With a simple hobbit named Bilbo, within a simple hobbit-hole home, J. R. R. Tolkien changed the world forever. Through his book, The Hobbit, Tolkien took captive the imaginations and hearts of millions of people of all ages throughout the world. For those whose hearts have been enchanted, The Hobbit is much more than ghoulish goblin attacks. It is more powerful than Smog, the dragon. It is much more mysterious than riddles with Gollum in the dark. It's a journey that changed the life of an unadventurous hobbit, Bilbo, as he walked upon a path he didn't know he wanted to take.
Jim Ware, in his book, Finding God in The Hobbit, brings to light some of the biblical mysteries of Middle-earth. He shares, through his vast biblical knowledge, insightful reflections on scenes and characters from The Hobbit. As each reader travels, side by side, through Middle-earth and scripture, they will begin to discover some of the ways God can utilize them on the adventure called life.
For those who love The Hobbit and God, this book is a recommended read.
Publicity Summary: With a simple hobbit in a simple hobbit-hole, Tolkien opened the window on a whole new world that has captured millions of imaginations and changed the face of literature forever. But this story of unexpected adventure is far more than goblin attacks, dragon-hoards, and riddles in the dark. It's a journey that changes a simple hobbit named Bilbo---and us---along the way. Ware, coauthor of Finding God in The Lord of the Rings, once again unlocks the mysteries of Middle-earth with insightful reflections on the scenes and characters of The Hobbit. You'll discover the deep connections that link this fantasy world to our own and unveil the mysterious workings of the Author of the Tale in your own life. Just as the very ordinary Bilbo Baggins was caught up in a web of momentous events beyond his understanding, so you also are part of a larger story. Travel to Middle-earth to discover some ways in which God is still very much at work in our world---and has a bigger purpose for you than you can ever imagine.
Book Review: I enjoyed learning more of J.R.R. Tolkien's faith and history. That his world view was so engaged in the Word of God is what separates his writing from purely allegory. I found myself really thinking about this during the book. Mr. Tolkien's mind set was so centered on Christ that he never gave a thought to imposing it on his books it just was him. I enjoyed the over view tour of the Hobbit. It brought back memories of my first encounter with this story. Going back and forth between the book and the man was engrossing. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to spend time with this book. It was well worth it.
I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
I personally love The Hobbit so I was excited to read Finding God in The Hobbit by Jim Ware. I'd skimmed through his other books and thought that he made good points but I was especially interested to see what he had to say about The Hobbit. It's true that Tolkien did not write with allegory in mind, but his worldview did influence his writing and it is easy to see that in his books. Jim Ware does a spectacular job of picking apart pieces of The Hobbit to show important aspects about the Christian life (which makes sense since Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic). I have always drawn my own conclusions from both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings in regards to the Christian life and it was nice to see a different set of conclusions, all that make sense.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and no other compensation was received.
Dreams, fears, pleasures, laughter, God's unexpected intervention, endurance, tried patience, kindness and dependence on God continually weave together to shape our lives; through them, we learn dependence on God - which should prevail despite any circumstances. Bilbo's adventure in Middle Earth is no exception, and his journey is Jim Ware's illustration of the latter.
In the prologue, the author explains that this book is the result of his own reflections on "The Hobbit," which eventually took him back to God, the one who has made his life meaningful by giving it a purpose, just as Bilbo's life, through the fulfillment of his purpose, found its true meaning.
The chapters have a simple and straightforward format. First, there is an extract from "The Hobbit," which is followed by an analytical description of the approach and attitude towards God that can be found in several people in the Bible. As a valuable token, each chapter is closed with a simple and deep statement that summarizes the spiritual lesson we can learn from Bilbo's own path.
Despite the simplicity of the format, the deep and transcendental insights of each chapter are worthy to be savored slowly, even more than once. This is one of the few books that have stirred in me the wish to reread chapters and paragraphs, even sentences_
Moreover, the richness of the words Mr. Ware uses is rarely found in today's popular literature, making this a delightful read for anyone who appreciates the vast possibilities of a higher linguistic register. Precisely because of this, I would definitely recommend this book as a teaching tool in any literature or applied theology class; it is well worth the experience. Besides this, his numerous end notes and bibliography will prove to be good references. I can also picture this book being used as a devotional, particularly by those who like Tolkien or this kind of stories.
And just like the author himself states, this book describes a journey of spiritual discovery, but is not the decisive authority on the matter, very probably the reason why Bible quotes and principles are present throughout the book. It is his way of writing about how the great Author of life is always shaping our path.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. This has not biased my opinion.
Hobbits are everywhere these days, it seems. Due, in large part, to the recent release of part 1 of Peter Jackson's portrayal of the novel The Hobbit on the big screen. I have yet to see it, but I was given the opportunity to review a book related to the subject and would like to share my thoughts here. Tyndale House Publishers has graciously provided me a complimentary copy of this book.
Finding God in the Hobbit, by Jim Ware takes the reader on a devotional journey through the pages of Tolkien's classic novel. Ware has unique insight in the writings of Tolkien and it shows in the insights of this book. Each chapter reflects on a particular scene from The Hobbit and points out universal truths that we can all benefit from.
I found this book a surprisingly welcome companion during the season of Advent. I can think of no better companion than a Hobbit as I make my way to the stable at Bethlehem. Hobbits are indeed the chief characters of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. They have always fascinated me with their earthy childlikeness, simplicity of perspective and way of life. Bilbo Baggins would find himself far more at home in the Bethlehem stable than he would in the glorious Inn, where places were reserved, I'm sure, for the wealthy and powerful of this world. This has helped me own my humanity, my own earthy brokenness, which helps prepare the way to receive Christ in new and deeper ways.
The great strength of Tolkien's writings (and Ware, his disciple) is that he tells stories in such an imaginative way that reader participation involves not only entering the world of middle earth but learning to see reality itself in terms of story. All good stories, in my opinion, will help us live our own stories more faithfully and truly. Ware's thoughts on The Hobbit are a great help here. He seems like-minded to Tolkien, which makes him particularly qualified to serve as a guide through his writings.
Too many Christian interpretations of Tolkien (and Lewis) are sentimental in their attempt to force an allegorical interpretation. Some try to see Jesus in every character and circumstance. Tolkien never intended this, and I'm grateful to Mr. Ware for pointing this out. Ware comments, "Tolkien understood, as many of his readers and critics did not, that it is one thing to concoct an allegory and quite another to reflect universal principles and eternal realities in a timeless tale. . . . Through the ruse of an entertaining and imaginative tale, Tolkien drew back the veil of familiarity and boredom that covered my school day existence and revealed the world to me in a new light, as a land of perilous beauty and wondrous delight, a place gloriously haunted by the Presence of a Person â€˜who is never absent and never named.'" (165, 168)
Ware further develops this point by quoting Tolkien's Letters, ". . . each of us is an allegory, embodying in a particular tale and clothed in the garments of time and place, universal truth and everlasting life." (165).
Overall Ware's book is a great read and I highly recommend it! His work reminds me of the words of another blogger, David Mathis, who said, "Finding Jesus in The Hobbit doesn't mean shoe-horning Gandalf or Bilbo or anyone else into some Christ mold, but following the story, truly tracking its twists, feeling its angst, and knowing that the "turn" â€” the Great Unexpected Rescue just in the nick of time, the place where our souls are most stirred and relieved and satisfied â€” is tapping into something deep in us, some way in which God spring-loaded us for the Great Story and the extent to which he went to reclaim us. (12/13/12 Desiring God Blog titled, "How To Watch â€˜The Hobbit'")