The historical context of religions with Tolkien as an example
Tolkien was a master of story telling. You read The Lord of the Rings and are immersed in a rich world that has a fully developed history, mythology, and various races. It is one of the greatest works in literary history.
What Tolkien Did So Well, What We Do So Poorly
In this reading, I have found myself especially impressed by the history of Middle Earth, and I rate this as one of Tolkien’s great successes. But it’s not merely that Tolkien obsessively created a history in its finest details, but that he faithfully sets his characters within it. He makes them small but significant players in a much wider, grander drama. They are always aware of those who have gone before and always thinking of those who will follow. The characters do not stand alone in the story, but always in the shadow of their forebears.
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Knowing the history of a religion is important to knowing how it affects its followers. If you just give dry facts, you are not able to understand the nuances of how the faith sits historically and why it is relevant today.