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Finding God in The Lord of the Rings Paperback – June 1, 2006
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There's more to Middle-earth than meets the eye, argue Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware in Finding God in The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Christian, helped bring C.S. Lewis into the faith and met weekly with Lewis and Charles Williams at an Oxford pub for heated religious and literary discussions that informed The Lord of the Rings. Although Bruner and Ware avoid any simplistic claim that Tolkien's saga is "a covert allegory of the Gospel," the authors assert that the books have evangelistic power because they "can open the heart's back door when the front door is locked." Twenty-one short chapters describe various scenes and themes from Tolkien's work in order to illustrate truths of Christian life. For instance, Frodo and Sam's awareness that their adventures are part of a larger story "reflects the Christian understanding of providence, that we are all part of a story being written by the creator of all that is." Finding God successfully clarifies the ways that Tolkien's Christian worldview influenced the creation of his fantasy world, while respecting the artistic integrity of his achievement. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Bruner, v-p for Focus on the Family's Resource Group, and co-author Ware say that they have written this book "to help fans of The Lord of the Rings discover how the rich fabric of Tolkien's fantasy world enhances a Christian understanding of our real world." They assume that readers will already be familiar with the entire trilogy. Each chapter explores a theme found in Tolkien's series, illustrates it from the story and then shows how this theme can also be found in the Bible. Most of the themes illustrated here that our small individual stories are part of a larger story that gives them more meaning, that we are called to undertake challenging missions beyond our comfort zones or that evil powers are actively scheming in the world will already have been obvious to Christian readers with the intelligence needed to read through the entire trilogy. Readers already familiar with the trilogy will find a few gems of insight, especially the epilogue on Tolkien's literary theory. But it seems much more likely that this book will appeal to those who, having seen the movie, are deciding whether to read the books for the first time. (Nov.)Forecast: Timed to coincide with the release of New Line Cinema's movie The Lord of the Rings, this guide will find an audience, but probably a different one from that which the authors envisioned.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
On the negative side, the book was a bit less than what I had hoped for. I was expecting a book set up with multiple deep essays on the various subjects, but it not quite as in-depth as I would have liked. It is a good surface analysis, but it fails to go into the depths that the more intense fan would prefer.
This is an excellent informative book for parents who are concerened about exposing their children to something that they might be worried about. It is in this regard that the book could do its greatest good because many Christians could end up tossing something out in the name of "evil" that truly can be seen as a testimony of God's glory. Honestly, it a challenge for me to withhold the tears when I am reading Tolkien's work. When I read his words, I see the infinite beauty of God's creation coming forth through the hands of a man who truly realized who his God was.
First, let's make it clear that Tolkien never intended his works to be allegorical--most fans know this already. On the other hand, he said that "In 'The Lord of the Rings' the conflict is not basically about 'freedom', though that is naturally involved. It is about God, and His sole right to divine honour." (The Letters of JRR Tolkien, pg. 243) It is impossible to read Tolkien without taking into account the context of his faith. For that reason, "Finding God in the Lord of the Rings" is a book that many have waited for. While it may satisfy the thirst of some, it will only whet the appetite for others. Overall, I recommend what the authors have done here. They write clearly and with great affection for Tolkien's writing; they speak plainly of Godly characteristics throughout this fantasy epic; they do not, however, plunge headlong into the deeper waters that I hoped to explore.
I'll enjoy this book as a coffee-table piece, one to be thumbed through for daily thoughts and encouragements. For more insight to Tolkien's meanings, I'll turn back to his own letters.