Title

When Myth Married Truth: The Practical Value of Tolkien and Lewis’s View of Mythology and Christianity

Date of Award

7-1-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)

Department

Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Douglas L. Falls, Jr.

Abstract

In an age where personal mythologies have become the basis for reality, and truth has been relegated to the realm of fantasy, Christians are more in need than ever of a clear view of what constitutes myth and truth. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis provide us with this clear view, as both men believed that myth and truth became fully realized in the Christian faith. Their dual emphasis on both the value of mythology and the truth of Christianity provide modern-day believers with a practical apologetic that takes on contemporary thought. In comparing Tolkien and Lewis’s view with those of Rudolf Bultmann and Joseph Campbell, I will attempt to show how the marriage of myth and truth found in Christianity has practical applications that lead to a more relevant presentation of the Christian faith to contemporary people.

I will begin this thesis by defining what I mean by myth. I will then show how myth is not inherently false, and will discuss how myth relates to the Bible. Following that first section I will explain both Tolkien and Lewis’s views of the relationship between mythology and Christianity. After those respective sections, I will move on to an explanation and critique of the views of Rudolf Bultmann and Joseph Campbell regarding myth and Christianity. At the end of the thesis I will demonstrate the practical implications of Tolkien and Lewis’s view, particularly as it relates to the strengthening and advancing of the Christian faith.