Devin Brown argues that The Hobbit is not a Christian book, per se; but, rather, it weaves a Christian worldview into the plot, themes, and characters of the book. As the book progresses, the characters increasing learn the very lessons that are part of the believer’s life.
Unlike other authors, Brown does not draw direct parallels between the characters in the Hobbit and God and his foes revealed in Scripture. Neither does Brown see references to Tolkien’s current world, being written at the end of the Second World War. For Brown, Sauron is not Satan, neither is he Hitler. Gandalf is not God, nor is he Churchill or Eisenhower. Brown does see God (an “unseen hand”, though never explicitly named) active through the life of Bilbo and all the other characters. Brown spends most of the first third of the book arguing that the “luck” that the main characters experience is truly the hand of God working in their lives.
Once that point is made, the author begins to establish parallels, as noted above, between the world of the Hobbit and the world the Christian lives in. Whether it be Christian growth, the value of wealth, or the struggle choices or temptation, Brown argues that we are presented with a set of Christian values that will speak to both the believer and to the unbeliever.
Brown, as one would expect of a scholar, weaves in the thoughts of other writers as well. The most well-known of these is C S Lewis, a contemporary and friend of Tolkien. It would be interesting to have observed a conversations between these to great writers - the one a catholic, the other a protestant. But both deeply committed to their faith.
This overview of The Hobbit provides a very readable view of one scholars look at the book and its sequels. It is recommended for anyone who wants to take a second and deeper look at Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.