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Title: A critical assessment of the influence of neoplatonism in J.R.R. Tolkien's philosophy of life as 'being and gift'
Author: Halsall, Michael
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
This thesis explores the theology and philosophy, metaphysics and mystical approach to life as 'being and gift' in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. As a popular writer of fantasy, it is my hypothesis that he developed in that fantasy a radical metaphysics of giftedness in created being, in that all creation participates and subsists in the One, and yet demonstrates a freedom in its subjectivity apart from the One. There is none of the fatalism in Tolkien's world which he encountered in key texts such as Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon psyche, and a corollary of human being in Tolkien's world implies freedom from both theological and corporeal determinism. 1 have explored and assessed the extent to which Tolkien utilised various forms of Christian Neoplatonism, influenced as they are by the Platonic and Aristotelian classical traditions, alongside Old and Middle English texts which were available to him in his professional career. In particular, I have made significant connections between Tolkien's cosmogonic drama in his creation myth and the musica universalis tradition of Latin writers such as Augustine, Boethius and Aquinas. As such, I have demonstrated that for Tolkien. materiality is not a lapsus or declension from some transcendent Godhead, but a divine extravagance in its gratuitous emanation. As Tolkien was writing as a Catholic, it shall be demonstrated that his use of 1 homism reflects the twentieth century theological revision, inspired by Jacques Maritain and his contemporaries. Furthermore, I have sought to demonstrate how Tolkien's more mystical episodes are inspired by sources which were used also by John Scottus Eriugena, alongside Alfred Siewers' reading of them. Tolkien's own published, unpublished, and posthumously published works, comprise a deep well of inspiration and, given the near absence of supporting scholarly material associated with them, then this thesis relies significantly upon those primary sources.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.716490  DOI: Not available
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