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The Christian World of The Hobbit Kindle Edition
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More About the Author
My wife Sharon and I have lived in six different states. Right after we got married, we taught in a girls boarding school in Connecticut.
Along the way, we both earned our Ph.D.'s at the University of South Carolina. Currently I am a Professor of English at Asbury University, and we (and Mr. Fluff) are quite happily settled in Lexington, Kentucky.
Top Customer Reviews
Professor Brown is a perceptive and judicious reader, one who convincingly explains how Tolkien's faith is expressed in his fiction. Brown is one of those "attentive readers" Tolkien asked for in one of his letters, the kind who notices all the subtle ways in which the One and his angelic emissaries "peep through" the story, as Tolkien phrased it. Brown is especially careful to detail all the instances of providential good fortune in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, examples of what Tolkien's fellow Inkling Charles Williams called "holy luck." Brown reveals the underlying optimism of Tolkien's world view, the faith in a nearly invisible Benevolence that weaves together all the good and bad decisions of Middle Earth's characters into an epic tale that inevitably leads to "eucatastrophe," the "good ending" that Tolkien expected to find in all great fiction and in life itself.
Brown is already a distinguished Narnia scholar, so he is especially well equipped to explore the relations between faith and fiction, as expressed differently in the fantasy worlds of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.Read more ›
As with most famous authors, Tolkien's work is well-trodden scholarly ground, and most of what is on offer is only of use, or even of interest, to specialists. As the saying goes, history repeats itself, and historians repeat each other. So with literary scholarship. Originality in critical thinking is as rare as originality in storytelling. Thus, what Dr. Brown has given us is not ground-breaking - one would not expect it to be - but rather an accessible synthesis for the general, and particularly the younger reader. With the admirable lucidity he has demonstrated in his previous books, Dr. Brown has provided a highly useful book for parents to read as they reread The Hobbit with, or to, their children, as surely they will with the release of the new Hobbit movie.
The unsettling and unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of so-called `Christian Fiction' is disconcertingly bad. In reading The Christian World of the Hobbit, we are reminded that there is at least one Christian author who is not merely accomplished, but a master of his craft. It is a happy and comforting remembrance.
Sure enough, I was pleased. Not only is his book actually fun to read, it is very insightful. Now, despite the title, fans of Tolkien's world don't have to worry that Devin will be writing about how Sting is the Sword of the Spirit or any other vague connections people have found to Tolkien's mythology and scripture.
Instead, Brown looks at Tolkien, his beliefs, and how those shaped Middle-earth. He examines a few key themes including Divine Providence, Purpose and the battle of good versus evil. Each of the pints he makes are backed up not only by Tolkien's original texts from The Hobbit, but from The Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien's own letters.
The biggest draw of this book is that it is actually about The Hobbit. So few have bothered to write on Tolkien's classic tale and just focus on Lord of the Rings, and it is a shame. While Lord of the Rings may be "better" it was The Hobbit that really started it all.
An excellent book!
The Hobbit is not an allegory of Christian truth, but a vision of the world. Christian themes nevertheless flow beneath Tolkien's Middle-earth, and Brown focuses on three of them: providence, purpose and morality.
As in the books of Ruth and Esther, a divine hand is not overtly present in Middle-earth, yet Bilbo's journey is filled with a strange luck, a providence which "seems to help Bilbo when he needs help but not always when he wants it" (Brown 52). A mysterious power works behind all things in The Hobbit, echoing the mysterious ways in which God works in the world.
The theme of purpose appears in the connections between Bilbo's call to a treasure hunt and the dark lord Sauron's return to Middle-earth. Gandalf is pressed by an urge he does not understand to send Bilbo with the company of dwarves on their journey to the Lonely Mountain. Later, in The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf comes to understand that the success of the quest in The Hobbit (which was only possible because of Bilbo's actions) along with Bilbo's finding of the ring of power and then passing it on to Frodo (in LOTR), were absolutely necessary for the final defeat of Sauron.
The Hobbit is, furthermore, a book about difficult moral choices, whether it is Bilbo's choice to spare Gollum's life or Thorin's choice to do his best to keep all the dragon gold for himself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some seem surprised when told there is a Christian worldview behind The Hobbit and its sequel, The Lord of The Rings. "There's no bible/God-talk in there! Read morePublished 12 months ago by OtherWorlds&Wisdom
Devin Brown gives insight into the great writings Tolkein and the relationship to C.S.Lewis and the comments of Lewis on those works. Mr. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Terry G. Shaffer
Entirely justified by the text, Devin Brown's thesis that Tolkien's Christian (particularly Catholic) theology and religion pervade The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is fascinating... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Orson Scott Card
I am a scientist, a Christian, and a reader who loves the fantastic. Tolkien is by far my favorite author. This book made me conscious of WHY. Read morePublished on January 9, 2014 by Emerson C. Mitchell
I read the book in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. The book offered many insights, that I had not connected on my own, regarding some of the themes prevalent in Tolkien's... Read morePublished on January 5, 2014 by Steven C
As a Christian, I had unconsciously assumed that the "luck" and "good fortune" that the characters experience was Divine providence. Read morePublished on December 29, 2013 by Patrick J. OToole
Interesting but confused. This is not really good book (The Christian World of The Hobbit) to read because of mixed somewhat lectures and stories don't fit to sense of correct... Read morePublished on December 16, 2013 by Timothy J. Bates