Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Knights of Middle Earth

With The Hobbit now in theaters, I thought those of you who are fans might enjoy this article on some of the Christian themes interwoven in J. R. R. Tolkein's classic.

The spirit of Tolkien's hugely successful fantasy novels is deeply Christian.  Born in 1892, the author was a devout Catholic who grew up under the influence of Blessed John Henry Newman's Oratory in Birmingham, England.  All through his busy life as an Oxford professor and popular writer, he tried to attend Mass every day.  His eldest son even became a Catholic priest.  The stories that Tolkien wrote were more than entertainment; they were written to express a profound Christian wisdom.
In a letter Tolkien drafted to the manager of the Newman Bookshop in 1954, but never sent because it sounded too self-important (Letter 153 in the published collection), he admitted that his aim in writing the stories was "the elucidation of truth, and the encouragement of good morals in this real world, by the ancient device of exemplifying them in unfamiliar embodiments, that may tend to 'bring them home.'"  In another letter to a Jesuit friend in 1953, he explained that while he had consciously "absorbed" the religious element "into the story and the symbolism" (because he had no intention of making religious propaganda), The Lord of the Rings remains "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work."

Please read the full article here: The Knights of Middle Earth

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