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50 Years After His Death, What J.R.R. Tolkien Did for Christianity

I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.The Fellowship of the Ring

How authors like J.R.R Tolkien actually impacted our faith cannot be known this side of Heaven.

But for me as with many others The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings helped in my journey to find and see Christ.

Tolkien died of pneumonia on Sept. 2, 1973, at age 81.

At that time my life was in turmoil and even though I barely noticed his death I picked up a copy of The Hobbit in a local bookstore.

The solice and comfort that book gave me was incalcuable. It lead me further into the bible and a better understanding of God and His creation.

As we honor his memory let us go then to scripture.

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call, answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.

Psalm 102:1-4

50 Years After His Death, What J.R.R. Tolkien Did for Christianity
50 Years After His Death, What J.R.R. Tolkien Did for Christianity

50 years after his death, what J.R.R. Tolkien did for Christianity

"The author’s role in leading C.S. Lewis to faith was as significant as his bibliography

Hobbits, elves and Middle-earthlings across the globe will mark the 50th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s death this weekend. The English scholar and author best known for the worlds he created in “The Lord of the Rings” and other books died of pneumonia on Sept. 2, 1973, at age 81.

Tolkien had a remarkable career, one which continues to touch lives, not only in his literature, but through the relationships he fostered, including one with his fellow Oxford don C.S. Lewis. Last year, an article in the lifestyle magazine Town & Country said “It is impossible to overstate how much Lewis and Tolkien’s friendship impacted the shape of fantasy literature.”

Likewise, it is impossible to overstate how much that friendship impacted Christianity in the 20th century.

Lewis, of course, was a prolific writer whose nonfiction and fiction works were testaments of his faith. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” a powerful Christian allegory, remains a beloved children’s book, and “Mere Christianity,” as historian George Marsden has written, “has a claim to being one of the most important religious works of the 20th century.”.. from the article: 50 years after his death, what J.R.R. Tolkien did for Christianity

How Tolkien Nearly Translated the Entire Jerusalem Bible

"When opening a copy of the Jerusalem Bible, Fr. Alexander Jones writes, “The list of all those who have helped in the preparation of the Bible is too long to be given in its entirety. The principal collaborators in translation and literary revision were…”

Fr. Jones then lists a relatively short list, mentioning “J.R.R. Tolkien” among the names.

How did a popular fantasy author end-up working on a translation of the Bible?

Fr. Alexander Jones was an English priest who started a project to translate the Bible based on the original Hebrew and Greek texts. This was in response to Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu that encouraged scripture scholars to translate anew the Bible based on the original languages, instead of the Latin Vulgate.

Fr. Jones was inspired by a new French translation at the time and, when in doubt, he instructed the translators of the English edition to consult the French.

Tolkien, besides being known for his Lord of the Rings series, was a prominent philologist and had a mastery of many languages that few held.

Fr. Jones asked Tolkien in 1957 to contribute to the Jerusalem Bible and he accepted. After his initial work Jones wrote back to Tolkien, saying, “In truth I should be content to send you all that remains of the Bible, with great confidence, but there is a limit to generosity and opportunity!”.." from the article: How Tolkien nearly translated the entire Jerusalem Bible

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, poet, philologist, university professor; author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion

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