CERC has posted an article from "Columbia" magazine by Stratford Caldecott, "The Knight of Middle Earth," about Christian themes in J.R.R. Tolkien's writings. The post coincides with the release of the film adaptation of Tolkien's "The Hobbit." Keeping nicely with the theme of my previous post regarding a Gospel that takes evil seriously, Caldecott points out the many Christian themes in this action-adventure story. Here are some excerpts:
An important part of Catholic wisdom is the ethical tradition that rests
on the natural laws of our nature, made in the image of God. This
tradition could be called "nobility of soul" or "spiritual chivalry."
We see both in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings a
learning process that Tolkien called "the ennoblement (or
sanctification) of the humble," which he believed was an important theme
of his writing as a whole. In both novels, the hobbit heroes (Bilbo in
the one, Frodo and Sam and their friends in the other) are lifted from
the narrow, comfortable world of the Shire into a much vaster landscape
to play key roles in battles that decide the fate of Middle-earth. This
was a process that Tolkien observed among the soldiers he fought beside
in the Battle of the Somme, in the First World War...
It is with these virtues that we are equipped to defend the truly
important things, the little things, the domestic world of the free
family, and the love that binds people together in fellowship...
Aragorn exemplifies all of these virtues in the highest degree, but
we see them develop in the hobbits, too, as they learn to submit to
discipline and overcome their fear to achieve great deeds without hope
of reward — just because it is the right thing to do. This is Tolkien's
challenge to us: to become, in our own way, the knights of Middle-earth.
Please read more here.