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Tolkien lived in one of the greatest periods of upheaval, strife, and societal change in human history: from 1914 through 1945, the world seemed to be on fire both literally and ideologically. It was just a few years before the publication of The Hobbit that the Nazi regime came to power in Germany. It was also during this period that Tolkien created and gave shape to the Middle-earth legendarium. What was Tolkien’s experience of this evil regime like? What was his attitude towards them? Join us, as we explore all of these questions and more.
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Thank you very much for this episode. Can you also do one on whether Tolkien was a real Catholic Christian? There are videos that I’ve see in which people are claiming that Tolkien was not Catholic or even Christian. A lot of people are saying that Catholics are not Christian, which doesn’t make any sense. I am a Methodist, but I have friends who are Catholic and I graduated from a Catholic college. I probably know and understand more about the Catholic Church than some Protestants. Also in the above mentioned videos, they are also saying that Tolkien was a pagan. I don’t understand any of these claims.
This is a great question. I’d like to do an episode on Tolkien and Paganism at some point – it’s a really fascinating topic. A few quick thoughts:
1. Tolkien was undoubtedly and unabashedly a Catholic Christian. There’s just no way to reasonably question that, unless one were to go down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and magical thinking.
2. Tolkien had an appreciation for certain aspects of ancient pagan cultures, but who doesn’t? So did CS Lewis and, for that matter. Christians always have. I am a Catholic Christian, and I certainly can appreciate aspects of paganism, even while disagreeing with it on a very fundamental level. To appreciate things about any culture is not to agree with everything it contains. I think the only rational way to assess Tolkien’s views on the topic is to understand that his beliefs and philosophical outlook as a Catholic Christian are the most reasonable starting point. Nothing exists without context.
Much more could be said, but these are just a few quick thoughts that I hope are helpful!
There are, unfortunately, people in the world who see racism everywhere. Now these people are saying that Tolkien was a racist because of how he used the words black and white, and other descriptive words and phrases???