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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Hank Edmondson

Abstract

Close examination of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic mythologically driven Faerie literature reveals an implicit allusion to Christian theology, undoubtedly deriving from Tolkien’s devote practice of Roman Catholicism. However, unlike his friend and counterpart C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien insisted on distancing his faerie mythos from any explicit Christian allegorical connotations. Yet theological themes regarding divine providence, fate, chance and free will consistently manifest within Tolkien’s literature, notably in The Silmarillion and his epic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. In order to assimilate theology and mythology in a more universal manner, Tolkien turned to Boethius’s philosophy regarding the role of providence, fate and free will in formulating the divinely providential order of Middle-Earth, while omitting an explicit religious reference to God. It is this implied presence of Providence, and consequentially the lack of an overt allusion to God or religion, that proves essential to the moralistic progression—and universal appeal—of the story and characters in The Lord of the Rings.

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