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Theology & Tolkien


On September 15, the first volume of a two-volume work entitled Theology & Tolkien will be be published by Fortress Academic. I have written a chapter for this first volume. The second volume should be available in early 2024. Here is the publisher's description.


The works of J.R.R. Tolkien have not only redefined a genre of literature but also had a far-reaching impact on culture in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Tolkien’s name has joined the ranks of authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, Dostoevsky, Donne, and Dickens who make us think differently about the world. In Theology and Tolkien: Practical Theology, an international group of scholars consider what Tolkien’s works (and Jackson’s film interpretations) can teach us about living out our theology in the world. From essays on Tolkien’s insights into community, what we can learn about our spiritual senses from encounters with the Nazgûl, the pastoral wisdom of Treebeard, to the theological value of food—including second breakfasts—we invite you to journey with us through Middle-earth as we engage the applicability of Tolkien’s works for theology and our world.

The Table of Contents is as follows:


Part One: The Shire

1 Koinonia in The Lord of the Rings by Philip Ryken

2 Searching for Home in Middle-earth by J. Collin Huber

3 Love at the Burning Edge of Doom: Friendship and Biblical Theology in The Lord of the Rings by Chris Bruno and Mark Brians

4 “Her Heart Changed, or at Least She Understood It” by Christine Falk Dalessio


Part Two: Osgiliath

5 Gandalf Grey, Apostle to Men and Elves by Douglas Estes

6 Reading Barth on Jackson’s Set: Threefold Salvation in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Jerome Van Kuiken

7 Art and Sub-Creation: Tolkien’s Theology of Art by Miguel Benitez, Jr.

8 The Culture Wars and The Lord of the Rings: Models of Christian Engagement by Alex Sosler

9 Theodicies in The Lord of the Rings by Rodrigo Follis, Fábio Augusto Darius, and Ismael Silva


Part Three: The Greenway

10 A Nutritious Reading: A Theological View of Food in Tolkien’s Writing by Federico Maria Rossi

11 Nazgûl and the Perversion of Spiritual Senses by Trevor B. Williams

12 “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”: Greed and Power in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Works by Anthony Glaise

13 The Doom of Elves and Men: A Thought Experiment on Death and Immortality by Keith A. Mathison

14 Thinking Like an Ent: Treebeard and the Pastoral Wisdom of Eugene Peterson by Trygve D. Johnson


I will post information on the other forthcoming Tolkien book to which I have contributed a chapter when I have more details about the publication date.

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