Saturday, July 14, 2012

The philosophy of Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien is best known as the author of the most popular genre novel of the 20th century. But was also a Christian whose arguments were an important factor in the conversion of C.S. Lewis. Peter Kreeft explains the connection between his faith and his fiction in a book I just ordered at the recommendation of Justin Taylor:
Peter Kreeft’s The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings (Ignatius, 2005) is an enjoyable and edifying book. He is an unabashed fan of The Lord of the Rings, which he considers one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. In this book he works through 50 of the great questions using four tools:
  • an explanation of the meaning and importance of the question;
  • a key quotation from The Lord of the Rings showing how Tolkien answered the question (many more passages are given in the Concordance to The Lord of the Rings in the Appendix);
  • a quotation from Tolkien’s other writings (usually a letter) that explains or comments on the theme in The Lord of the Rings;
  • a quotation from C.S. Lewis, Tolkien’s closest friend, showing the same philosophy directly stated.
For me, the Lewis quotes alone were worth the price of the book. .... [more]
Taylor continues his post with an "outline of worldview issues addressed (at least in part) by The Lord of the Rings," i.e. the table of contents of the book, and "the outline for his philosophical concordance of The Lord of the Rings," also from Kreeft's book.

The Kindle edition of The Philosophy of Tolkien can be purchased here.

The Philosophy In and Behind “The Lord of the Rings” – Justin Taylor