Publication date:

10 December 2010

Length of book:

310 pages

Publisher

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

ISBN-13: 9781611470642

The conversation, sometimes heated, about the influence of Christianity on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien has a long history. What has been lacking is a forum for a civilized discussion about the topic, as well as a chronological overview of the major arguments and themes that have engaged scholars about the impact of Christianity on Tolkien's oeuvre, with particular reference to The Lord of the Rings. The Ring and the Cross addresses these two needs through an articulate and authoritative analyses of Tolkien's Roman Catholicism and the role it plays in understanding his writings. The volume's contributors deftly explain the kinds of interpretations put forward and evidence marshaled when arguing for or against religious influence. The Ring and the Cross invites readers to draw their own conclusions about a subject that has fascinated Tolkien enthusiasts since the publication of his masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings.
As a contribution to a—if not the—polemical area of Tolkien studies, The Ring and the Cross is commendable not only for looking at both sides, but also for reflecting those many shades in between where most opinions fall. The collection’s civility and single-volume format more than likely belie the true friction and disparity of opinions on its topic, but the willingness to publish together is at least a willingness to engage one another, and that can never be a bad thing.