Generous Orthodoxy  

Fleming’s book about The Lord of the Rings continues to be read, praised, and quoted. The new issue of the journal of the Tolkien Society, Mallorn, features a scholarly article called “The ‘Divine Passive’ in The Lord of the Rings,” which draws significantly on Fleming’s The Battle for Middle-earth. In her book, Fleming has put much emphasis on Tolkien’s use of the passive voice (“Bilbo was meant to have the Ring…I seemed to be drawn somehow…Bare time was given me…” and so forth) which Tolkien uses throughout the saga to suggest the working of the divine agency. A conspicuous example of a triple divine passive in the New Testament is Matthew 27:51-2—“the curtain of the temple was torn in two…the rocks were split…the tombs also were opened…”

The Battle for Middle-earth is still very much in print and available (clergy, order from www.eerdmans.com for a clergy discount and instantaneous mailing). There is a whole chapter on The Hobbit, so the book ought to be good for a few years until the long-delayed Hobbit movie finally appears, in two parts, yet (is The Hobbit really worth two whole movies?? Unlike LOTR, it’s for children.)