The Secular World Wrestles Through Tolkien’s “Eucatastrophe”
The best stories, Tolkien wrote, acknowledge the seriousness of evil, but give us “a fleeting glimpse of joy… beyond the walls of the world.”
John StonestreetKasey Leander
Whatever you think about Amazon’s Rings of Power series, it has reignited interest in the work and the worldview of J.R.R. Tolkien. For example, the idea of “eucatastrophe” or a sudden joyous turn of events. The best stories, Tolkien wrote, acknowledge the seriousness of evil, but give us “a fleeting glimpse of joy… beyond the walls of the world.”
Writing for the BBC, journalist Richard Fisher suggested that humans need that kind of inspiration and hope in order to survive. But the idea of “eucatastrophe” doesn’t make sense if the universe is an accident, humans have no value, and our only hope lies in the prospect of human “progress.” In other words, Tolkien’s word only makes sense in light of his worldview. As he wrote, “The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. … to reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.”
Have a Follow-up Question?
ListenAll Audio Breakpoint: Podcast Breakpoint This Week: John Stonestreet The Point: 60 Seconds Find BP on the Radio
LearnOnline Courses Colson Fellows
© Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved.