Thomas Emanuel

Project Title: The Tale We’ve Fallen Into: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Fandom, and the Post-Christian Quest for Meaning.

HEI: University of Glasgow

School: School of Critical Studies

Supervisors: Dr Dimitra Fimi, School of Critical Studies and Professor Robert Davis, School of Education, University of Glasgow.

About Rev. Thomas’s Research

Rev. Thomas Emanuel

How do non-religious fans of J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) make spiritual meaning with his fiction? This project constructs an interdisciplinary framework of fan reception studies, narrative theology, and scholarship on Tolkien and religion to develop a survey probing non-religious fans’ spiritual experience of The Lord of the Rings (LOTR). In-depth rhetorical analysis of survey findings will inform the development of educational materials for public engagement with spiritual themes in Tolkien’s work. The study responds directly to ongoing controversies over diverse readings of Tolkien by broadening the hermeneutical horizons of Tolkien studies and theorizing secular fandom as a post-Christian community of meaning.

Twitter: @RealTomEmanuel