J.R.R. Tolkien: Christian Maker of Middle-Earth


J.R.R. Tolkien: Christian Maker of Middle-Earth

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by Jeremy W. Johnston

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”  So begins J.R.R. Tolkien’s marvellous tale of wizards, elves, dragons, and dwarves in the children’s book, The Hobbit. Since Bilbo Baggins entered the hearts and minds of readers in 1937, millions of people around the world have gone on to read, watch, and study Tolkien’s epic masterpieces The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Yet, in spite of the legacy and the world-wide fame of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, many people know more about hobbits, trolls, and magic rings than they do about the man behind it all. So who was J.R.R. Tolkien, the maker of Middle-earth? In his own words, he says, “I am a Christian” and plainly states that he wrote The Lord of the Rings “to be consonant with Christian thought and belief.”  This is why Tolkien’s Christian faith is the linchpin for fully understanding and appreciating his voluminous writings. This biography is intended to show readers that Tolkien’s Christian faith was central to his life and work, personally, professionally, and—most importantly—creatively.





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“Jeremy W. Johnston provides a succinct yet lively biography of Tolkien that will appeal to Middle-earth scholars, enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Informed and insightful, Johnston’s work considers each stage of Tolkien’s fascinating life within the dynamics of faith, creativity, work and relationships, thereby opening the door a little wider upon understanding this influential author’s own Christ-centered imagination. Johnston examines the tensions among various roles and real-life experiences for Tolkien, with an eye for how he navigated these various fallen worlds imaginatively through his writing. As a result, Johnston challenges us to see how powerful Tolkien’s storytelling ultimately is: with the turning of every page, Tolkien’s inspired imagination points us to the very Real Redeemer of all our fantasy worlds.”

Dr. Carolyn Weber

Professor at New College Franklin and award-winning
author of Surprised by Oxford, now a feature film


“As a Christian and Tolkien enthusiast, I found J.R.R. Tolkien: Christian Maker of Middle-earth to be a real treasure. It provides a deep dive into Tolkien’s faith and how it influenced his writing. It sheds new light on his Legendarium, showing how themes such as exile, redemption, mercy, and Providence are rooted in Tolkien’s Christian worldview. For those exploring the intersection of faith and literature, Johnston’s book is essential reading.”

Dan Cruver

Resource Manager at Desiring God; Author of Loved Indeed; Curator of @JRRTolkien Twitter account


“In this new biography of J.R.R. Tolkien, Jeremy W. Johnston has lovingly revisited what is known of Tolkien’s life and illuminated anew the significance of Tolkien’s Roman Catholic faith to his life and work.  Johnston broadly argues that Tolkien’s passion for words (philology) and his masterful storytelling skills were rooted in The Word, Jesus Christ, whom Tolkien himself identified as the central character in the greatest story ever told and as the archetype for fairy-stories told then or now (“On Fairy-stories”).  Like lembas bread and the miruvor cordial of the elves of Middle-earth, this biography offers satisfying food for the minds and souls of Tolkien lovers!”

Dr. Jonathan Juilfs

Associate Professor of English,

Redeemer University


“Jeremy W. Johnston’s new biography of the great writer, philologist, friend of C.S. Lewis, and beloved author, J.R.R. Tolkien, shows the vital role his Christian worldview had on his mythology, other writings, and daily life. This book will move and delight readers!”

Justin Wiggins

Author of Tír na nÓg & Surprised by Agape


“One of the totally unforeseen blessings of the twentieth century was the literary corpus of J.R.R. Tolkien, long my favourite author of fiction. My reading of his The Lord of the Rings when I was in my early teens gave me a deep sense of the reality of good and evil, as well as the beauty of the former and the loathsomeness of the latter. So, I am thrilled to see this new biography of Tolkien in print, one that rightly sees Tolkien’s literary work as the product of a profound Christian imagination.”

Dr. Michael A.G. Azad Haykin

Professor of Church History,

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

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