Lord of the Rings: Borrowed Mythology?

For students of 7th to graduate grade.

Examine the relationships between world mythology (especially Celtic, Norse and Biblical) and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  J.R.R. Tolkein studied mythology and world languages extesively.  Many of his characters, themes and plots parallel established mythological traditions.  

Some similarities are:

   The internal human struggle between good and evil from many   different traditions
The Ring
   Andvari's ring (Volsung Saga)   

   Sigmund (Volsung Saga)

   Sigurd (Volsung Saga)

Aragorn's sword, Anduril 
   Gram (Volsung Saga)

   Grani (Volsung Saga)

Tolkien once described The Lord of the Rings to his friend, the     English Jesuit Father Robert Murray, as "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work, unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision."

Interestingly, The Ring trilogy of operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen, is based on the Volsung Saga.  It includes Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" and other important pieces.  

Other pre-Christian mythological references can be seen:

    * a "Green Man" (Tom Bombadil)
    * wise men (the White Council, especially the Istari or Wizards)
    * shapechangers (Beorn)
    * undead spirits or ghosts (Barrow-wights, Oathbreakers)
    * sentient non-humans (Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits and Ents)