Item description for The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-Earth by Ralph C. Wood & Nadia May...
Overview In this accessible and engaging book, Ralph Wood shows us that JRR Tolkien's masterpiece is a deeply Christian work because if does not blink back the horrors of our terrible times but confronts them with startling honesty. Readers keep turning to this work because here they are immersed in significance and meaning - perceiving the Hope that can be found amidst despair; the Charity that overcomes vengeance; and the Faith that springs from the strange power of weakness.
Publishers Description In this accessible and engaging book, Ralph Wood shows us that J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece is a deeply Christian work because it does not blink back the horrors of our terrible times but confronts them with startling honesty. Readers keep turning to this work because here they are immersed in significance and meaning - perceiving the Hope than can be found amidst despair; the Charity that overcomes veangance; and the Faith that springs from the strange power of weakness. The Gospel According to Tolkien will be loved by both longtime Tolkien fans and those recently drawn to his books through the popular feature films.
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Studio: Hovel Audio
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 5" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.95" Weight: 0.59 lbs.
Release Date Jul 1, 2005
Publisher Hovel Audio
ISBN 1596442123 ISBN13 9781596442122
Availability 0 units.
More About Ralph C. Wood & Nadia May
Ralph C. Wood is University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University. He is the author of Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South and Literature and Theology.
Ralph C. Wood currently resides in Waco, in the state of Texas.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-Earth?
An Excellent Topical Analysis Jun 5, 2008
This is an excellent read for any fan of Tolkien's mythopoaeia. Be prepared to discover the depths to which Tolkien's universe describes the Eucatastrophe of the Gospels.
Good Reflections on a Beloved Topic Mar 1, 2008
Much has been made of Tolkien's masterful sub-creational mythos in the past seven years since New Line Cinemas opened up with Peter Jackson's films. Many feared that the master's work would be undermined by what is often called "pop culture mentality" (or something of the like). However, thanks to the very fact that Tolkien was a simple man at heart, a Hobbit according to his words, his timeless work survived the potential storms which come from popularization, for the work is more in tune with the populace than the culture czars' so defined "pop culture."
Now, what does this have to do with Wood's text? It seems to me that most texts which begin with catch phrases like "The Gospel According to ..." or "Philosophy and ..." have a tendency to be sophistic essays made for the sake of profiteering. I can't level that charge at this text. While it is not what some would call a "bold" exploration of the Catholic core of Tolkien's thought, Wood's text serves as an excellent primer in the major themes of J.R.R. Tolkien's mythological works. It traces the core ideas of sub-creation, the fall, evil and good, and "eschatology" from Tolkien's perspective. All of these themes, particularly the first two (which really serve as reference points for the rest) are the gems of Tolkien's work and Wood considers them well and accessibly. In particular, the author develops each major section with very well enumerated themes, making the text accessible for re-readings on partial topics if one is looking to have a short reflection on how some value or vice is illuminated by Tolkien's thought.
As I said above, on the whole, this text is an excellent introductory text for readers of Tolkien who desire to delve a bit deeper into the Christian themes of the work. I hesitate to give it five stars because it does seem to rehash much that has been said in the past. Additionally, the work does not seem to spring from the Christianity which is the core of Tolkien's thought but instead uses it in service of Tolkien. Methodologically, I do not think this is necessarily a completely appropriate way of approaching the Christian core of a text. Nevertheless, Wood's excellent and highly accessible text is nonetheless unique in its lucid presentation and genuine (and truly realized) desire to present the golden core of Tolkien's mythos. I suggest it for Tolkien lovers of all levels of depth, for it reminds the experienced of the simple glory of the text and introduces the novice to the Light which is at the core of the great Mythologist's work.
I love this book! Feb 11, 2008
This is the first book I read through when I started to seriously pursue those books that had been written about the spiritual themes that are woven into the whole story of Middle-earth from the beginning through the start of the Fourth Age and beyond and it's the only one that I've read twice. It starts out with much on the The Silmarillion and the creation through song of much good and also evil and it continues through to the story of the War of the Ring and the effects of the evil that has been present since the beginning of the world. It includes the best description yet I have heard about Sam and Frodo's pure, unbreakable bond, calling it holy and comparing it to the `knitted souls' of Jonathan and David in the Bible. There is also a discussion of "The Debate of Finrod and Andreth" about the Incarnation that is still some thousands of years in the future. This is another great book that addresses many of the themes that make the Red Book something to return to time and time again and learn something new each time, about it and ourselves. Seek out Professor Wood's articles scattered throughout the Internet for he loves Middle-earth and those who inhabit it. Thank you, Professor! God bless you.
RIGHT ON THE MARK Jan 3, 2008
This man is very serious learned and has the most profound (without reading too much into the text) and complete understanding of Tolkein that's avaliable. Any univ professor or teacher of Tolkein should be either assigning or at least using this work.
All it lives up to be May 22, 2007
I judge this book based upon what it says it will do, and whether, after reading it, I deem the book actually did what it said it would do, or if it flopped. But, though some may disagree with its purpose, the book does not contradict itself and presents a very lucid and enjoyable argument.
The author argues that Tolkien is not explicitly allegorical in The Lord of the Rings. Being a Tolkein fan, this comes as a great relief, because I knew that Tolkien particularly disliked allegory (claiming in what I deem a word of humor) 'whenever he could smell it'. But the author does argue that within TLoTR there exists an implicit theme or 'feel' of Christianity, and thus he goes about collecting convincingy evidence (in large volume) to support his thesis.
If one is interested in looking into and finding potential connections between LOTR and Christianity, this will be a very rewarding book to read. Just remember, Tolkien wrote Rings chiefly as fantasy, and, while there indeed may be residual evidences of Christianity within the book (because Tolkien was a Christian and thus it is impossible for there not to be), it is not the book's intentional purpose to flaunt any type of religion.