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Bilbo's Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning in The Hobbit Paperback – November 23, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 147 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Benedict Press (November 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1618900587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1618900586
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph Pearce is Writer in Residence and Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, NH. He is a renowned biographer whose books include Candles in the Dark: The Authorized Biography of Fr. Ho Lung, Missionaries of the Poor (Saint Benedict Press, 2012); Through Shakespeare s Eyes: Seeing the Catholic Presence in the Plays (Ignatius Press, 2010); and Tolkien: Man and Myth, a Literary Life (HarperCollins, 1998). He is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Higher Education from Thomas More College for the Liberal Arts and the Pollock Award for Christian Biography. He is co-editor of the St. Austin Review, editor-in-Chief of Ignatius Press Critical Editions, and editor-in-Chief of Sapientia Press.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable and worthwhile read!
MysteryAuthor
The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are fundamentally a Catholic work! !
sophie123
I had read "The Hobbit" and enjoyed it on one level.
E. Joseph Anna

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Theresa M. George on November 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
Needless to say, I was just giddy when asked to review this book being a great fan of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as well as other books by JRR Tolkien.

It comes as no surprise that there are beautiful Catholic themes woven throughout The Hobbit since JRR Tolkien was a lifelong Catholic. The themes are not quite as obvious in The Hobbit as in the The Lord of the Rings which makes this book quite an interesting treasure to read. Although some points from The Lord of the Rings are also included which I much appreciated and enjoyed.

Professor Pearce takes us on a journey~Bilbo's journey~which is also the journey of a soul. This is the journey of a soul that dies to self in order to be reborn again in Christ. One that leaves the comforts and pleasures of a self-centered life to embark on a pilgrimage filled with trials, dangers, and temptations. As in the spiritual life, this is how the soul is purified and tested.

Bilbo's journey is an adventure in which the virtues of loyalty, patience, self-sacrifice, prudence, peacemaking, forgiveness, courage, and faithfulness are acquired. When Bilbo finally returns to his home from his journey, he is truly *a new man*.

It's timely release is a perfect companion to those picking up The Hobbit for the first time, those looking forward to the movie's release this December, and those seasoned readers who have a dog-eared copy. I would also recommend this to late middle school and high school students who are encountering Tolkien's literature in school or at home.

Professor Pearce has really opened my eyes to the implications of many of the characters and situations in The Hobbit that has allowed me to see it in a new light...a spiritual light. I will never read it the same way again.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Vogt on December 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Many regard Joseph Pearce as today's premiere Catholic biographer. He's profiled many literary icons like Shakespeare, G.K. Chesterton, and C.S. Lewis. His book on J.R.R. Tolkien remains my favorite Tolkien biography. Thus I was excited to hear about Pearce's new book on The Hobbit, published alongside its December film adaptation.

Bilbo's Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning in The Hobbit (Saint Benedict Press, 144 pages, paperback) goes beyond the fantasy to unearth the profound Christian truths hidden within Tolkien's classic work.

Tolkien himself described the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which The Hobbit precedes, as a "fundamentally religious and Catholic work." This underlying dimension is often noble, as in the virtue and self-sacrifice we spot in Bilbo, the dwarves, and the elves. These characters, Pearce notes, embody Jesus' beatific teachings. But there are also darker dimensions like the pride, lust, and greed we see in figures like Smaug, which affirm Jesus' warning that "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21).

When examined through this Catholic lens, The Hobbit becomes a multi-layered spiritual journey:

"[The Hobbit] is a rite of passage from ignorance to wisdom and from bourgeois vice to heroic virtue. Its main character, Bilbo, represents each of us journeying toward God and moral perfection."

Pearce also shows how this journey is aided by religious forces like providence.Though Tolkien never mentions God throughout his fiction, his characters consistently face dire odds but emerge through the help of so-called "luck." Yet this is no mere chance, Pearce explains.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Terryn on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this book was excellent. Pearce goes through the story and unlocks the hidden meanings that Tolkien put into the book. I especially liked how Pearce showed the parallels between Bilbo's comforts at home in the beginning vs. the Dragon's comfort with the gold, and his description of "dragon sickness". I also liked how Pearce unlocked this not only as a "coming of age" story for Bilbo, but of how Divine Providence works through our lives as we partake of our own journeys, and how Providence is really at work when we think of it as luck. I gained some good insights into how Providence and free will work together through this book. Plus, it was fun to go through The Hobbit story again through a different lens.

Be aware that Pearce expects that you have read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings before you read this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Don Mulcare on October 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
Pearce and Tolkien believed that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were fundamentally religious and Catholic works. Apparently critics had either missed or resented this interpretation. Pearce paraphrased Tolkien in suggesting that the real reason for critical prejudice against Tolkien's and similar works had grown out of a particular hostility toward Christianity.

The failure to see and understand the hidden meaning of Tolkien's works, parallels an episode within the pages of The Hobbit where the company of dwarfs and even Gandalf could not see, let alone interpret directions on an ancient map. Elrond did see, understand and read that hidden message because he viewed it on a midsummer's eve under a crescent moon. These were the same conditions in effect when the message was first inscribed. Similarly, to fully grasp the hidden meaning of The Hobbit, the tale must be read with Catholic eyes.

Who better to uncover the hidden meaning of The Hobbit than noted Catholic author Joseph Pearce, who wrote biographies of J. R. R. Tolkien and two of the major influences in Tolkien's intellectual and literary development--Hilarie Belloc and G. K. Chesterton. To further support his assertions Pearce delved into many of the sources used by Tolkien in writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings allowing him to share Tolkien's perspective.
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