Reading Tolkien by David Mills

Reading Tolkien

Tolkien: A Celebration
edited by Joseph Pearce
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001
(210 pages; $12.95, paper)

reviewed by David Mills

Although the average Christian reading The Hobbit and especially The Lord of the Rings knows that they are Christian works, and with good reason, the hundreds and hundreds of people who have written serious studies of the books disagree widely on the nature and place of religion in them. No God ever appears in them, and despite Tolkien’s own belief that they are not only religious but Christian works, the absence of God has let many critics say that Tolkien is wrong.

A startling number of them do not realize or (I suspect) do not want to see that the books are essentially religious. I sometimes get the feeling that this kind of reader prefers th . . .