The Bible in LOTR?

 

Many argue that the Bible has a large influence on the Lord of the Rings, as well as other Tolkien masterpieces.  Some even go far enough to say that Lord of the Rings is basically the Bible simply with different names.   Before reading any of the books, one would not be surprised by this claim, as the author himself was a devout Roman Catholic.  However, after being exposed to as much Lord of the Rings as I had so far in Worlds of Wordcraft, I just hade to stop and ask, “What were those people smoking?!” Personally, my first impressions of Lord of the Rings were creative, exciting, and kind of satanic.  So, I decided to do a bit of research to investigate how and why people viewed LOTR the way they did.  What I encountered was a lot of fascinating ideas that made me reconsider my own point of view.  I suddenly didn’t feel like those people were smoking anything at all.

 

I am not going to argue why LOTR is good or evil because right now even I don’t know what I believe.  And besides, both sides have strong arguments, which makes deciding even harder.  People whom view LOTR as evil with pagan characteristics, constantly point at the wizards, sorcerers, and other phenomena commonly perceived as wicked.  Besides the citing of various scriptures, not much variety of arguments is there for the most part.  Those who declare LOTR biblical, on the other hand, have all sorts of thoughts, most of which surprisingly make sense!

Many Christian themes are present in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings with Good vs Evil being an obvious one.  Frodo demonstrates forgiveness, another important Christian concept, by forgiving Gollum two times in a row.  Sam’s character could be portrayed as a model Christian; he is determined, forgiving, optimistic, and the most trustworthy a friend can be. Other characters can be seen to resemble, in many ways, biblical characters.  In the movies, people say that Arwen the Elvish Princess shares many personality traits with the Virgin Mary such as purity, patience, and good heartedness.  We have not learned much of Arwen thus far in the book, but in the movie she is definitely depicted as such.  The Fellowship can even be compared to the Pilgrims, as both were groups that set out on quests despite expected danger. 

This is what people believe, but I for one think that it’s all up to the reader to interpret the stories in his/her own way.  You could say that these are some genuine parallels or you could just say that there are so many parallels that you can relate LOTR to anything.  If anyone has any comments or information they would like to share on the topic, feel free to leave them on the blog.

–Jonathan (Doxx)

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One thought on “The Bible in LOTR?”

  1. Interesting thing about literature to me — sometimes people project things into the reading to make it something different than it is. As the popular saying attribute to Freud goes, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”.

    Tolkien may very well have intentionally developed religious themes and ideas into the stories and characters. However, it ultimately stands with each reader to experience the story.

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