Monday, January 30, 2023

Theology of Middle-Earth

 From TGC:

J. R. R. Tolkien attracts readers who share a personality trait with him—one he also shared with the medievals he so loved. In the first chapter of The Discarded Image, C. S. Lewis defines that trait with characteristic precision: “Medieval man was not a dreamer nor a wanderer. He was an organiser, a codifier, a builder of systems. He wanted ‘a place for everything and everything in the right place.’ Distinction, definition, tabulation were his delight.”

From Christopher Tolkien’s massive 12-volume History of Middle-Earth to Humphrey Carpenter’s lovingly, if frustratingly, expurgated Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, from Scull and Hammond’s encyclopedic, three-volume J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide to Karen Fonstad’s magisterial Atlas of Middle-Earth, from Peter Kreeft’s comprehensive Philosophy of Tolkien to Holly Ordway’s meticulously documented Tolkien’s Modern Reading, Tolkien scholars imitate his thoroughness, his love of detail, and his passion for subcreating a secondary world that’s almost as rich and multilayered as the primary world.

In this spirit, Austin Freeman has given a gift to Tolkien scholars and aficionados alike in a work I didn’t think could be written. Tolkien Dogmatics: Theology Through Mythology with the Maker of Middle-Earth painstakingly assembles, collates, and cross-references Tolkien’s legendarium, academic essays, and letters to construct a systematic theology. Though informed by the copious secondary material on Tolkien, Freeman’s work is firmly and faithfully grounded in the depth and breadth of the primary material. (Read more.)


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