How can we grasp the significance of what Jesus Christ did for us? Might literature help us as we seek to understand the Christian faith?
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has generated much discussion about the relationship between Christianity and literature. It is well known that Tolkien disliked allegory. Yet he acknowledged that his work is imbued with Christian symbolism and meaning.
Based on the inaugural Hansen Lectureship series delivered at the Marion E. Wade Center by Philip Ryken, this volume mines the riches of Tolkien’s theological imagination. In the characters of Gandalf, Frodo, and Aragorn, Ryken hears echoes of the threefold office of Christ—his prophetic, priestly, and royal roles. Guided by Ryken, readers will discover that they can learn much about the one who is the true prophet, priest, and king through Tolkien's imaginative storytelling.
Publication Date: November 2017
Topic: Literary Criticism, Theology
Table of Contents:
Introduction to the Hansen Lectureship Series (Walter Hansen)
1. The Prophetic Ministry of Gandalf the Grey
Response: Sandra Richter
2. Frodo, Sam, and the Priesthood of All Believers
Response: Jennifer Powell McNutt
3. The Coronation of Aragorn Son of Arathorn
Response: William Struthers
"Ryken effectively draws out Tolkien's subtle use of Christ's threefold office (prophet, priest, king) by filtering his argument not only through the best of Tolkien scholarship but through the Old Testament, the church fathers, the Reformers, and his own multifaceted role as president of a Christ-centered college."
Louis Markos, professor in English and scholar in residence, Houston Baptist University, author of On the Shoulders of Hobbits
"Phil Ryken not only draws upon a wealth of Tolkien scholarship, he adds some marvelous insights of his own into the spiritual and theological dynamics at play in Middle-Earth. And then he uses all of this to provide us with much wisdom about the kind of leadership that can honor the prophetic, priestly, and kingly work of Jesus Christ."
Richard J. Mouw, president emeritus, professor of faith and public life, Fuller Theological Seminary
Philip Ryken is the Bible teacher on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals’ weekly radio broadcast, Every Last Word. Dr. Ryken also serves as president of Wheaton College. He was educated at Wheaton College (IL), Westminster Theological Seminary (PA), and the University of Oxford (UK), from which he received his doctorate in historical theology. He and his wife Lisa have five children, Josh, Kirsten, Jack, Kathryn, and Karoline. He is the author or editor of more than 30 books, including Art for God's Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts and expository commentaries on Exodus, Jeremiah, Luke, and other books of the Bible. When he is not preaching or playing with his children, Dr. Ryken likes to play basketball and ponder the relationship between Christianity and American culture.