Volume 3, number 1 (April 2013)

JIS logoVolume 3, number 1 (April 2013)


Holly Ordway, ‘“Further Up and Further In”: Representations of Heaven in Tolkien and Lewis’, pp. 5-23
This essay examines the depiction of Heaven in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Leaf by Niggle” and C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, with reference to Dante’s Paradiso, arguing that their depictions of Heaven are both theologically rich and imaginatively satisfying. The essay begins by considering the difficulties inherent in depicting Heaven, and then arguing that a depiction of the Christian vision of Heaven must reflect its incarnational reality. The essay next provides literary context for the discussion of Tolkien and Lewis by considering Dante’s representation of Heaven, with reference to Lewis’ thoughts on the imagery in Paradiso. The essay then analyzes Tolkien’s “Leaf by Niggle” and Lewis’ The Last Battle, showing how the authors’ choice of imagery evokes Heaven as active, participatory, communal, and incarnational. In both works, imagery of the Incarnate Christ plays an important role, as does the evocation of the infinitude of Heaven through metaphors of storytelling and journeying. Tolkien gives us an image of Heaven as art come to life, Lewis one of Heaven as story lived out. Both draw on aesthetic responses to nature and landscape to evoke, rather than describe, Heaven as a place infinitely desirable, a place where our nature as creative beings is fulfilled.
Yannick Imbert, ‘Tolkien’s Shire: The Ideal of a Conservative-AnarchistDistributist Governance’, pp. 25-53
This article seeks to explores the political significance of Tolkien’s Shire through consideration of both his works and his historical background. Even though the nature of politics in The Lord of the Rings has already been much discussed, there is, given the scarcity of Tolkien’s political references, further investigation is still needed. In a first part, this article will look at the interaction of Tolkien and the “movement” known as Tory anarchism. This article’s thesis is that this particular species of anarchy was an immediate background to Tolkien’s political views represented in his writings, especially in his mythological corpus as well as in his shorter stories—as in Farmer Giles of Ham. In a second part, this article investigate the meaning of Tolkien’s self-described attachment to “unconstitutional monarchy.” Here, comparison with the Shire’s political structure will be instructive, as will be the influences of Chesterton and Belloc’s political philosophy. In this regard, their work The Party System, is of special significance. In conclusion, this article will defend that Tolkien’s Shire is best seen as a Distributist conservative anarchy.
Michael Black, ‘The Sources and Uses of Distributism: A Roman Catholic’sView of Anglo-Catholic Genius’, pp. 55-74
The socio-economic notion of Distributism, as developed by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc in the early 20th century, is experiencing a political renaissance in the wake of the recent world-wide financial crisis. Distributism’s suggestion that financial concentration is dangerous because of the systematic risk it introduces into social judgment was a generation in advance of the theoretical ability to explain it. The real value of Distributism, however, is not in its prescriptions for social or economic policy but in its reference to the very English tradition of Christian Socialism, a tradition which recognizes the priority of the spiritual in national life. The intellectual framework for Distributism is to be found in the writings of 19th century figures like F.D. Maurice and John Malcolm Ludlow and 20th century activists like Maurice Reckitt and Arthur Penty. Distributism derives its real coherence from the theology which was articulated and consistently put forward by these English churchmen. It is only by considering this context of Anglican social theology that Distributism can be intelligently interpreted today.
Bill Powell, ‘How to Craft a Just Economy (not enforce a mad utopia): Response to Michael Black’, pp. 75-92
Most people see ‘capitalism’ and ‘socialism’ as opposed, but for ‘distributists’, like G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, they are both fatally flawed. Instead, distributists ‘believe that ownership in the means of livelihood is normal to man, and necessary to liberty.’ At present, the ownership of productive property is concentrated in too few hands, which causes all sorts of problems, including the latest round of Wall Street failures and bailouts. The question is, how can we achieve a better distribution of property without going down the Utopian road of coercion (and nightmare)?
At the heart of distributist theory is the conviction that widespread ownership is what most people actually want. Distributists don’t want to coerce anyone into becoming owners; we want to remove the coercions that currently prevent most people from becoming owners. In theory, all adults in Western societies are already free to become their own economic masters; in reality, a myriad of coercive tactics keep most economic control in a few hands. Although we should work on the political side to end these coercions (for instance, the current government tax breaks, bailouts, and outright subsidies to large corporations), the main distributist focus is always on widespread, personal action. We can do much more than we’re doing with the freedoms we still have, especially our choices in how we shop and how we work.
Poems by Owen Barfield, pp. 95-97
No abstract available

Notes & Queries:

Joel D. Heck ‘Notes and Queries’, pp. 101-7
No abstract available

Book Reviews:
Thomas Möllenbeck and Berthold Wald (eds), Wahrheit und Selbstüberschreitung. C. S. Lewis und Josef Pieper über den Menschen. Review by Arend Smilde, pp. 111-16
Peter Miller, The Lion, the Witch, and the Extraordinary Perspective in C. S. Lewis. Review by Shannon C. Coker, pp. 117-19
Paul E. Kerry (ed.), The Ring and the Cross: Christianity and The Lord of the Rings. Review by Shaun Blanchard, pp. 120-23
Gary L. Tandy, The Rhetoric of Certitude: C.S. Lewis’s Nonfiction Prose. Review by Simon Vaughan, pp. 124-26