Beyond the Unmoved Mover: Rahnernian concepsts of Grace in the Fantasy Works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis

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Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Religion


JP Earls; Noreen Herzfeld, Theology


The intersection between Theology and English Literature has been visited by a number of writers. Many authors have explored motifs of sin, grace, redemption, and salvation through their works. Yet while academics write on these themes, literature aimed at a younger generation in inundated by the same messages. The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia have recently come into vogue with young people and adults alike. If these novels were simply "fairy stories" their popularity would be understandable. The works of Tolkien and Lewis possess a number of adult themes; which at first glance might seem inappropriate for their younger audiences. One of the most prominent "adult" themes is the struggle against sin, the quest for redemption, and the role of grace. I propose to pursue these themes as they appear in the fantasy series of both these authors. I intend to locate the different levels of sin and redemption in the works and discuss the role that grace plays in each of them and asking why these themes are targeted by both young adult and adult audiences.