The Spiritual World of The Hobbit + Giveaway

(Giveaway is now closed)

The ever-increasing popularity of Middle Earth has brought a profusion of books written about both J. R.R. Tolkien and his created world.  The recent Hobbit movies have focused this popularity on Tolkien’s prequel to The Lord of the Rings.  Those who love to read about the unexpected journey of Bilbo Baggins will be intrigued by one recent book that examines the spiritual journey within the pages of The Hobbit.


The Spiritual World of The Hobbit, by James Stuart Bell.  2013, 234 pages.  Age/interest level: 12-up

Anyone familiar with Tolkien will know of his criticism of Narnia due to allegory.    Because of this, I appreciate James Stuart Bell’s clarification as he explains his purpose in writing a book on the spiritual world of The Hobbit:

[Tolkien] felt that allegories broke the enchantment he sought to create . . . Therefore, as I explore the spiritual themes within The Hobbit, I will not claim that a moment in Bilbo’s experience “symbolizes” an aspect of the Christian life. . . . Instead, I’ll point out the ways that Tolkien’s Secondary World -in this case, the story of Bilbo’s adventure -reflects the values and truths God built into the Primary World.

What follows is a thoughtful, interesting, and literary look at The Hobbit from a Christian worldview.  Along the way, readers will learn more about the history of Middle Earth gleaned from The Silmarillion and other works of Tolkien.  They will also see, through scriptural references, how many of the  themes revealed in The Hobbit are also found in the Bible.

Bell recommends that you read The Hobbit in conjunction with this book.  Therefore, after an opening three chapters that focus on Tolkien and Middle Earth, there are 19 chapters which each correspond with a chapter in The Hobbit.  Readers familiar with The Hobbit do not need to follow the reading plan but will want a copy handy for reference.  I certainly was flipping through mine!


If, like me, you were dissatisfied by how much the latest Hobbit movie erred from the book, then this will be a refreshing read.  It stays true to The Hobbit storyline while gently delving deeper.  This is a quiet book, best enjoyed curled up with a cup of tea.  Though at times a trifle repetitive, the whole book is theologically sound.  For Tolkien lovers both young and old who have never considered the influence of Tolkien’s faith upon Middle Earth, here is a great introduction.

See Emily’s POST with excerpts from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth for a deeper and more philosophical look at Tolkien’s work. 


For a chance to win your own copy of The Spiritual World of the Hobbit, leave a comment below and tell us your favorite book by Tolkien, or which of his works you would like to read.  Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday (January 29).            

26 Responses to The Spiritual World of The Hobbit + Giveaway

  1. Carmen Cavanaugh January 29, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    I love the Hobbit!!!!

  2. Shanna Gonzalez January 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Hands down, the Hobbit.

  3. Melinda B January 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    I love “Leaf by Niggle”, which is published in the book “Tree and Leaf”. It is my favorite of all the things that Tolkien ever wrote.

  4. Kelly Parks January 28, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    My favorite Tolkien read was The Lord of the Rings trilogy. After seeing the Fellowship of the Ring, I just had to read the whole trilogy to see what happened! I enjoyed the deeper development of characters that the books portrayed.

  5. Robyn January 28, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    I think I would say Return of the KIng, but now that I’ve recently seen the Hobbit movies, I am looking forward to going back and reading the Hobbit again. It’s been years since I’ve read it.

  6. Kimberly Locke January 28, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    I love it all- all the books, all the movies. My son loves listening to the BBC’s audio drama. My favorite book? The Fellowship :)

  7. Sean B January 28, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    I did not mind the differences in the second Hobbit movie. I enjoyed it anyway.

  8. Emily S January 28, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    Th Hobbit was my favorite until I began reading the LOTR trilogy–now I don’t know which I love more! I’m currently half way through The Two Towers and would love to read The Simarllion next.

    Thanks for the giveaway–I’m really interested in reading that book!

  9. Rhoda January 28, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    “The Hobbit” is such a delightful book for all ages to read! :)

  10. Susan January 28, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    I love the Hobbit, but I think my favorite was Fellowship of the Rings. I did love reading about the Shire, and Rivendell. As a girl, I loved the Ents in the Two Towers, but found all the orcs, Uruk-hai and battles not quite as riveting in the Two Towers and the Return of the King.

  11. Sara January 28, 2014 at 6:40 am #

    Taking the Hobbit, and LOR Trilogy very slowly over the last year, I found myself marveling at the themes, the wisdom, the observations of weather and geology, and the beautiful turn of phrase. I can’t pick just one! I have journal entries from all three equally!

    The Daughter and I are having great fun memorizing “There Was An Inn,” Tolkien’s fleshing out of the familiar Hey Diddle Diddle nursery rhyme, and singing along with The Tolkien Ensemble’s musical interpretation (on the CD An Evening In Rivendell).

  12. Brown Family January 28, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    We started reading The Hobbit aloud during your read along, and then just kept on going right through the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I couldn’t name any one of these books ‘more favourite’ than the all rest, but the Tolkien book we’d love to read next is the Silmarillion.

  13. Christina January 28, 2014 at 4:44 am #

    I became a Tolkein fan from reading the books with my kids:) My oldest has read and reread them over and over. I’d love to help him explore The Hobbit in more depth. Looks like a great book!

  14. Kayla Arnold January 25, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    As much as I love the other books, I have to choose the Fellowship of the Ring. I love reading about normal Hobbit life, and the happier themes before they got a bit darker :)

    Thanks for the giveaway, I’d love to win, it looks like a fascinating book!

  15. Kristy B January 24, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    I loved the Hobbit and want to read it again.

  16. Jaclyn Reynolds January 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    The Hobbit is my favorite!!

  17. Don G January 24, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    The Hobbit is my favorite. Planning on reading it to my kids pretty soon.

  18. Joshua Butcher January 24, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    The Hobbit is wonderful, but LOTR as one story is more glorious.

  19. Ticia January 23, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    Hmmmm……. I’m about to start reading the Silmarillion, but I’m not sure which of his is my favorite.

  20. Cathy January 23, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    For reading aloud, the Hobbit. But my all around favorite is the Fellowship of the Ring.

  21. Shonna January 23, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    The Hobbit. My elementary school teacher read it aloud to the class and had us all begging for more each day. I just read it last year to my kids and it had the same affect on them.

  22. Charles January 23, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    The Return of the King

  23. Michael Wehrle January 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    The Hobbit. I make sure to read it every year!

  24. Elizabeth D. January 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Tales from the Perilous Realm, especially Leaf by Niggle.

  25. Joey E January 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    The Hobbit, for sure.

  26. Heather January 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    I like the Hobbit best for reading aloud, but the Silmarillion is the best all around, I think.

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