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Finding God in 'The Hobbit'

Scholars explore religious themes found in J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved tale “The Hobbit.”
by Carla Hinton Published: December 15, 2012

Croft said while Bilbo's story may not have the spiritual or religious depth of the “Rings” trilogy, it “isn't totally fluff, either.”

She said the reader witnesses Bilbo mature and grow form a somewhat shallow self-centered and childish hobbit into a hero who cares enough for his friends to risk his life for them. Croft said Bilbo finds new depths inside of himself, discovers his true capabilities and learns to trust his luck — “or you might say, trust in Providence.”

Croft said she thinks one of the major themes that is evident throughout the book is the danger of greed, the dragon sickness. She said Bilbo almost falls under the spell, “but he learns that treasure is only valuable if you can let it go, and that true generosity, both with treasure and of the spirit, is a great gift.”

Devin Brown, author of the new book “The Christian World of The Hobbit (Abingon Press),” shared Croft's view that “The Hobbit” does not have as much religious depth as the “Rings” books.

Brown said readers still will find many Christian principles in the book that are just as true in the real world as they are the fantasy world of “The Hobbit.”

Brown said he found that the world “luck or “luckily” appears numerous times in the book. He said a Christian would say that what is called luck in “The Hobbit” could show that “something like Providence is looking out for Bilbo.”

Brown said in addition to the Providence theme, the theme of purpose also runs throughout the book.

“Bilbo clearly has a purpose. It's obvious that he was meant to help the world in some way.”

Brown said he is looking forward to seeing the Peter Jackson film to see how the director brings Bilbo's story to life.

“My favorite part about the movie is that it will send a whole new group of folks to the book. People who have never heard of the book will pick it up and people who have read it will read it again.”

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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