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J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth

von Bradley J. Birzer

Weitere Autoren: Joseph Pearce (Vorwort)

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218499,369 (3.96)5
Peter Jackson's film version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the accompanying proliferation of Rings-related paraphernalia, has once again brought the work of J.R.R. Tolkien to a popular audience. There are, however, few full and accessible treatments of the religious vision permeating Tolkien's influential works. Bradley Birzer has remedied that with his fresh study, J.R.R. Tolkien's sanctifying Myth: understanding Middle-earth. In it Birzer explicates the religious symbolism and significance of Tolkien's Middle-earth stories. More broadly, Birzer situates Tolkien within the Christian humanist tradition represented by Thomas More and T.S. Eliot, Dante and C.S. Lewis. He argues that through the genre of myth Tolkien is able to provide a sophisticated--and appealing--social and ethical world view.… (mehr)
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The aim of the author is to help a reader understand the philosophical underpinnings of the world(s) Tolkien created. He does this by using a tremendous amount of sources (a quarter of the books is the appendix in the back listing all of them) and is clearly very familiar with more of Tolkien's writing than just the the popular Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and the Simarillion.

The author delves into Tolkien's past and faith and genuflects in depth on the way these inform the philosophy of the Lord of the Rings world. His explanation of the difference between true myth and allegory in the writings of Tolkien is one of the clearest I have run across. If you recall Tolkien was very specific that his work was in no way allegory. Yet, it reflected his faith very deeply and at times very clearly. Tolkien was a devout Catholic and his world has many reflections of the religious way Tolkien saw our world. I was very interested in the different biblical arch types represented by the characters Tolkien wrote and how Tolkien described how he came up with characters.

This books also deals (lightly) with some of the different movements that have adopted Tolkien's writing, the hippies, environmentalists, and even an effort by Italian fascists to use his works to support their aims. How Tolkien felt or would be likely to feel about these sorts of attempted usage is briefly discussed.

While this volume contains a biography of sorts of Tolkien this was not written to tell the story of his life but as the title tells you, to help readers understand the philosophy of Middle Earth. Probably not for the causal reader or someone who is looking for Tolkien's story. ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
A must read for anyone who has been moved by Tolkien's works and wants to know why. But perhaps even more important, a must read for those who don't understand or who misunderstand what Tolkien has created. Far more than escapist literature for hippies and geeks, The Lord of the Rings is a sanctifying myth that illustrates some of the foundational truths of life to a world that has forgotten them. Bradley Birzer truly understands the significance of Tolkien and his work and explains it in a clearly written, organized, well-researched and thoroughly documented way. Superb in every respect. Highly, highly recommended. ( )
  nsenger | May 23, 2014 |
[W]hat I find personally frustrating is that a coherent discussion of Tolkien's ideas about myth in general is...how shall I put this?...missing.

(Rest of my review at http://knowledgeum.blogspot.com/2006/01/fellowship-of-return-of-crappy-little.ht...) ( )
  drbubbles | May 29, 2007 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Bradley J. BirzerHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Pearce, JosephVorwortCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
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Peter Jackson's film version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the accompanying proliferation of Rings-related paraphernalia, has once again brought the work of J.R.R. Tolkien to a popular audience. There are, however, few full and accessible treatments of the religious vision permeating Tolkien's influential works. Bradley Birzer has remedied that with his fresh study, J.R.R. Tolkien's sanctifying Myth: understanding Middle-earth. In it Birzer explicates the religious symbolism and significance of Tolkien's Middle-earth stories. More broadly, Birzer situates Tolkien within the Christian humanist tradition represented by Thomas More and T.S. Eliot, Dante and C.S. Lewis. He argues that through the genre of myth Tolkien is able to provide a sophisticated--and appealing--social and ethical world view.

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