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"A fundamentally religious and Catholic work" - Who is the saviour in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

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Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,5 (A), University of Heidelberg (Anglistics), course: EPG: A Survey of Fantasy Literature, 5 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Tolkien himself wrote in one of his letters: ‘The Lord of the Rings is of course.

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Titel: "A fundamentally religious and Catholic work" - Who is the saviour in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
Autoren/Herausgeber: Natascha Haas
Ausgabe: 1., Auflage

ISBN/EAN: 9783638257572

Seitenzahl: 9
Produktform: E-Book
Sprache: Englisch

Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,5 (A), University of Heidelberg (Anglistics), course: EPG: A Survey of Fantasy Literature, 5 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Tolkien himself wrote in one of his letters: ‘The Lord of the Rings is of course a
fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the
revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything
like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is
absorbed into the story and the symbolism.’1
Tolkien was a Catholic to whom religion was a very important part of his life. Considering
this background, it seems logical to assume he made religion an important part of his stories,
too. But Tolkien states that he deliberately left out religion of the imaginary world and only
included it on a meta-level. This means that we will not find direct references to religion or
Christianity in The Lord of the Rings, but still Christian ethics and values, maybe as well as
myths and stories, can be found on many levels and as parallels to different story- lines. The
base of all Christian religion and belief is the person Jesus Christ, who saved all men from
death by taking their sins and burdens and eliminating them in his death and resurrection. If
Tolkien can call The Lord of the Rings ‘a fundamentally religious and Catholic work’, one
could argue that this base of Christian religion has to be found somewhere in his story. In this
paper, I would like to discuss if there is anything like a single ‘saviour’-character in The Lord of the Rings, how and by which features one might identify him or her, and which function he
or she was given.
1J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 142

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