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Mystical Realms Newsletter for October, 2007

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  • jef.murray
    Greetings! Welcome to my newsletter for October, 2007. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me! To
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 4, 2007
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      Greetings!

      Welcome to my newsletter for October, 2007. Please feel free to
      forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up
      with me! To receive these newsletters regularly, please drop me an
      email or subscribe online at:
      http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms . Notices of new
      paintings and events are at the bottom of this email.

      Epiphanies =========

      "It sounds kind of sad," the little girl said.

      It was sad. I was in a classroom full of middle schoolers. We had just
      learned to sing a very simple Gregorian chant, a setting of the
      Sanctus. And despite the fact that this was a Catholic school, neither
      the music teacher nor any of her students had ever sung even the most
      modest chant melody before.

      I was reminded of the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, and particularly of
      the deep and abiding sadness that permeates his tales of Middle-earth.
      In those tales, ages and ages have come and gone, and the remote
      histories and legends of the earliest times are largely forgotten. But
      the Elves were the keepers of the legends. They were the stewards of
      the ancient wisdom and lore that linked generation to generation back
      to the very creation of Middle-earth…back to the time when the
      earliest peoples had spoken and lived with the Valar, those mighty
      angels and servants of God Himself.

      Tolkien's Elves were immortal, and so they were, as such, natural
      guardians of history and wisdom. But Tolkien modeled these mythical
      beings after the Benedictine monks of Europe. The western monastic
      tradition, which began with the Rule of St. Benedict, spread
      throughout Europe during the Dark Ages. And in those times, as the
      Roman Empire crumbled and western civilization was overrun by waves of
      conquerors, all ancient lore and wisdom was gathered by the monks and
      preserved. And the prayerful temple music of the ancient Hebrews was
      remembered and modified to suit the celebration of the Catholic Mass,
      becoming what we know today as Gregorian chant.

      Music is one of the greatest gifts of God to man. And ancient melodies
      that were sung by our forebears have an immense power; they can
      connect us palpably with our fathers, and our fathers' fathers, and on
      back through the ages. And when we sing these ancient melodies, we
      mystically join our voices with those ancestors, making audible the
      very communion of saints…that spiritual and earthly choir that
      cherishes what is good, what is true, and what is beautiful.

      So why does no one sing Gregorian chant anymore? One could argue that
      it's too "old fashioned", or that a capella singing is too difficult
      for average folk, or that no one wants to sing in a foreign language.
      But I think chant is scarce for a different reason. I think it's
      because, as the little girl in that classroom said, "it sounds kind of
      sad."

      We modern folk want diversion. We want bubbly songs that make us feel
      good. We want nothing that reminds us of pain, of loss, of suffering.
      And as a result, worship in many churches these days is little more
      than (often bad) entertainment.

      But, as anyone who has ever truly suffered will tell you, pain,
      sacrifice, and loss are often necessary for growth. There are things
      in life that are sad: people are hurt; families are destroyed;
      neighborhoods and nations are overrun by criminals; we lose those we
      love.

      But by papering over these things, we also paper over the brokenness
      of our world, and the sin that underlies that brokenness. And when we
      deny sin, we deny the possibility of redemption, the possibility that
      the sadness and hurt are just temporary. We deny the possibility that
      life is too glorious and too important to waste on diversion.

      "Yes, it is sad, isn't it?" I answered the girl in the classroom. "But
      isn't it also beautiful?"

      And that, perhaps, is the best description I can ever give, not only
      for Gregorian chant, but also for life itself.


      Nai Eru laitalyë (may God bless you),

      Jef


      Events =========

      - First, I have spent the last month bringing many of my existing
      paintings and logos up to date on my website. In addition to those
      that have been online for a while, I've brought back a number of
      pieces not seen in some time, and am including detailed commentary and
      info on originals with each piece. If you've not seen the site in a
      while, please take a look ( http://www.JefMurray.com ) and let me know
      what you think!

      - I feel greatly honoured to have been asked to develop the logo for
      the MythCon 39, the Mythopoeic Society's annual conference, scheduled
      for August 15-18th, 2008 at Central Connecticut State University. The
      theme for this year is "The Valkyrie and the Goddess: The Warrior
      Woman in Fantasy". You can see the logo at:
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/sketches/Sketch_mythcon39_logo.html
      . For more information on the Mythopoeic Society or the convention,
      visit http://www.mythsoc.org .

      - Oxonmoot 2007 was by all accounts a great success! And either 6 or 7
      (depending on who you talk to ) of the 8 prints that I included in
      the art show this year had been purchased by the end of the weekend. A
      print of a dragon reading The Hobbit (see
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/myth/353_Reading_dragon.html
      ) received by far the greatest amount of interest.

      - I am delighted to have been asked to be a guest of honour at the
      upcoming Tolkien celebration, "A Long-Expected Party" (ALEP) in
      Kentucky in September, 2008. I was also asked to develop one of the
      logos used for the event. You can see it on my website at:
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/sketches/Sketch_ALEP_logo.html
      . The official website for ALEP (and registration info) can be found
      at: http://www.alongexpectedparty.org/ .

      - The September/October issue of Amon Hen, the bimonthly newsletter of
      the Tolkien Society, features a cover that I was honoured to have been
      asked to design. It commemorates the 70th anniversary of the
      publication of The Hobbit with a painting of the dragon Smaug (see
      original painting at
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmurra2/jefmurraystudios/tolkien/343_Smaug.html
      ).

      - The White Tree Fund (see http://www.whitetreefund.org/ ) is now
      accepting memberships and is in the process of finalizing details for
      publication of "Silver Leaves", their new journal. I was asked to
      contribute several painting images and sketches for their use in this
      inaugural issue of "Silver Leaves". Included in these was the cover
      image, which incorporated my painting of the high seat at Amon Hen.
    • John D Rateliff
      ... I have never heard this theory before, of the Elves being modeled on medieval Xian monks. Can you point me towards a source? I shd have thought the Tuatha
      Message 2 of 10 , Oct 13, 2007
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        On Oct 4, 2007, at 5:48 AM, jef.murray wrote:
        > Tolkien's Elves were immortal, and so they were, as such, natural
        > guardians of history and wisdom. But Tolkien modeled these mythical
        > beings after the Benedictine monks of Europe. The western monastic
        > tradition, which began with the Rule of St. Benedict, spread
        > throughout Europe during the Dark Ages.

        I have never heard this theory before, of the Elves being modeled on
        medieval Xian monks. Can you point me towards a source? I shd have
        thought the Tuatha de Danaan a closer parallel than the Benedictines.
        --John R.
        (sorry to be slow in responding, but I've been away in the Midwest
        and am just starting to play catch-up on my email)

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Diane Joy Baker
        I just saw *Mr. Baggins* and *Return to Bag End* under the rubric title *History of the Hobbit* at a local Barnes and Noble. Your name on the cover. (Or it
        Message 3 of 10 , Oct 15, 2007
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          I just saw *Mr. Baggins* and *Return to Bag End* under the rubric title *History of the Hobbit* at a local Barnes and Noble. Your name on the cover. (Or it looked like it!) Congratulations!

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: John D Rateliff
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 8:19 PM
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Mystical Realms Newsletter for October, 2007


          On Oct 4, 2007, at 5:48 AM, jef.murray wrote:
          > Tolkien's Elves were immortal, and so they were, as such, natural
          > guardians of history and wisdom. But Tolkien modeled these mythical
          > beings after the Benedictine monks of Europe. The western monastic
          > tradition, which began with the Rule of St. Benedict, spread
          > throughout Europe during the Dark Ages.

          I have never heard this theory before, of the Elves being modeled on
          medieval Xian monks. Can you point me towards a source? I shd have
          thought the Tuatha de Danaan a closer parallel than the Benedictines.
          --John R.
          (sorry to be slow in responding, but I've been away in the Midwest
          and am just starting to play catch-up on my email)

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





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Cathy Akers-Jordan
          It s on Amazon, too (and at the top of my Christmas wish list)! http://www.amazon.com/History-Hobbit-John-D-Rateliff/dp/0618964401/ref=s
          Message 4 of 10 , Oct 16, 2007
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            It's on Amazon, too (and at the top of my Christmas wish list)!

            http://www.amazon.com/History-Hobbit-John-D-Rateliff/dp/0618964401/ref=s\
            r_1_1/102-4588528-6192148?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1192539022&sr=1-1

            Cathy

            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Diane Joy Baker" <dbaker021@...> wrote:
            >
            > I just saw *Mr. Baggins* and *Return to Bag End* under the rubric
            title *History of the Hobbit* at a local Barnes and Noble. Your name on
            the cover. (Or it looked like it!) Congratulations!
            >
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: John D Rateliff
            > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 8:19 PM
            > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Mystical Realms Newsletter for October, 2007
            >
            >
            > On Oct 4, 2007, at 5:48 AM, jef.murray wrote:
            > > Tolkien's Elves were immortal, and so they were, as such, natural
            > > guardians of history and wisdom. But Tolkien modeled these
            mythical
            > > beings after the Benedictine monks of Europe. The western monastic
            > > tradition, which began with the Rule of St. Benedict, spread
            > > throughout Europe during the Dark Ages.
            >
            > I have never heard this theory before, of the Elves being modeled on
            > medieval Xian monks. Can you point me towards a source? I shd have
            > thought the Tuatha de Danaan a closer parallel than the
            Benedictines.
            > --John R.
            > (sorry to be slow in responding, but I've been away in the Midwest
            > and am just starting to play catch-up on my email)
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • Jef Murray
            John, I am reasonably sure that my comments about Tolkien s elves being modeled, in part, after the Benedictines was mentioned by Professor Bradley J. Birzer
            Message 5 of 10 , Oct 16, 2007
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              John,

              I am reasonably sure that my comments about
              Tolkien's elves being modeled, in part, after the
              Benedictines was mentioned by Professor Bradley J.
              Birzer in his "J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth:
              Understanding Middle-earth". In that book, as I
              recall, Prof. Birzer suggests that the Benedictines
              provided a model for the elves that would have been
              very familiar to Tolkien, and that the liturgical
              chanting of the Benedictines may have served as a
              model for the prominently-featured singing of the
              elves.

              I don't recollect without the book in my hands
              whether or not his comments were derived from JRRT's
              letters, but I should be able to find out. Will see
              about coming up with a page reference for you....

              Jef




              ===================================================================
              Mystical Realms - Exploring the boundaries between worlds.....
              http://www.JefMurray.com
              ===================================================================
            • John D Rateliff
              Thanks Jef; knowing it was in the Birzer book --which I have but have not yet read-- is enough; I ll slip a note into the book reminding me of the fact and be
              Message 6 of 10 , Oct 17, 2007
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                Thanks Jef; knowing it was in the Birzer book --which I have but have
                not yet read-- is enough; I'll slip a note into the book reminding me
                of the fact and be on the lookout for it when I do get around to
                reading it.
                Again, thanks for the follow-up. It's an interesting idea, and I
                want to see how good a case Prof. Birzer makes for it.
                --John R.

                On Oct 16, 2007, at 7:01 AM, Jef Murray wrote:

                > John,
                >
                > I am reasonably sure that my comments about
                > Tolkien's elves being modeled, in part, after the
                > Benedictines was mentioned by Professor Bradley J.
                > Birzer in his "J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth:
                > Understanding Middle-earth". In that book, as I
                > recall, Prof. Birzer suggests that the Benedictines
                > provided a model for the elves that would have been
                > very familiar to Tolkien, and that the liturgical
                > chanting of the Benedictines may have served as a
                > model for the prominently-featured singing of the
                > elves.
                >
                > I don't recollect without the book in my hands
                > whether or not his comments were derived from JRRT's
                > letters, but I should be able to find out. Will see
                > about coming up with a page reference for you....
                >
                > Jef
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > ===================================================================
                > Mystical Realms - Exploring the boundaries between worlds.....
                > http://www.JefMurray.com
                > ===================================================================
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
              • Keith Sutherland
                My wife noticed your posts and we are currently having a debate about the subject. My wife thanks you also. ...
                Message 7 of 10 , Oct 17, 2007
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                  My wife noticed your posts and we are currently having
                  a debate about the subject. My wife thanks you also.

                  --- John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:

                  > Thanks Jef; knowing it was in the Birzer book
                  > --which I have but have
                  > not yet read-- is enough; I'll slip a note into the
                  > book reminding me
                  > of the fact and be on the lookout for it when I do
                  > get around to
                  > reading it.
                  > Again, thanks for the follow-up. It's an
                  > interesting idea, and I
                  > want to see how good a case Prof. Birzer makes for
                  > it.
                  > --John R.
                  >
                  > On Oct 16, 2007, at 7:01 AM, Jef Murray wrote:
                  >
                  > > John,
                  > >
                  > > I am reasonably sure that my comments about
                  > > Tolkien's elves being modeled, in part, after the
                  > > Benedictines was mentioned by Professor Bradley J.
                  > > Birzer in his "J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying
                  > Myth:
                  > > Understanding Middle-earth". In that book, as I
                  > > recall, Prof. Birzer suggests that the
                  > Benedictines
                  > > provided a model for the elves that would have
                  > been
                  > > very familiar to Tolkien, and that the liturgical
                  > > chanting of the Benedictines may have served as a
                  > > model for the prominently-featured singing of the
                  > > elves.
                  > >
                  > > I don't recollect without the book in my hands
                  > > whether or not his comments were derived from
                  > JRRT's
                  > > letters, but I should be able to find out. Will
                  > see
                  > > about coming up with a page reference for you....
                  > >
                  > > Jef
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  ===================================================================
                  > > Mystical Realms - Exploring the boundaries
                  > between worlds.....
                  > > http://www.JefMurray.com
                  > >
                  >
                  ===================================================================
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > The Mythopoeic Society website
                  > http://www.mythsoc.org
                  > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > The Mythopoeic Society website
                  > http://www.mythsoc.org
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  __________________________________________________
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                • Lynn Maudlin
                  John, you just gave me a useful glimpse into how a scholar might stay on top of the massive pile of books that swarm at his feet... slipping a note inside,
                  Message 8 of 10 , Oct 19, 2007
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                    John, you just gave me a useful glimpse into how a scholar might stay
                    on top of the massive pile of books that swarm at his feet... slipping
                    a note inside, reminding you to look for a certain passage or element.
                    I slap my own forehead and say, "Doh!"

                    -- Lynn --

                    --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Thanks Jef; knowing it was in the Birzer book --which I have but have
                    > not yet read-- is enough; I'll slip a note into the book reminding me
                    > of the fact and be on the lookout for it when I do get around to
                    > reading it.
                    > Again, thanks for the follow-up. It's an interesting idea, and I
                    > want to see how good a case Prof. Birzer makes for it.
                    > --John R.
                    >
                    > On Oct 16, 2007, at 7:01 AM, Jef Murray wrote:
                    >
                    > > John,
                    > >
                    > > I am reasonably sure that my comments about
                    > > Tolkien's elves being modeled, in part, after the
                    > > Benedictines was mentioned by Professor Bradley J.
                    > > Birzer in his "J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth:
                    > > Understanding Middle-earth". In that book, as I
                    > > recall, Prof. Birzer suggests that the Benedictines
                    > > provided a model for the elves that would have been
                    > > very familiar to Tolkien, and that the liturgical
                    > > chanting of the Benedictines may have served as a
                    > > model for the prominently-featured singing of the
                    > > elves.
                    > >
                    > > I don't recollect without the book in my hands
                    > > whether or not his comments were derived from JRRT's
                    > > letters, but I should be able to find out. Will see
                    > > about coming up with a page reference for you....
                    > >
                    > > Jef
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > ===================================================================
                    > > Mystical Realms - Exploring the boundaries between worlds.....
                    > > http://www.JefMurray.com
                    > > ===================================================================
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                    > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                  • Anthony and Jessica
                    Anyone else, perhaps John, seen this box set? Actually just the edition that comes with the two history volumes? I have it here and am rereading The Hobbit, as
                    Message 9 of 10 , Oct 20, 2007
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                      Anyone else, perhaps John, seen this box set? Actually just the
                      edition that comes with the two history volumes? I have it here and am
                      rereading The Hobbit, as the art and contents of John's volumes have
                      inspired me to do so and will review it a bit with the vols, but two
                      glaring errors have appeared--not entirely that bad but noticeable to
                      those paying attention:

                      1) It states that the text of this edition is based on the 1995 Harper
                      Collins publication. On page 20 Thorin pulls out the map to show
                      everyone, and the usual paranthetical(sp?) reference
                      (Look at the map in this chapter, and you will see there the runes in
                      red)
                      As we know from Doug Anderson's Annotated Hobbit this line has been
                      changed numerous times over the years to reflect the edition--it has
                      been glossed over for this one,--the map in no in the chapter but on
                      the inside covers, which are beautifully rendered but not in the
                      chapter as stated.

                      2) In the Barrels out of Bond Chapter on facing page 172 is the "Bilbo
                      comes to the Huts of the Raft elves" color illustration plate--my copy
                      has two of the same page--now this may be a glitch in binding and may
                      be unique to my copy but I am curious if others have seen this.

                      So that's all I got right now but am curious to thoughts...

                      Anthony


                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Cathy Akers-Jordan" <melisande@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > It's on Amazon, too (and at the top of my Christmas wish list)!
                      >
                      >
                      http://www.amazon.com/History-Hobbit-John-D-Rateliff/dp/0618964401/ref=s\
                      > r_1_1/102-4588528-6192148?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1192539022&sr=1-1
                      >
                      > Cathy
                      >
                      > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Diane Joy Baker" <dbaker021@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > I just saw *Mr. Baggins* and *Return to Bag End* under the rubric
                      > title *History of the Hobbit* at a local Barnes and Noble. Your name on
                      > the cover. (Or it looked like it!) Congratulations!
                      > >
                      > > ----- Original Message -----
                      > > From: John D Rateliff
                      > > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                      > > Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 8:19 PM
                      > > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Mystical Realms Newsletter for October, 2007
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > On Oct 4, 2007, at 5:48 AM, jef.murray wrote:
                      > > > Tolkien's Elves were immortal, and so they were, as such, natural
                      > > > guardians of history and wisdom. But Tolkien modeled these
                      > mythical
                      > > > beings after the Benedictine monks of Europe. The western monastic
                      > > > tradition, which began with the Rule of St. Benedict, spread
                      > > > throughout Europe during the Dark Ages.
                      > >
                      > > I have never heard this theory before, of the Elves being modeled on
                      > > medieval Xian monks. Can you point me towards a source? I shd have
                      > > thought the Tuatha de Danaan a closer parallel than the
                      > Benedictines.
                      > > --John R.
                      > > (sorry to be slow in responding, but I've been away in the Midwest
                      > > and am just starting to play catch-up on my email)
                      > >
                      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > >
                      >
                    • Jack
                      ... Correct. In the UK edition I have, there iis no map as well. ... Not so in the UK edition.
                      Message 10 of 10 , Oct 20, 2007
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                        >As we know from Doug Anderson's Annotated Hobbit this line has been
                        >changed numerous times over the years to reflect the edition--it has
                        >been glossed over for this one,--the map in no in the chapter but on
                        >the inside covers, which are beautifully rendered but not in the
                        >chapter as stated.

                        Correct. In the UK edition I have, there iis no map as well.

                        >
                        >2) In the Barrels out of Bond Chapter on facing page 172 is the "Bilbo
                        >comes to the Huts of the Raft elves" color illustration plate--my copy
                        >has two of the same page--now this may be a glitch in binding and may
                        >be unique to my copy but I am curious if others have seen this.

                        Not so in the UK edition.
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