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.