This book takes Chesterton's 'natural theology' through fairytales seriously as a theological project appropriate to an intellectual attempt to return to faith in a secular age. It argues that Tolkien's fiction makes sense also as the work of a Catholic writer steeped in Chestertonian ideas and sharing his literary-theological poetics. While much writing on religious fantasy moves quickly to talk about wonder, Milbank shows that this has to be hard won and that Chesterton is more akin to the modernist writers of the early twentieth-century who felt quite dislocated from the past. His favoured tropes of paradox, defamiliarization and the grotesque have much in common with writers like T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and James Joyce and their use of the demotic as well as the 'mythic method'. Using Chesterton's literary rhetoric as a frame, the book sets out to chart a redemptive poetics that first decentres the reader from his habitual perception of the world, then dramatizes his self-alienation through the grotesque, before finding in that very alienation a sort of pharmakon through paradox and an embrace of difference. The next step is to change one's vision of the world beyond the self through magic which, paradoxically, is the means by which one can reconnect with the physical world and remove the fetishism and commodification of the object. Chesterton's theology of gift is the means in which this magic becomes real and people and things enter into reciprocal relations that reconnect them with the divine.
"Oser examines the twentieth-century literary clash between a dogmatically relativist modernism and a robust revival of Christian humanism. Reviewing English literature from Chaucer to Beckett, and the thoughts of philosophers, theologians, and modern literary critics, Oser challenges the assumption that Christian orthodoxy is incompatible with humanism, freedom, and democracy"--Provided by publisher.
In this book, Lisa Coutras explores the structure and complexity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s narrative theology, synthesizing his Christian worldview with his creative imagination. She illustrates how, within the framework of a theological aesthetics, transcendental beauty is the unifying principle that integrates all aspects of Tolkien’s writing, from pagan despair to Christian joy. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Christianity is often held in an unsteady tension with the pagan despair of his mythic world. Some critics portray these as incompatible, while Christian analysis tends to oversimplify the presence of religious symbolism. This polarity of opinion testifies to the need for a unifying interpretive lens. The fact that Tolkien saw his own writing as “religious” and “Catholic,” yet was preoccupied with pagan mythology, nature, language, and evil, suggests that these areas were wholly integrated with his Christian worldview. Tolkien’s Theology of Beauty examines six structural elements, demonstrating that the author’s Christianity is deeply embedded in the narrative framework of his creative imagination.
"Written from the vantage of a mind that is deeply Christian, Tolkien's stories grant us a revelatory gaze into the major political problems of modernity - from individualism to totalitarianism, sovereignty, terror to technocracy. As an outsider in modernity, Tolkien invites us to question the modern in a manner that moves beyond reaction into a vivid and compelling vision of the common good." -- Back cover
Myth Allegory and Gospel
Author: Edmund Fuller
Publisher: Canadian Institute for Law, Theology, and Public Policy Incorporated
Best known as journalist, playwright, novelist and poet, G. K. Chesterton never thought of himself as a theologian. Nevertheless he could not help thinking theologically - even when he was making jokes - and his writings illuminate the profoundest religious themes.
Plunge into the soul of Lewis's Space Trilogy, L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, and Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Dwarves, elves, princes and princesses, dark powers, unlikely heroes and fantastic places open up to us in this excellent introduction to Christian mythopoeia. This overview of the major Christian mythmakers explores how they influenced and inspired one another, and identifies the symbols and emblems in their works. Rediscover the characters and worlds of authors such as C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, John Bunyan, Madeleine L'Engle, Charles Williams, Walter Wangerin
This book hopes to invite readers into Tolkien's world through the lens of a variety of philosophers, of all of whom owe a rich debt to the Neoplatonic philosophical tradition. It places Tolkien's mythology against a wider backdrop of catholic philosophy and asks serious questions as to the nature of creation alongside the nature of God, what it means to be good, and concerning the problem of evil. This book attempts to set Tolkien alongside both his contemporaries and ancient authors, and how he used similar literary devices in order to express his desire to create a "mythology for England."