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I've been out for a bit because of my Thesis writing, and will be for a little bit longer. For those of you who enjoy reading and literature, this is what I'm writing on:

The argument of this thesis is that J.R.R Tolkien was influenced in his myth-making by his strong Catholic tradition, specifically the teachings of Church Doctor, St Thomas Aquinas. Previous scholarship concerning Tolkien Studies has focused on the importance of Tolkien’s profession as a professor of philology and the possibility of Neo-Platonism. While the knowledge of Tolkien being a devout Catholic has not been ignored, it has not been considered something of primary importance. Being Catholic, for Tolkien, is not a secondary attribute. He believed his mother to be a martyr for the faith and in his orphaned state was raised by a priest. In his letters and the foundational work “On Fairy Stories” he brings his thoughts back to the redemption of creation and the joy of sub-creation.

Tolkien is specific about not bring religion into stories. His concern is truth and morality should be in fairy stories, religion from the primary world should not be in one’s secondary world. He considered adding a religion into fairy stories to be fatal and the possible demise of the story. Even though Tolkien did not explicitly bring the Christian religion into his tale, his knowledge of theology can be found. When dealing with a work that does not want to be pegged down, it can be easy to read too much into an author's meaning, I believe Tolkien's faith is not an overreach. It is think in the passages of his writing.

In this thesis, I will analyze Tolkien’s concepts of creation, free will, and evil in light of Thomas’ Summa Theologica. Included in the analysis will be current theological and philosophical writings that begin to push back on previous works of dualism and Neo-Platonism. My conclusion is Tolkien brought into the twentieth century through fairy story what St Thomas wrote systematically in the thirteenth century – the Christian gospel of redemption and salvation of all creation. His goal was not to provide a dim outlook on the imperfect, but to bring the evangelium back into the imagination and thus into the heart.

Yeah, what she said... smiley Seriously, it sounds quite interesting. smiley My thesis was a new design for a quick tool change mechanism for the ASEA robot arm...

Cat, your's involved math, and math is scary. smiley

Wow Amber, sounds a great theme for a thesis. I´d like to read it when it´s finished.

Well, my college didn´t require me to write a thesis, but lots of small articles about different issues. So I´ve written about a board range of things, from the buddhism in Japan to what Defoe wrote about Portuguese and Spanish people in Robinson Crusoe. And I don´t have a post-graduation course till now.

Cat, your's involved math, and math is scary.

Its not scary once you learn the rules. smiley That's why I love math - because it has very strict rules. I don't know why my brain works like that, but I can learn something very quickly if it has very structured rules. Literature, politics, and anything along those lines confuse me to no end. smiley

Amber, whether intentional or otherwise, I believe that Tolkein's strongly religious background would naturally spill over into his writing. He also disliked industrialisation and the despoiling of the English countryside which I think shows in his sentimental portrayal of the Shire. I am not familair with the writings of St Thomas Aquinas but your thesis sounds interesting. Hope it goes well for you!!

(My thesis was on the genetic take up of mercury resistance in microbes - many moons ago!!! Biochemistry.)

Dawn´s thesis is scarier than Cat´s o.O

LOL - I'm with Cat - science/maths is easy. Learn the rules and patterns and it falls into place. I struggle with languages and art - my tongue and hands won't do what I want them to LOL

Definitely impresses me, too! I think this sounds really interesting and as a fellow literature scholar, fun! I think you can definitely make the case from a New Critical/Reader Response standpoint that Tolkien's INTENT-- however well-documented is irrelevant. His faith was a central part of his perspective and as such, it seems perfectly natural to see it emerge in his writing!

Have you started any writing yet or are you still in the researching stage?

Hello! I'm alive!
LP, I'm currently doing both. The rough draft is due Friday, so at this point, I'm throwing things down on paper, but it doesn't look pretty.

Fascinating Amber! What a cool subject to tackle. Good luck for Friday! I too did not have a thesis, but instead cultural evaluation essays, which totaled 4 altogether by the time I graduated. My last essay was an intense study about the moral dilemma of legalizing self assisted suicide for the terminally ill, and how it's viewed in various countries. My studies were in Social Services and Community Communication in Ontario, Canada. smiley

I am not a scholar. I am a Christian and the way this previous response was stated makes so much sense. It is like a painting. It is what the onlooker, in your case reader, takes away from the exposure. Not just what the artist/writer intended. His faith whether he intended to or not, was so real to him that it did spill over. He did not want his fictional stories to be read as hard fact. I'm guessing that when he read his Bible, as with many fundamental believers, he was reading truth and not fiction. So your explanation of how he felt his books should not include religion made sense. But those same truths, spill over in "parable" form without even thinking about it as it was ingrained in the threads of his life.

I hope I just made sense.

Thanks for the responses!
Retta, Tolkien (as myself) was Catholic, so he probably read his scriptures the way most Catholics and main-line Protestants are taught: each book is it's own genre, so each book speaks the truth a little differently. Some as historical fact, such as the incredibly dry and boring parts of Numbers. And some as poetry, such as Song of Songs. It's fascinating and I love it. I'm currently listening to an audiobook when I drive from a fantasy series where there is a complete lack of religion. The author took great pains to even make sure the oaths people sweared couldn't be construed as any time of divine or supernatural significance.