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Old 05-25-2002, 03:42 PM   #6
Genandra of Mirkwood
Pile O'Bones
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 22
Genandra of Mirkwood has just left Hobbiton.

I'm a Christian, but also haven't read HoME yet so I'll speak generally about the idea of Christian themes in Tolkien's work. When I read in the appendix to LOTR that Tolkien said he didn't like analogy and favored "applicability" instead, I knew exactly what he meant. I knew that I wasn't to look anywhere in Middle Earth for who "Jesus" was! After all, Tolkien intends Middle Earth to be a history, and Jesus Christ is a historical figure, not to be confused with any other. To contrast, in the Chronicles of Narnia there is absolutely no doubt who the Christ figure is- Aslan- and this is in fact what Lewis intends, so for the genre he does it well. But Tolkien rejected this genre, so in searching for Christian themes we should keep this in mind.

That's not to say they're not there, but in my opinion the books are more representative of a Christian way of thinking about the world than specific Christian symbols or facts. For instance, a clear portrayal of the unimaginably good, creative, active, powerful life of God and how his creatures can participate in that nature. Definitely the idea of good vs. evil. Perhaps also a principle of the seemingly weak and simple overcoming the pride of the selfishly strong. I think Tolkien said he believed all myth points to Christianity because the underlying basis of Christianity is story.

Don't know if I'm explaining this well but I guess I could sum it up by saying it's probably best to look for principles of Christianity than to get too specific. Unfortunately, unless you're well acquainted with Christian thinking this can be a subtle exercise. Of course, in Tolkien's day it was assumed that well-educated people would be grounded in the Bible and Christian philosophy- that's less often the case today.

[ May 25, 2002: Message edited by: Genandra of Mirkwood ]
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