Light Beyond All Shadow: Religious Experience in the Work of J. R. R. Tolkien

Overview

What forms can religious experience take in a world without cult or creed? Organized religion is notably absent from J. R. R. Tolkien's Secondary Universe of elves, dwarves, men and hobbits despite the author's own deep Catholic faith. Tolkien stated that his goal was 'sub-creating' a universe whose natural form of religion would not directly contradict Catholic theology. Essays in Light Beyond All Shadows examine the full sweep of Tolkien's legendarium, not only The Lord of the Rings but also The Hobbit, The ...

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Overview

What forms can religious experience take in a world without cult or creed? Organized religion is notably absent from J. R. R. Tolkien's Secondary Universe of elves, dwarves, men and hobbits despite the author's own deep Catholic faith. Tolkien stated that his goal was 'sub-creating' a universe whose natural form of religion would not directly contradict Catholic theology. Essays in Light Beyond All Shadows examine the full sweep of Tolkien's legendarium, not only The Lord of the Rings but also The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-Earth series plus Peter Jackson's film trilogy. Contributions to Light Beyond All Shadows probe both the mind of the maker and the world he made to uncover some of his fictional strategies, such as communicating through imagery. They suggest that Tolkien's Catholic imagination was shaped by the visual appeal of his church's worship and iconography. They seek other influences in St. Ignatius Loyola's meditation technique and St. Philip Neri's 'Mediterranean' style of Catholicism. They propose that Tolkien communicates his story through Biblical typology familiar in the Middle Ages as well as mythic imagery with both Christian and pagan resonances. They defend his 'comedy of grace' from charges of occultism and Manichaean dualism. They analyze Tolkien's Christian friends the Inklings as a supportive literary community. They show that within Tolkien's world, Nature is the Creator's first book of revelation. Like its earlier companion volume, The Ring and the Cross, edited by Paul E. Kerry, scholarship gathered in Light Beyond All Shadows aids appreciation of what is real, meaningful, and truthful in Tolkien's work.

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Editorial Reviews

Literature and Theology
These essays. . . offer some insight into the interpretation of Tolkein's work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611470109
  • Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson
  • Publication date: 7/21/2011
  • Pages: 234
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul E. Kerry is an associate professor of history at Brigham Young University, research associate at Corpus Christi College and visiting fellow at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. Sandra Miesel holds masters' degrees in biochemistry and medieval history from the University of Illinois. She is the co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code and has written numerous articles for the Catholic press.

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Table of Contents

Preface Paul E. Kerry vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Exploring Tolkien's Universe Sandra Miesel 1

Water, Ecology, and Spirituality in Tolkien's Middle-earth Matthew Dickerson 15

Divine Contagion: On the Nature of Power in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings Roger A. Ladd 33

Reflections of Christendom in the Mythopoeic Iconography of Middle-earth Anne C. Petty 47

Biblical Archetypes in The Lord of the Rings Glen Robert Gill 69

Ymagynatyf and J.R.R. Tolkien's Roman Catholicism, Catholic Theology, and Religion in The Lord of the Rings Jared Lobdell 79

I Am the Song: Music, Poetry, and the Transcendent in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth Julian Tim Morton Eilmann 99

Tolkien: Lord of the Occult? John Warwick Montgomery 119

The Fantastic Secret of Tolkien's Fairy Tales: Literature and Jesuit Spiritual Exercises Robert Lazu 127

Life-Giving Ladies: Women in the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien Sandra Miesel 139

Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Tolkien and the Inklings Colin Duriez 153

Peter Jackson, Evil, and the Temptations of Film at the Crack of Doom Russell W. Dalton 171

Songs of Innocence and Experience, or, What Remains of Tolkien's "Catholic" Tale in Peter Jackson's The Lord of Rings Christopher Garbowski 185

Bibliography 197

Index 211

Notes on Contributors 217

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