Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (September 15, 2013)
From the Back CoverFind Wisdom and Inspiration in One of the Greatest Adventures Ever Told
Let this book be your guide as you discover hidden truths embedded in J.R.R. Tolkien's epic adventure. As one of the bestselling books of the last hundred years, and now a blockbuster movie, the magical charm of The Hobbit has delighted millions. But there is a spiritual dimension that will strike an even deeper chord. The Spiritual World of the Hobbit will take you behind the scenes, revealing Tolkien's beliefs and motivations. From there it will walk you step-by-step through the story itself, uncovering powerful themes of providence, mercy, and courage that are as important in our own lives today as they were to the hobbits in Middle-Earth.
As you take a closer look at this timeless tale of good vs. evil, you will be filled with wonder once again. For you will see that at the heart of The Hobbit, Tolkien embedded images of faith and spiritual longing that are sure to inspire us all.
"Bell not only navigates the reader capably around the Shire, but also motivates the literary-minded reader to learn more about Middle-earth and its Christian themes." --St. Anthony Messenger
"As a self-proclaimed nerd and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy, I was excited to read this well-worn, but fresh peek into the world of Tolkein, Bilbo and Gandalf in The Spiritual World of the Hobbit by James Stuart Bell. Each chapter is packed with parallel insight, describing the world of Middle Earth and the spiritual underpinning behind not only how The Hobbit was written, but why certain characters and places were written the way they were. There are several great quotes and insights on writing from Tolkien himself throughout the book, and Bell does a wonderful job of offering character profiles for each of the main character(s) from Bilbo to Gandalf to the elves, dwarves and goblins. Each profile tells us the character, how each was written into the story, and the spiritual significance in Tolkein's allegorical world.
If you are a fan of Middle Earth, you'll love the book. If you are a youth worker who wants to make the movie (or the cartoon version) The Hobbit a focus for discussion or lessons, you'll love this book. There is more information than you can use in a mid-week gathering, but if you read through and do only the character studies, this would a make a cool 6-week small group study to go along with the book and/or movie. I may have learned more than I needed to know about the spiritual significance of The Hobbit, but I am not complaining about it and you won't either. Huzzah!" --Youthworker Journal
Here are my thoughts:
I'll admit it, I am a big fan of J. R. Tolkien's work and found 'The Spiritual World Of The Hobbit' both entertaining and informative!
Bell's extensive knowledge of Tolkien's writing clearly demonstrates the author's deep understanding of biblical events and characters and provides many scriptures for reference.
Personally to decipher the motivation of each of the key players in these well known stories, from the Dwarfs, Elves, Goblins to Smaug the dragon was an unprecedented experience!
So be ready to be inspired and 'step into the Shire' as you study more closely this tale of good vs evil!
Divided in two parts, 'Behind the scenes' and 'Between the pages' the author invites us to seek a better understanding of The Hobbit which albeit different from such as The Lord of The Rings trilogy and The Silmarillion both in style and tone, is every bit the work of a staunch Christian!
Don't be misguided by the cover (or by the cinematographic version of these stories!), Bell's insight on the true meaning behind the original storyteller's concept: "The best stories contain a moment that catches readers, even changed through the story's power" is spot on!
Consider The Spiritual World of The Hobbit as the ideal companion to the original stories of Middle-Earth created by Tolkien.
Well worth checking out (and a keeper in my case!)
About the Author:
James Stuart Bell is a Christian publishing veteran and the owner of Whitestone Communications, a literary development agency.
He is the editor of many story collections, including the Cup of Comfort series, the compiler of From the Library of Charles Spurgeon and From the Library of C. S. Lewis, and the coauthor or author of several books, including Inside the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Complete Idiot's Guide to the World of Narnia.
I received a paperback copy of this title from BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS as part of their blogger review program . I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.