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19417RE: [mythsoc] two queries

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  • Mike Foster
    Feb 13, 2008
      For what it's worth, in the early drafts of the final chapters of _The
      Lord of the Rings_, narrating the events leading up to the scouring of
      the Shire, many of the defiant words and deeds are Frodo's. In
      revision, Tolkien transferred these to Pippin and more often Merry.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of John D Rateliff
      Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 11:43 AM
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] two queries

      On Feb 7, 2008, at 2:57 PM, Croft, Janet B. wrote:
      > On the second question about pacifists - there's a section in my
      > book _War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien_ on the hawk/dove
      > interpretations of Tolkien - see pp. 6-8. Phillip Helms is the
      > example I used. In a 1986 piece in Minas Tirith Evening Star he
      > read Tolkien as purely pacifist because of Frodo's attitude at the
      > end. The thing that got me was that he actually quoted Tolkien's
      > letters to his sons in the war but left out the bits where Tolkien
      > expressed his pride in their service and his wish that he could be
      > actively involved. Not to mention the bits where it was actually
      > armed resistance that freed the Shire.

      Ah. Yes, that's probably the one. I actually had this on my shelves
      within reach (between Randal Helms' second book and that awful one by
      the Hildebrandts) but forgot about it in the thirteen years that have
      lapsed since I read it. On rereading it now, I see that he tries to
      convey what it was like to be there in the sixties and why antiwar
      activists of that era embraced JRRT's book. Which, of course, is
      quite a different thing from determining Tolkien's own attitude
      towards war and pacifism.

      By the way, I've now found and read CSL's "Why I Am Not A
      Pacifist", in the collection C. S. LEWIS: ESSAY COLLECTION & OTHER
      SHORT PIECES, ed. Lesley Walmsley [2000]. I highly recommend the
      collection, which includes a lot of ephemeral pieces that address all
      kinds of (then-) contemporary issues, but not the essay. Certainly I
      don't think CSL will convince anyone who doesn't agree with him
      already, nor do I think he intends to. Anyone really interested in
      the topic will want to read the essay for himself or herself, of course.
      For the sake of those who don't have the essay handy, re. the
      specific 'turn the other cheek' passage Lewis argues that this cannot
      have any military application, since "the audience were private
      people in a disarmed nation". For him, it applies only to "an injury
      to me by my neighbour and a desire on my part to retaliate". He does
      not link it to Peter's behavior in the Garden but instead to two
      passages in the epistles (Romans 13:4 and Ist Peter 2:14) which argue
      that Christians must be submissive before authority and obey their
      governments in all things.* His larger argument here is that majority
      opinion is against pacifism, which must therefore be wrong.
      He also argues that if the two people in the 'turn the other
      cheek' example aren't equals, Christ's admonition does not apply --
      for example, if a college student were to strike his tutor. I found
      this specific exemption highly amusing.


      *these come from the same passages that declare wives must be
      submissive to their husbands (1st Peter 3:1) and that governments
      rule by divine right ('Let every person be subject to the governing
      authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those
      that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the
      authorities resists what God has appointed'; Romans 13:1-2a).

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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