Recommended Articles & Essays on Tolkien's Spirituality

Introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien

    Meeting Professor Tolkien, by Clyde S. Kilby. An American professor spent a summer with Tolkien. He remembers the man, his faith, and his writings. Christian History April 1, 2003.
    Tolkien: Man Behind the Myth At odds with his age, he created another. Christian History April 1, 2003.

Selected Articles on J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings

An Evangelical Christian discussion of Tolkien by Brad Birzer (author of Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues) and Mark Eddy Smith (author of J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth)

    Why The Lord of the Rings Is Dangerous. The Christian life in Faerie. Christianity Today posted 12/18/2002.
    Does The Lord of the Rings Teach Salvation By Works?. On whether Tolkien was too ignorant of evil and other subjects.
    Hobbits Aren't Fence-Sitters. Why Tolkien hated modernity and thinking about evil -- and whether he was right to do so. Christianity Today posted 12/20/2002.

Other Tolkien Websites

Recommended Books on Tolkien

Tolkien: A Celebration - Collected Writings on a Literary Legacy, edited by Joseph Pierce. Ignatius Press, November 2001.

Anticipating the great amount of interest in Tolkien's writings due in part to the major theatrical movie release of The Lord of the Rings, this highly readable collection of writings celebrates J.R.R.Tolkien's great literary legacy and the spiritual values that undergird his imaginary Middle-earth.

Tolkien: A Celebration includes personal recollections by George Sayer and Walter Hooper, and many fascinating pieces by authors such as James Schall, S.J., Stratford Caldecott and Stephen Lawhead, exploring the threads of inspiration and purpose in his major works. These dip into subjects such as The Sense of Time in Lord of the Rings, Tolkien: Master of Middle-earth, and Tolkien, Lewis and Christian Myth. Fourteen writers contributed to this insightful work on Tolkien, and it will be much-treasured by those who regard him as a literary hero.

    Review, by David Mills. Touchstone Magazine, Jan-Feb 2002.

"Tolkien needs to be celebrated, because he and his writings were celebrations of the human spirit, imagination and spiritual genius. Joseph Pearce has given us a fine compilation of wit and wisdom about the great man, one that should be read by everyone concerned with the permanent things."

- Michael Coren, Author, Tolkien: The Man Who Created Middle-Earth

Tolkien: Man and Myth, by Joseph Pierce. Ignatius Press, December 2001.

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings took first place in a recent nationwide British poll to find the greatest book of the century. He may be the most popular writer of our age, but Tolkien is often misunderstood. This major new study of his life, his character and his work reveals the facts and confronts the myths. It explores the background to the man and the culture in which he wrote.

Tolkien: Man and Myth observes the relationships that the master writer had with his closest literary colleagues. It reveals his unique relationship with C.S. Lewis, the writer of the Narnia books, and the roots of their estrangement. In this original book about a leading literary life, Joseph Pearce enters the world created by Tolkien in the seven books published during his lifetime. He explores the significance of Middle Earth and what it represented in Tolkien's thinking. Myth, to him, was not a leap from reality but a leap into reality.

"Pearce writes beautifully and with great depth, and the Tolkien who emerges is an impressive being - a man of literary strength and respectability."

- The Tablet

    Review by Daniel Kenelly. Crisis 17, no. 6 (June 1999): 41-43.

About the Author/Editor: Joseph Pearce is a full-time writer living in Norfolk, England. He is the author of a recent major biography of G.K. Chester ton, Wisdom and Innocence. He writes for Catholic and literary journals, and is working on a study of 20th century literary converts to be published by Ignatius Press in the next year.

J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth, by Bradley J. Birzer.

Birzer explains the surprisingly specific religious symbolism that permeates Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. He also explores the social and political views that motivated the Oxford don, ultimately situating Tolkien within the Christian humanist tradition represented by Thomas More and T. S. Eliot, Dante and C. S. Lewis. Birzer argues that through the genre of myth Tolkien created a world that is essentially truer than the one we think we see around us everyday, a world that transcends the colorless disenchantment of our postmodern age. - From the Publisher

    Forward by Joseph Pierce.

    Review by Bonita Chad. Religion & Popular Culture Volume II: Fall 2002.
J.R.R. Tolkien: Myth, Morality, and Religion, by Richard L. Purtill.

An in-depth look at the role myth, morality, and religion play in J.R.R. Tolkien¼s works such as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillionãincluding Tolkien¼s private letters and revealing opinions of his own work.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The History of the Lord of the Rings, by Christopher Tolkien.