When SPC Humanities Professor Michael Jahosky was 16 years old, two important things happened: He renewed his Christian faith, and he was introduced to author J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Nineteen years later, those two events have collided, resulting in Jahosky’s first book, The Good News of the Return of the King. With this book, Jahosky hopes to demonstrate Christianity’s principles through Tolkien’s lens.
Jahosky, who began teaching humanities at St. Petersburg College in 2010, says his book has been a long time coming.
“Although I’ve been writing officially since 2015, I’ve been working on this book, or the book has been working on me, since I was 16,” Jahosky said. “This was also 2001, the year of the first Lord of the Rings movie, and my brother began to read the books to me before we saw the first film.”
Jahosky said he was studying Christianity in 2010, when he discovered the writings of N.T. Wright, who spoke of the story of Christ in a way that reminded him of Tolkien’s story of the Return of Aragorn as king in Lord of the Rings.
“I began to see resemblances between the biblical story and Tolkien’s, and I realized that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is a parable about the return of the true king—God himself becoming king on earth as he is in heaven,” Jahosky said. “I realized God put these things in my way so I could see how they were connected, and thus, I began to write a book about how Tolkien communicates the truth of the Christian worldview in a way that resembles Jesus’s parables, and that both stories are about the return of the King.”
Though Jahosky says Tolkien’s books are not fictional retellings of the story of Christianity, they are an expansion of it and can make Christian teachings more accessible with the connections made in his book. His book explains this, along with Christianity’s relationship to other religions.
“I wrote this book to help people who struggle with faith and tolerance of people with different beliefs,” he said. “I hope people will also see a different side of Christianity and the important place that the imagination has in our walk with Jesus.”
Jahosky can also be found on Facebook, Twitter (@MichaelJahosky) and LinkedIn.