Lord of the Rings: True Mythology?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien has inspired more commentary, creativity and following than arguably any other modern-day work of art or literature. The successful film adaptation of the first book and highly anticipated release of the second, The Two Towers, has kept the fires of interest alive. Surprisingly, this classic has also been interpreted by--and, thus, embraced by--the adherents of such wildly divergent philosophies as neopaganism and evangelical Christianity. Just what is it about these mystical, mythical and monumental books that spurs whole communities of devotees to create Web sites, Internet browsers, countless graphics, fonts and articles, take on the nomenclature and Tolkien-created languages for their own use and wait in panting anticipation for the celluloid interpretation of their beloved epic?
In this collection of resources, we explore the meanings of the mythology--myth, Tolkien argued, is not by necessity false--as they stem from the author's past, pain and a deep-seated Catholic faith. A master of languages who saw language as intrinsically creative (not simply useful to label reality but to imbue it), Tolkien's created universe and tongues stand alone in the history of literature. Many critics have scorned the trilogy as mere escapism, but Tolkien saw it as discovered reality, that his mythmaking was an attempt to uncover what is real in the clearest way possible: "true myth." (This idea profoundly affected his close comrade C.S. Lewis and his decision of faith in Christ). Biblical imagery, many claim, abounds within the tales--which actually contain no explicit mention of God, Christ or worship.
This seeming ambiguity has left much room for neopagans and others to point out the abundance of gods, spirits, sprites and other mythical and pagan characters in the text. Many in this camp claim as much prominence for their worldview regarding Lord of the Rings as do Christians. We explore the books and author, as well as his worldview with mentions of the movie and related topics in our Special Focus, which we hope you enjoy and share with others.
Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: A Book for Our Time of Terror
Looking For God in The Lord of the Rings
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: A Christian Classic Revisited
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973)
Related Articles and Reviews:
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: Truth, Myth or Both?
Tolkien's Orthodoxy: A Response to Berit Kjos
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