Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Log In

A valid email is required.
Password is required.
Site Notices
6/21/2017 8:25:40 PM
Posted: 12/20/2001 2:32:53 PM EDT
My wife asked me this the other day and I didn't know. She saw copies of the book at the christian store that she goes to. I read the books about 17 years ago but don't remember the details, just the basic storyline. Is there a connection between Christians and LOTR? Why would these books be offered at Christian stores?
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 2:38:18 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AmeRican15: Is there a connection between Christians and LOTR? Why would these books be offered at Christian stores?
View Quote
Because some slick sales person probably convinced the naieve store manager that Tolkein was similar to CS Lewis. Seriously, there is no Christian allegory. Tolkein was a language professor and started writing as a result of his inventing runic languages and characters around his alphabets. I remember one of my kooky lit profs who tried to convince us that Billy Budd Sailor by Herman Mellville was a Christian allegory. Jim Conklin = J.C. Jesus Christ = J.C. hmmmm... Billy Budd... Beelzebub.... hmmm.... How do these people become employed?!?!?!?
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 2:40:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 2:41:34 PM EDT
There isn't one.
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 2:43:42 PM EDT
I disagree with Ben Dover, Tolkien was a very devout Christian. The Three Elven rings are a symbol of the Trinity. The "One" ring was for the One. The Seven Dwarf rings were for the seven Deadly sins. There are a lot more allusions but I don't remember them all. Gandalf is actually an Angel sent down to Earth to help us, whearas Saurman is a fallen angel. It is really there if you can find it, Frodo is very similar to Galahad in search of the Holy Grail.
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 2:47:48 PM EDT
The only connection I remember is being told by christians when I was a kid that D&D type stuff like LOTR is satanic and you will go mad and hack people up with swords.
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 2:55:56 PM EDT
OK. I'm going to hand type a bit from the forward he wrote for my 1965 Second Edition.(The one with the huge pull out maps :) ) [b]As for any inner meaning or [i]message[/i], it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical.[/b] You see, back the folks thought he was describing Hitler and WW II. [b]Other arrangements could be devised according to the tastes of those who like allegory or topical reference. But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manisfestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence.[/b]
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 3:03:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SS109: I disagree with Ben Dover, Tolkien was a very devout Christian. The Three Elven rings are a symbol of the Trinity. The "One" ring was for the One. The Seven Dwarf rings were for the seven Deadly sins. There are a lot more allusions but I don't remember them all. Gandalf is actually an Angel sent down to Earth to help us, whearas Saurman is a fallen angel. It is really there if you can find it, Frodo is very similar to Galahad in search of the Holy Grail.
View Quote
Actually, we are both correct. He was a devout Catholic but spent some time away as an atheist. Fellow Inkling Club member, C.S. Lewis was responsible for his return to Christianity. You can read up on his bio at [url]http://www.tolkeinsociety.org[/url].
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 3:11:51 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SS109: I disagree with Ben Dover, Tolkien was a very devout Christian. The Three Elven rings are a symbol of the Trinity. The "One" ring was for the One. The Seven Dwarf rings were for the seven Deadly sins. There are a lot more allusions but I don't remember them all. Gandalf is actually an Angel sent down to Earth to help us, whearas Saurman is a fallen angel. It is really there if you can find it, Frodo is very similar to Galahad in search of the Holy Grail.
View Quote
To most of this, I say- "Hogwash" Tolkien was a devout Christian, true, but as far as allegorical(seven for seven deadly sins) imagery, it's not there. Tolkien stated that , unlike his good bud and fellow Inkling C.S. Lewis, "I dislike allegory whenever I smell it!" Read the Silmarillion, and notice that Tokien created a complete universe, with a single god, Eru, and a hierarchy of angels, the Arda. Gandalf is roughly equivalent to an angel, and Saruman has fallen from his appointed task, true. As far as the 3 elven rings symbolizing the Trinity, there is not a reason to beleive this, other than there are 3 of both of them. Other than that, they hardly enter into the story, same with the dwarf rings. Tolkien's world is Pre-Christ, and Tolkien's world could even be an alternate, forgottent prehistory for our own... The Christian connection is that Tolkien's work, unlike Rowling's, is that Tolkien's underlying Theological framework is evident to the thorough reader, especially if you read the Silmarillion. Also, unlike the Potter books, Tolkien's heros don't seel to gain power from the enemy or evil, but rather to refuse it, because it would ultimately be their downfall, despite what earthly power they might gain(see the paralell?). Their cause is just, their "magic" as it were, is of the power of the One God, Eru, granted to his earthly children and emmissaries, even as Sauron, fallen as he is, had his power granted at the dawn of time, by Eru. It's something of a stretch to the casual book skimmer, but Tolkien's books certainly stand in stark contrast to the world, magic, and overall message of D&D. Juggernaut
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 3:14:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2001 3:08:09 PM EDT by Stealth]
Originally Posted By SS109: I disagree with Ben Dover, Tolkien was a very devout Christian. The Three Elven rings are a symbol of the Trinity. The "One" ring was for the One. The Seven Dwarf rings were for the seven Deadly sins. There are a lot more allusions but I don't remember them all. Gandalf is actually an Angel sent down to Earth to help us, whearas Saurman is a fallen angel. It is really there if you can find it, Frodo is very similar to Galahad in search of the Holy Grail.
View Quote
No flame, but I think you're reaching here. Connections like these can be made with any good vs evil type story. That doesn't mean those connections were actually done on purpose. Using a little imagination I could link almost any story to some part of the bible. I do not believe it was the writers intent, but a readers imagination. I could very easily be wrong. I never met the man. (Looks like the big J beat me to most of it).
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 3:30:48 PM EDT
There are probably some aspects that could be thought of as Christian--someone pointed out the other day that Lemblas, the elvish waybread, could be taken as an allegory for receiving communion. But mostly his Christianity informs some of the larger themes--the fallen state of man, for example. He wrote in a letter: "'The Lord of the Rings' is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out practically all references to anything like 'religion,' to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and symbolism."
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 3:46:44 PM EDT
Juggernaut is correct in regards to the theological framework being evident. Tolkien himself said in a letter to a friend that LoTR is an "inherently Catholic work." He specifically did not want to write an allegory, but because of his devout faith, it is interwoven by default: [list][*]possibility of redemption 'til the end (Gollum/Smeagol)[/*][*] carrying your cross with help, no matter how difficult (Frodo's task)[/*] [*]hierarchy of truth which is NOT relative[/*][*] morals and ethics that respect free will as well as duty[/*][*]Emphasis on the beauty and sanctity of everyday life (the Hobbits)[/*][*]the lembas that the fellowship is given by the elves and its effects (the Eucharist)[/*][/list] BenDover, Actually, you have it backwards. Tolkien was instrumental in Lewis' return to Christianity. "in 1900, together with her sister May, she was received into the Roman Catholic Church. From then on, both Ronald and Hilary were brought up in the faith of Pio Nono, and remained devout Catholics throughout their lives." "and above all C. S. Lewis, who became one of Tolkien's closest friends, and for whose return to Christianity Tolkien was at least partly responsible." (taken from the website link you posted) As a religious educator, I've used Tolkien to teach the Catholic Faith to teenagers because it's presented in a way that catches their attention. It's another way to help bring the truths of Christianity alive for people. loonybin
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 5:29:05 PM EDT
I knew it was something of the sort. It has been a while since I read his bio. I went back and brushed up. I was thinking about the printing in the flap inserts of the book. At one point in the bio it mentions Tolkein's disdain for the active psychedelic culture's penchent for his work and made an effort to 'disappear'. It is a plausable theory that the publishing runs of that era would contain the 'disclaimer' as part of this attempt on Tolkein's part to make hiimself less visible. Maybe he was getting inundated with inquiries from people wanting to know the deeper ideas within his works. Just a theory. Only his son would be able to answer this.
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 5:36:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BenDover:
Originally Posted By SS109: I disagree with Ben Dover, Tolkien was a very devout Christian. The Three Elven rings are a symbol of the Trinity. The "One" ring was for the One. The Seven Dwarf rings were for the seven Deadly sins. There are a lot more allusions but I don't remember them all. Gandalf is actually an Angel sent down to Earth to help us, whearas Saurman is a fallen angel. It is really there if you can find it, Frodo is very similar to Galahad in search of the Holy Grail.
View Quote
Actually, we are both correct. He was a devout Catholic but spent some time away as an atheist. Fellow Inkling Club member, C.S. Lewis was responsible for his return to Christianity. You can read up on his bio at [url]http://www.tolkeinsociety.org[/url].
View Quote
Uhh, I think you have that backwards. I've read a biography of him and from the sounds of it, he was a devout catholic from childhood (following the path of his mother). He helped to convert CS Lewis from atheism... that is all. As for the LOTR/Christian connection...well there isn't really one according to Tolkien himself. But in a biography entitled "Tolkien: Man and Myth" it goes extensively into his philosophy (which he shared with CS Lewis) that many myths actually lead to God. The epic stories of scandinavian cultures, for example, were simply old, slightly distorted images that led to something greater.
Link Posted: 12/20/2001 6:41:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BenDover:
Originally Posted By AmeRican15: Is there a connection between Christians and LOTR? Why would these books be offered at Christian stores?
View Quote
Because some slick sales person probably convinced the naieve store manager that Tolkein was similar to CS Lewis. Seriously, there is no Christian allegory. Tolkein was a language professor and started writing as a result of his inventing runic languages and characters around his alphabets. I remember one of my kooky lit profs who tried to convince us that Billy Budd Sailor by Herman Mellville was a Christian allegory. Jim Conklin = J.C. Jesus Christ = J.C. hmmmm... Billy Budd... Beelzebub.... hmmm.... How do these people become employed?!?!?!?
View Quote
Good question. No allegory is complete; Melville himself wrote in his November 1851 letter to Hawthorne that "we pygmies must be content to have our paper allegories but ill comprehended" (Davis and Gilman 7).
Top Top