The religious aspects of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien
This thesis maintains that no comprehensive assessment of the
work of J. R. R. Tolkien can be made without giving due weight to him as
a religious writer, in the senses that : (a) he maintained an esthetic
that is intrinsically Christian, believing that certain kinds of
fantasy can bring new insights of the fallen world; (b) that writing,
or sub-creating, was for him an essentially religious activity,
participating in the myth of Creation; (c) his major fantasy texts
contain subtle, often subliminal allusions to the Judaeo-Christian
scriptures, although stripped of any dogmatic content; and (d) his
major texts assume a cultural authority, through an allusive use of
imagery and imitation of scriptural syntax to operate as a quasiscripture.
I also consider Tolkien's treatment of major theological
issues and assess how well suited the format of fantasy fiction is
for the exploration of such themes.