Tolkien and Religion: Like an Invisible Lamp (French: Tolkien et la Religion: Comme une lampe invisible) is a book by "Medievalist" and professor Leo Carruthers, written in French and published by Presses University Paris-Sorbonne in November 2016.

It studies the elements of J.R.R. Tolkien's faith in his own life, the fellowship of the Inklings, and Biblical themes found in Medieval literature.


"It is an exploration of Middle-earth, in the mythology of J R R Tolkien, in order to understand its spiritual character and to verify to what extent it can be related, or be parallel, to Christianity. Can we qualify Tolkien as a "Catholic author" Do his novels convey a defined spirituality? If the mythographer cards the term God, and any other allusion to religion, many readers feel in his work the presence of a "kind of faith" , like an invisible lamp. " The life and work of Tolkien, examined from a religious perspective, are at the heart of the two parts of this volume. His conversion to Catholicism is situated in the historical context of the 19th century, which affected English Catholics and Protestants. Tolkien will remain all his life a pious and practicing faithful; but, rather conservative, it will be difficult to integrate the aggiornamento of the Church following Vatican II. He plays a key role in the Inklings, a group of intellectuals from Oxford, led by his best friend, C. S. Lewis, an academic known for his popular theology books. Finally, Tolkien the creative then has his inspiration largely in the texts of the Middle Ages, Christian, pagan or mixed, which he knows professionally, several of which are present here. The second part of the book explores Tolkien's mythology, not only the two novels published during his lifetime (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), but also the set of legends, on which he worked incessantly, without being able to finish him off. satisfactorily. The most developed stories will be published later by his son Christopher: The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth. More accentuated towards the end of his life, the themes of myth, religion and spirituality are present in various degrees."
From the publisher

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