Keller on Tolkien

In a recent interview Timothy Keller said the following about J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings:

Tolkien has helped my imagination. He was a devout Catholic — and I am not. However, because he brought his faith to bear into narrative, fiction, and literature, his Christianity — which was pretty ‘mere Christianity’ (understanding of human sin, need for grace, need for redemption) — fleshed out in fiction, has been an inspiration to me.

What I mean by inspiration is this: he gives me a way of grasping glory that would otherwise be hard for me to appreciate. Glory, weightiness, beauty, excellence, brilliance, virtue — he shows them to you in some of his characters.

When people ask: how often have you read Lord of the Rings?, the answer is: I actually never stop. I’m always in it.

As an aside, if you’d like to purchase a copy of LOTR, an edition that will withstand repeated use, Westminster Books now carries a gorgeously illustrated box set. I bought two sets last week and was really impressed with the quality. Find details here.

Posted on January 19, 2011, in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Timothy Keller. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. LOTR is an awesome trilogy. I read it at least once a year, because it captures something – something maybe pure, or higher than life is for us now. I wouldn’t say it captures ‘heaven’, but it certainly is a wholesome book. If only more could be like it!

  2. Tony, thanks for the tip — but on the LOTR set you mention Amazon has a few negative reviews (binding and glossy pages). Any comments? db

    • Hello Dave! Yes, the pages are thick, bright white, and glossy. I like it–although I can see why some readers would prefer a muted pulp paper. As for the binding, they are sewn strongly. It really is a beautiful set imho.

  3. I don’t know if you have heard the unabridged audio version of this, narrated by Rob Inglis, but it is *exceptional*. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about listening to someone narrate it, but after the first hour or so I started thinking, “I wonder if this is what the voice in Tolkien’s head sounded like when he wrote this!?” I am almost through the first book and enjoying it immensely. It has been a wonderful way to spend my commute time as well as the two days I was sick in bed with the flu. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

    Simple Mann

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