I suppose it's partly due to the fact that as I have visited many different online communities devoted to J.R.R. Tolkien's work, I have discovered how passionate people are about protecting the true spirit of Tolkien's labours; especially with the current release of the cinematic versions of the Lord of the Rings and the new readers the movies are bringing into the fold.
In my travels through cyberspace, I have encountered many different views on the themes behind the Lord of the Rings [and Middle-earth in general] and Tolkien's motivation for writing this epic; and while I have read articles and books referring to a certain Christian theme in the Lord of the Rings, I have never found online, a website that deals with the subject in a complete, in-depth and satisfying manner.
Not only that, I have not found online, a well expressed Catholic viewpoint on the Lord of the Rings.
Therefore, after some reading and research, I will try to discuss to a reasonable level why I believe Tolkien's faith played an important part in his life's work.
As for me, I am no Tolkien scholar, nor expert. And this is just an amateur webpage, not a book or biography. This is not an exhaustive text, but rather a discussion that will try to highlight the key components of Catholicism in Tolkien's work.
And of course I love the book. Why else would I do this?
Obviously I am Catholic; I have spent some time in monastic life in France in the heart of the Church and, of course I have read the Lord of the Rings multiple times, including the Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth, the History of Middle-earth [HoME] and an assortment of Tolkien's letters.
Bear in mind that this is not trying to make the Lord of the Rings into a fifth Gospel or make it some spiritual work that one must read, but rather point out some beautiful parallels and symbolism in a popular fictional story written by a Catholic. It is also not trying to imply that the only driving forces behind the story are Catholic or Christian. There are obviously others.
You don't have to be Catholic or Christian to follow this discussion but you probably do need to have read the Lord of the Rings.
The references and quotes for this discussion have come from a variety of sources but most predominately from:
Tolkien: Man and Myth Tolkien: A Celebration Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien J.R.R. Tolkien: A biography The History of Middle-earth Lord of the Rings
- Joseph Pearce [homepage]
- Joseph Pearce [homepage]
- by Humphrey Carpenter & Christopher Tolkien
- Humphrey Carpenter
- edited by Christopher Tolkien
To buy these great books, go to www.amazon.com and search under their names.
It's worth reading this website in sequential order as it's been written that way [except for the latest updates], but be warned this is a reasonably long discussion !
If you would like to contact me please use this address: [email protected] com
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