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The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings [Paperback]

By Peter Kreeft (Author)
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Item description for The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings by Peter Kreeft...

While nothing can equal or replace the adventure in reading Tolkien's masterwork, The Lord of the Rings, Peter Kreeft says that the journey into its underlying philosophy can be another exhilarating adventure. Thus, Kreeft takes the reader on a voyage of discovery into the philosophical bones of Middle earth. He organizes the philosophical themes in The Lord of the Rings into 50 categories, accompanied by over 1,000 references to the text of Lord. Since many of the great questions of philosophy are included in the 50-theme outline, this book can also be read as an engaging introduction to philosophy. For each of the philosophical topics in Lord, Kreeft presents tools by which they can be understood. Illustrated.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ignatius Press
Pages   237
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 30, 2005
Publisher   IGNATIUS PRESS #1427
ISBN  1586170252  
ISBN13  9781586170257  

Availability  0 units.

More About Peter Kreeft

Peter Kreeft Peter J. Kreeft (Ph.D., Fordham University) was born in 1937 and is professor of philosophy at Boston College where he has taught since 1965. A popular lecturer, he has also taught at many other colleges, seminaries and educational institutions in the eastern United States. Kreeft has written more than fifty books, including The Best Things in Life, The Journey, How to Win the Culture War and, with Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > British > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism
6Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > History & Criticism

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Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

Reviews - What do customers think about The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings?

Good premise, poor execution  Oct 11, 2008
I think this was a good premise that ultimately failed in the execution. I didn't mind the focus on Christian philosophy (its from a religious publisher) but I do object to the frequently dismissive and insulting tone the author took toward those who disagree with his philosophy. In addition to the off-putting lack of open-mindedness I feel the author bit off way more than he could chew. He attempted to cover 50 philosophical questions in 225 pages. Basically this left him enough time to briefly explain the question, provide one quote each from Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, then move on. I would have preferred a much deeper exploration of perhaps five or ten questions rather than the shotgun approach the author took.
An Excellent Overview of the Philosophy of Tolkien  Mar 1, 2008
It could be argued that this text is far too small for the expansive topic of J.R.R. Tolkien's Philosophy (or really any investigation into the philosophy in the works of a writer of any human depth), for its 225 pages seems to blithely skip through the deep questions which have been plaguing mankind in all of its history an doubtlessly before that as well. However, it is such blitheness that makes the text so excellent, for it does not claim to be a comprehensive rehashing of the philosophical works of the author. Instead, it sets out as an outline of philosophy as a whole, providing quick strokes by means of which the reader can be led in the general direction of where Tolkien stood on the issue and, in some cases, where this is in comparison to the whole of philosophy. Beyond this, it is up to the reader to follow through the concordances in order to begin to see relationships among Tolkien's texts.

What I find to be the most felicitous aspect of the text is the fact that Kreeft approaches not from the historical/ethical dimension but first foremost from the metaphysical, cosmological, anthropological, epistemological realms of philosophy. As he himself says, one of the hallmarks of ethics is that it requires knowledge of where the person is going. Therefore, it is proper to approach ethics only after one has, in some tenuous way, looked at the meaning of the world. In this way, he builds up each precursor in order to give the following considerations more grounding in their essences.

Many of the considerations in the text are familiar to fans of Tolkien's works who have considered any part of his corpus in relationship to their greater meaning. Therefore, this text first and foremost is of most brilliance to those readers who have not considered the philosophical/theological dimension's of Tolkien's work. However, for those who have undertaken such considerations, Kreeft ordering of his text works well to once again remind the experienced of Tolkien fans of how his works are imbued not with separate philosophies but with a core worldview from which all of his work springs. This is often lost when one hyper-analyzes a single aspect of the work. Kreeft does bring out this unity in the midst of plurality very well and thereby reopen's Tolkien's work to the most ardent of fans. The only weakness which exists is that it perhaps does not go enough into the ancillary works of Tolkien and also focuses only on how Lewis' thought related to Tolkien's, neglecting the sundry other influences and later commentators on his works.
This is a shallow and horrible book  Feb 18, 2008
This book is Sunday schoolish silliness at its best. When we are children, it is OK to think and act like children; however, if you are a grown human being with a mind, this book is definitely not for you. Just pablum. Save your money.
Great book!  Feb 11, 2008
I wasn't sure I would like this book as I am not into philosophy or so I thought, but this book I can definitely highly recommend. This is the first book I have read that is written, not just from a scholarly point of view, but from an unabashed point of view of the joyful fan writing lovingly of the inhabitants of Middle-earth. This is by one of us! Frodo is Kreeft's favorite and mine which endeared this prolific author even more to me. He addresses all the big questions philosophy tries to answer about free will, fate, humility, friendship, mercy, evil, etc. and applies this to the story Frodo and Sam wrote in the Red Book. One of the more interesting points is we all know how strong evil is, but do we realize how weak it is? That is brought out here among many other things.
He also has an essay in Celebrating Middle-earth that is very good so check that out also! Thank you, Professor Kreeft! God bless you.
Why do we love Lord of the Rings?  Jan 12, 2008
Prof. Kreeft provides an absolutely delightful and well-structured guide to the ideas and beliefs underpinning Tolkien's work. In his introduction he suggests that his book, unlike LOTR, will be somehow less enjoyable, yet relevant. I would beg to disagree. "The Philosophy of Tolkien" is merely a pleasure of a different kind. LOTR brings us into a mythological world where we can quickly lose ourselves to the richness and texture. By contrast, Prof. Kreeft's book is like wandering through a beautifully ordered museum focused on a single artist -- in this case J.R.R. Tolkien. The author shows connections and threads, ideas and motivations.

After wandering this museum, at least this one Philistine came away with a much clearer understanding of why Tolkien's work has touched me at such a deep level. My first reading was of a paperback copy given by my grandmother when I was 11. Now, at 50, I cannot count the number of copies that I've ploughed through or given to friends. Prof. Kreeft clearly explains my "obsession" and the deep human needs that have driven it.

Another delight of this must-read-over-and-over book is the author's weaving of other writers to explain, elucidate, and extend Tolkien's ideas. Especially pleasurable for me is that Prof. Kreeft draws from books that I have read -- by Lewis, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and others -- as well as from books that an engineer-turned-MBA would have never gone near. My must-read list has grown dramatically.

In short, this is a magical book, a door to learning about ourselves. I couldn't put it down.

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