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Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues: Discovering the Spiritual Themes of the "Lord of the Rings" Paperback – 1 Jan 2002

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press,US; First Edition edition (Jan. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830823123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830823123
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,798,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
This book is not the deep philosophical analysis of the virtues inherent in Tolkien's works that perhaps it appears to be. Rather it is an overview of tLotR that reads like an inspirational religious text. Taking the book in ordered sections (roughly a scene or set piece at a time) and drawing out quasi-religious themes, the author leads the reader through the novel highlighting a range of 'virtues' and their application to real life. There is no discussion of virtue ethics per se. I read such texts myself from time to time, but I was hoping for something more from this title. A scholarly analysis of virtue in Tolkien is possible: this is not it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lord of the Ring - The great work of Tolkien - is in this book reflected in the light of the so-called "ordinary virtues". In fact, these virtues may be ordinary, but they are the deep essense of the Christian view of life. The author outlines the LOTR, very tightly following the plot of the book, but keeps the outlining structured into themes of virtue.
It is evident that the author loves LOTR deeply. In fact, the outline is done so lovingly close to LOTR that I felt deeply touched and had tears in my eyes (for I do also love LOTR). Being a Christian myself I can easily follow the structure and reflections of virtue that the author demonstrates and it is wisely seen.
I would not recommend this book to a novice in LOTR or a teenager. In my mind, this book demands that you have reflected on life. However, a very fine book indeed!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to admit to some disappointment in this book. It claims to examine the spiritual themes in Tolkien's work, but confuses religion and spirituality and looks only at the Lord of the Rings and not really the rest of Tolkien's cannon of work.

It's not a long book, only around 150 pages of actual text, and there are some good points which start to emerge, but everything is rather stifled by slathering on a thick layer of religious dogma, with biblical quotes here there and everywhere and I felt I was being preached to rather than reading an intelligent work of literary criticism. Most of the parallels the author seemed to be trying to draw were not particularly helpful anyway.

There are other works out there far more enlightening about Tolkien's work.
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Format: Paperback
Once more a book has been published which tries to venture into the spiritual depths of Tolkien's literary characters. Since the first part of the film trilogy had been released, the book market has got absolutely carried away in the sale of recent publications making any effort to get the Tolkien phenomenon more tangible for us. And do you know why? Well, it is just worth it. "The Lord of the Rings" is not a book to simply read and then to put down and forget it. On the contrary: it might change many of us forever, for the tale of Frodo and the One Ring leaves deep marks in our hearts and souls.
This is what you feel when you read this work of Mark Eddy Smith, who - perhaps most of all for himself - has tried to work out what exactly it is that is touching him so deeply through Tolkien's work. And it is a wonderful fact that he has decided to share his cognitions with us. The feelings that the author might have experienced during the writing are passed on to the reader to leave him in a grateful and contemplative mood. Mark Eddy Smith has classified Tolkien's novel according to values and virtues to give us a clear vision of what we have to rediscover and cultivate to satisfy our contemporary desires. This book is simply a fantastic work.
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