January 2nd, 2013Tolkien’s Catholicismby Joseph Pearce

I've received an e-mail request for further reading on the Catholic dimension of Tolkien's work. I thought the list of books on the topic that I sent to this correspondent might also interest visitors to the Ink Desk:

Tolkien: Man & Myth by Joseph Pearce (Ignatius)
Bilbo's Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning of The Hobbit by Joseph Pearce (Saint Benedict Press)
Tolkien: A Celebration edited by Joseph Pearce (Ignatius)
J. R. R. Tolkien's Santifying Myth by Bradley J. Birzer (ISI Books)
The Ring and the Cross: Christianity and The Lord of the Rings edited by Paul E. Kerry (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press)
The Gospel According to Tolkien by Ralph C. Wood (WJK Books)
The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft (Ignatius)
Secret Fire: The Spiritual Vision of J. R. R. Tolkien by Stratford Caldecott (Darton, Longman & Todd)
A Hidden Presence: The Catholic Imagination of J. R. R. Tolkien edited by Ian Boyd and Stratford Caldecott (Chesterton Press)

This list is not definitive but it should be enough to get you started.

For your information, I have also taught two eight-lecture courses on Tolkien's work for the Catholic Courses (www.catholiccourses.com), one on The Lord of the Rings and the other on The Hobbit. There are also two other Tolkien specials for EWTN in the works, one of which I filmed a couple of months ago and the other due for filming in April.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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  • January 3 2013 | by Dena Hunt

    I've read a few of those, and since I haven't read them all, I probably shouldn't comment. Can't resist, however. For Tolkien book-lovers (not for movie-fans), Man and Myth is the best explication of the direct correlation between Middle-Earth and the real life of Tolkien, the man. Caldecott's Secret Fire is seminal for an understanding of the spirituality in Tolkien's work, and Peter Kreeft's Philosophy of Tolkien crystallizes the world view of Tolkien in typically lucid Kreeft style of high-relief (which apparently makes virtually everything intelligible!)