The Ring and the Cross: Christianity and the Lord of the Rings

The Ring and the Cross: Christianity and the Lord of the Rings

Hardback

Edited by Paul E. Kerry, Contributions by Nils Ivar Agoy, Contributions by Bradley J. Birzer, Contributions by Jason Boffetti, Contributions by Marjorie Burns, Contributions by Carson L. Holloway, Contributions by John R. Holmes, Contributions by Ronald Hutton, Contributions by Catherine Madsen, Contributions by Chris Mooney

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  • Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 310 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 229mm x 28mm | 612g
  • Publication date: 16 March 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Cranbury
  • ISBN 10: 1611470641
  • ISBN 13: 9781611470642
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,830,477

Product description

The conversation, sometimes heated, about the influence of Christianity on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien has a long history. What has been lacking is a forum for a civilized discussion about the topic, as well as a chronological overview of the major arguments and themes that have engaged scholars about the impact of Christianity on Tolkien's oeuvre, with particular reference to The Lord of the Rings. The Ring and the Cross addresses these two needs through an articulate and authoritative analyses of Tolkien's Roman Catholicism and the role it plays in understanding his writings. The volume's contributors deftly explain the kinds of interpretations put forward and evidence marshaled when arguing for or against religious influence. The Ring and the Cross invites readers to draw their own conclusions about a subject that has fascinated Tolkien enthusiasts since the publication of his masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings.

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Author information

Paul E. Kerry is an associate professor of history at Brigham Young University, research associate at Corpus Christi College and visiting fellow at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge.

Review quote

As a contribution to a-if not the-polemical area of Tolkien studies, The Ring and the Cross is commendable not only for looking at both sides, but also for reflecting those many shades in between where most opinions fall. The collection's civility and single-volume format more than likely belie the true friction and disparity of opinions on its topic, but the willingness to publish together is at least a willingness to engage one another, and that can never be a bad thing. Mythlore To a reader who is more a Tolkien fan than a Tolkien scholar, Kerry appears to have been successful in both his aims...This book will be enjoyed by most of those who don't mind prospecting for literary nuggets in broad fields of scholarship. Touchstone: A Journal Of Mere Christianity Not only does the collection capture the theological traditions and complexity of Tolkien's written world, The Ring and the Cross further promotes the cross-pollination of religious studies and literary criticism, aptly showing both disciplines more than merely interrelated. Indeed, what The Ring and the Cross demonstrates is that the theological underpinnings of a literary work are indispensable to thoroughly responsible criticism. In the case of Tolkien's chef-d'oeuvre, if Kerry's diagnosis of contemporary Tolkien scholarship is correct- that 'all signs seem to indicate that Tolkien's writing will continue to provoke, inspire, and provide rich food for thought about its relation to religions and spirituality generally, and Christianity in particular.'-then The Ring and the Cross should continue to carry the Ring into even deeper recesses of religion-literary criticism. The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts Professor Paul E. Kerry's ambitious project - to bring together leading academic voices in the burgeoning area of Tolkien Studies to debate and explore the influence of Christianity on Tolkien's works is a success. Fourteen scholars of literature, theology, history, political science, and philosophy have contributed to Kerry's volume, lending it an interdisciplinary (and inter-confessional) range and depth that is unique for a work dealing with these particular questions. It should be read by any fans or students of Tolkien - Christian or otherwise, from university professors to mature high schoolers seeking a rigorous gateway into a deeper grasp and appreciation of one of the greatest storytellers in the English language...This collection of essays feature many other relevant debates and discussions that are well worth the time of a casual fan of Tolkien who seeks to learn more, or of a seasoned student or scholar deepening their knowledge and study of a profound corpus of writing. Journal of Inklings Studies While the relationship between Tolkien's personal religious convictions and his fictional works has been explored in the past, this collection now brings together many of the common arguments and approaches, situating them in context with one another and offering the reader a...cohesive view of the conversation...Christian readers and scholars interested in Tolkien's Middle-earth fictions, or of the relationship between myth-making and person religious faith in general, will find this anthology accessible, useful, and thought-provoking. Christianity and Literature

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 Part I: The Ring Chapter 3 The Pagan Tolkien Chapter 4 The Christian Tolkien: A Response to Ronald Hutton Chapter 5 The Entwives: Investigating the Spritual Core ofLord of the Rings Chapter 6 "Like Heathen Kings:" Religion as Palimpsest in Tolkien's Fiction Chapter 7 Confronting the World's Weirdness: J. R. R. Tolkien'sThe Children of Hurin Chapter 8 Eru Erased: The Minimalist Cosmology ofThe Lord of the Rings Chapter 9 The Ring and the Cross: How J. R. R. Tolkien Became a Christian Writer Part 10 Part II: The Cross Chapter 11 Redeeming Sub-Creation Chapter 12 Catholic Scholar, Catholic Sub-Creator Chapter 13 "An Age Comes On:" J. R. R. Tolkien and the English Catholic Sense of History Chapter 14 The Lord of the Rings and the Catholic Understanding of Community Chapter 15 Tracking Catholic Influence inThe Lord of the Rings Chapter 16 Saintly and Distant Mothers Chapter 17 The "Last Battle" as a Johannine Ragnarok: Tolkien and the Universal