, and how humanity, being created by God, has the desire to imitate the Creator through sub-creation. However, what is the connection between God’s command for the universe to Be and humanity’s ability to sub-create? This thesis examines logos as “word” and “reason” in creation and its relationship to sub-creation through the investigative lens of speech-act theory. According to J.L. Austin and other speech-act theorists, when one speaks, it is not merely to say words, but by the act of speech, one performs, which produces consequential effects by the speaker. In The Silmarillion, Ilúvatar’s original speech-act brought all of creation into being and allowed the Ainur to sub-create within Arda according to the logical reason and design of the universe and by the word, “Eä!” The same is true in Middle-earth. Frodo and Sam harness the power of the logos in their speech-acts, and in prayer as a speech-act, by having faith, they can sub-create through language and bring about physical changes within their world.


About the Presenter

Jacob R. Schreiner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Sam Houston State University. His first conference presentation was at TexMoot in 2019 where he presented his paper “God of War and the Norse Oral Storyteller,” and later that year presented at Mythmoot VI on “’What a worm’s made for!’: The Cure to Conquering Dragons in C.S. Lewis’ Pilgrim’s Regress and Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader.’” At Mythmoot VII, Jacob presented his paper, “A Light for Hobbit Feet: Moral Choices that Defy Darkness in Children’s Fantasy.” His research interests include fantasy, especially the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, speech-act theory, and Germanic philology. Jacob currently runs a blog called The Tolkienian where he analyzes the works of Tolkien, fantasy, and science fiction.


About Signum Thesis Theaters

Each of our master’s students writes a thesis at the end of their degree program, exploring a topic of their choice. The Thesis Theater is their opportunity to present their research to a general audience, and answer questions. All are welcome to attend!

Signum University Thesis Theater

Join us on June 1st at 12pm (noon) ET for a Thesis Theater to explore J.R.R. Tolkien’s powerful concept of Sub-Creation and further ways to understand and perhaps, once explored, make use of it.