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Gentiles and Gnomes: The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien and the Apostle Paul

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modern history
Boston College

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  1. Introduction
  2. Tolkien's letters and the philosophy behind the books
  3. Paul's failure in trying to convey a personal relationship
  4. Conclusion

The letters of Paul are the first written communication following the crucifixion of Christ. Paul's letters at first appear to be more written commands rather than correspondences. The letters of Paul are usually interpreted as laws given by Paul to different peoples concerning the worship of God. However, when read much closer, you are able to see more than just his commands but also what life was like in the first century and many different aspects of Paul's character. The main letters that most people read are his letters to the Romans and Corinthians. Paul established the city of Corinth before he left on his travels so these letters are much more personal than the ones to the Romans. Paul uses his letters to answer questions the people have regarding practices of their faith and to ?force? upon them the importance of practing religion.

[...] As I said before, I never knew that the Lord of the Rings books were as in depth as Tolkien describes. While he says that he does not want people to look too deeply into them, even he knows the philosophical grounding of them. Being a huge Harry Potter fan I never really caught on to the Lord of the Rings phenomenon. The Potter books are for pure fantasy enjoyment, without some other agenda trying to be woven in. This is what I thought that Tolkien's book had, but his letters made me realize I was wrong. [...]

[...] However, in doing so he wavers back and forth between modesty and arrogance, never fully deciding on what approach to take. Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel (Corinthians In the opening to his letter, Paul says that he is simply a servant of God and should not be worshipped simply because he performed baptisms. He says that too many are worshipping single individuals and not God himself. [...]

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