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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 19 April 2013
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i study philosophy and love lord of the rings and the hobbit so this was something i had to buy. even without any philosophical background knowledge it would still be a worth while investment. really insightful and interesting, buy it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great if you like The Hobbit and philosophy, 20 Sep 2013
Do you like walking for its own sake and not just as a means to a destination? Do you like to play, but maybe feel a little guilty about it? Do you think of yourself as lucky or unlucky? Then this book which deals with such themes amongst others will give you something to think about.

The title of the book tells you most of what you need to know before you begin; it is about The Hobbit and Philosophy and if, like me, you enjoy both then this is a good book to read. If Philosophy sounds difficult and academic to you, do not be put off, for the 17 short chapters are fairly easy to read, are around 12 pages long, with plenty of footnotes, with each chapter written by a different author. The occasional repetition of quotes and ideas are inevitable in a book written by so many people, but they do not irritate.

Each chapter takes a theme drawn from The Hobbit, such as generosity, personal growth, humility and Taoism and develops an argument that it is worth thinking over. It would be best to read the book slowly, perhaps a chapter a day with time to meditate upon and savour. So it might prove to be a personal Advent or Lenten study.

It is not a specifically religious book, except in the broadest sense but there are some chapters that have an impact on theology or life in church. For instance, there is a discussion about how to interpret texts noting that the author's meaning and the significance for the reader are not necessarily identical; this is very relevant when studying the Bible. Elsewhere we are confronted with the difference between our freewill and God's traditional foreknowledge. Church life is challenged in chapters on risk and decision making, the tension between pacifism and the just war theory, and discussion about how to live with other cultures. The book could provide material for sermons and house groups if you have a church keen to explore The Hobbit.

Reference is made to other works by Tolkien, in particular The Lord of The Rings and The Simarillion, enough to encourage you to read them if you have not already done so. Recently I reread The Hobbit in preparation to watch the first instalment of the Peter Jackson films, and this book has further whetted my appetite and given me some tools to see depth in the narrative. This book is one of a long series reflecting on modern films, books and TV series; after reading this I might read some of the others - no better recommendation!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different, 21 Jan 2013
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Bought for my son's girlfriend who is mad about anything hobbity. Something really different from the usual hobbit items. She has really enjoyed reading it.
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