Light Beyond All Shadow

From Tolkien Gateway
Light Beyond All Shadow:
Religious Experience in Tolkien's Work
Publication Information
EditorPaul E. Kerry, Sandra Miesel
PublisherFairleigh Dickinson University Press
Released21 July 2011[1]

Light Beyond All Shadow: Religious Experience in Tolkien's Work is an anthology of scholarly essays on the influence of Christianity in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. Its companion volume is The Ring and the Cross.

From the publisher

What forms can religious experience take in a world without cult or creed? Organized religion is notably absent from J.R.R. Tolkien's Secondary Universe of elves, dwarves, men, and hobbits despite the author's own deep Catholic faith. Tolkien stated that his goal was "sub-creating" a universe whose natural form of religion would not directly contradict Catholic theology. Essays in Light Beyond All Shadow examine the full sweep of Tolkien's legendarium, not only The Lord of the Rings but also The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and The History of Middle-Earth series plus Peter Jackson's film trilogy.Contributions to Light Beyond All Shadow probe both the mind of the maker and the world he made to uncover some of his fictional strategies, such as communicating through imagery. They suggest that Tolkien's Catholic imagination was shaped by the visual appeal of his church's worship and iconography. They seek other influences in St. Ignatius Loyola's meditation technique and St. Philip Neri's "Mediterranean" style of Catholicism. They propose that Tolkien communicates his story through Biblical typology familiar in the Middle Ages as well as mythic imagery with both Christian and pagan resonances. They defend his "comedy of grace" from charges of occultism and Manichaean dualism. They analyze Tolkien's Christian friends, the Inklings, as a supportive literary community. They show that within Tolkien's world, Nature is the Creator's first book of revelation. Like its earlier companion volume, The Ring and the Cross, edited by Paul E. Kerry, scholarship gathered in Light Beyond All Shadow aids our appreciation of what is real, meaningful, and true in Tolkien's work.List of Contributors: Russell W. Dalton, Matthew Dickerson, Colin Duriez, Julian Tim Morton Eilmann, Christopher Garbowski, Glen Robert Gill, Roger Ladd, Robert Lazu, Jared Lobdell, Sandra Miesel, John Warwick Montgomery, Anne C. Petty.[2]


  • Preface (Paul E. Kerry)
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: "Exploring Tolkien's Universe" (Sandra Miesel)
  • "Water, Ecology, and Spirituality in Tolkien's Middle-earth" (Matthew Dickerson)
  • "Divine Contagion-On the Nature of Power in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings" (Roger Ladd)
  • "Reflections of Christendom in the Mythopoeic Iconography of Middle-earth" (Anne C. Petty)
  • "Biblical Archetypes in The Lord of the Rings" (Glen Robert Gill)
  • "Ymagynatyf and J.R.R. Tolkien's Roman Catholicism, Catholic Theology, Religion in The Lord of the Rings" (Jared Lobdell)
  • "I am the Song: Music, Poetry, and the Transcendental in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth" (Julian Tim Morton Eilmann)
  • "Tolkien: Lord of the Occult?" (John Warwick Montgomery)
  • "The Fantastic Secret of Tolkien's Fairy Tales: Literature and Jesuit Spiritual Exercises" (Robert Lazu)
  • "Life-Giving Ladies: Women in the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien" (Sandra Miesel)
  • "Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Tolkien and the Inklings" (Colin Duriez)
  • "Peter Jackson, Evil, and the Temptations of Film at the Cracks of Doom" (Russell W. Dalton)
  • "Songs of Innocence and Experience, or, What Remains of Tolkien's 'Catholic' Tale in Peter Jackson's The Lord of Rings" (Christopher Garbowski)
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Biographical Entries