In the last 24 hours, we've had two good enough questions about Christian allusions in non-canonical scripture as to make me question whether we should include these or not.

  1. What are typical Christian responses to The Grand Inquisitor?

    This question, whilest incorrectly framed in Atheist terms, is actually one I'd really be interested in properly answering. Looking at this: http://www.breakpoint.org/commentaries/2578-lessons-in-subversion you'll get more insight. Still, it is good grist for the mill so to speak.

  2. Who symbolizes Christ in J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings"?

    I was tempted to close this until I realized, however, that it really was in the same class as #1 - and then I realized, no, it might actually be interesting to point out the Christ parallels in Tolkein. It's a commonly advanced argument that Tolkein had Christian teaching in mind. Grant you "Who" is a homeowrk problem, but Why? could lead to some interesting answers.

But, are these too far afield? That's what I want to know!

One thing I don't want to get into is "Is this better on BH?" Simply put, yes, it will often be a hermeneutical exercise, but it will be guided, in most cases, by doctrine. Plus, BH has a large Jewish audience, and I doubt they'll want to play "Where's Jesus in X?" a lot.

  • Whoops. Maybe I should have read the new posts before posting mine.
    – user3961
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


I closed the first, not for the topic, but for the framing. It's asking for an Atheist POV which is not on topic here. Were it modified to ask for the Christian POV it might be OK. If it's interesting enough to you giving a go at resurrecting it might not be a bad idea.

I did not close the second for much the same reason. I don't think there is evidence that there even is a Christological type in LOTR, but the question is framed in a way that is on topic for this site. It's clear what it's asking, and I don't think it's too broad (it's a specific work, and it's a specific interpretation of that work, even if the character varies slightly)

Both are likely better on a literature.se site, but there isn't one. Technically the Tolkien question could go live on Scifi.se, but it's on topic here so it can stay. The Dostoyevsky question could be made to be on topic.

I think that both questions are towards the borderline of what we allow (both of those books are literature not theology), but Lewis' works are pretty much universally on topic, as are Chesterton's. I don't see why Tolkien and Dostoyevsky shouldn't be just becuause they are literature.

So as with all things, mind the framing, make your questions clear and narrow, and questions about Christian allusions in literature should be mostly on topic.

  • I think you would also say that the question needs some scoping to a particular denomination, since Christianity is an extremely broad topic. :P
    – Double U
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 23:34
  • @Anonymous that completely depends on what the question was.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Aug 11, 2013 at 14:22

I think both should be considered from the perspective of the authors.

In any event, my test is, "Do I think, Chesterton could write an essay about it?"

to which, the answer is yes.

  • 1
    WWCW? (What would Chesterton write?) Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 15:01
  • 3
    But there is in everything a reasonable division of labour. I have written the book, and nothing on earth would induce me to read it. and furthermore And to all this my friend the publisher made this very deep and effective reply, "Well, if a man is not to believe in himself, in what is he to believe?" After a long pause I replied, "I will go home and write a book in answer to that question." This is the book that I have written in answer to it.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 15:04
  • I did not recognize those quotes from Orthodoxy. (While Google provided this information, specifying references might be helpful to those less familiar with the Christian classics than you are. Context can be significant.)
    – user3331
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 11:44

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