Re: [mythsoc] Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
The quote from the letter to Fr. Murray that Jef cited is the
main source. But check also his letter to Hastings, which shows that
he felt comfortable going beyond the Church's teachings as well
(beyond, not against).
Probably the best case for looking at Tolkien from a Catholic
perspective is the collection TOLKIEN: A CELEBRATION , edited
by Joseph Pearce. Pearce takes a rather more extreme position in his
book, TOLKIEN: MAN AND MYTH .
Personally, I think the Murray letter shows Tolkien looking back
and interpreting the work after the fact, rather than necessarily
expressing his ideas at the time he was writing, rather as he does in
his essay on SWM. But this is a minority view; most take his
statement at face value. Your friend might want to look up the essay
"Light from an Invisible Lamp" by Catherine Madsen (the original
version that appeared in MYTHLORE, not the revised one that later
appeared in one of the Jane Chance books), which presents the best
case I've seen defending a non-Xian reading of Tolkien.
On Jun 4, 2009, at 3:42 AM, Alana Joli Abbott wrote:
> Hello all,
> I had a conversation recently in which a Catholic friend said she
> felt that
> the Lord of the Rings wasn't Catholic at all, and I said that I
> Tolkien himself had thought it was a Catholic work. I can't
> remember off the
> top of my head where that quote comes from (the letters?), but I'm
> someone here knows without even having to look it up. :) I'd love
> to be able
> to pass the citation along to her!
> Many thanks, collective brain!
> Alana (#2)
- Luthien: Alas! My beloved has perished! I must go to the Halls of Mandos to beg --
Beren: I'm not dead yet.
Luthien: Shh! To beg Mandos to bring him back --
Beren: I don't want to go on the cart.
Luthien: Shut up! I'm having a dramatic moment here.
Beren: I feel happy...
Luthien: (Nods to nearest elf with big club)
Big Club: Thud.
Luthien: Okay, I'm off to the Halls of Mandos. See ya. (Falls down)
>From: John Davis <john@...>________________________________________
>Sent: Jun 15, 2009 3:48 AM
>Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
>Perhaps he was just mostly dead.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: scribbler@...
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 4:40 PM
> Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
> > I've always wondered -- was Beren really dead? Or was he merely so close
> > to death that no one around could tell the difference? Was he really
> > resurrected, or simply revived?
> > If the Gift of Men is beyond even the Valar's understanding, it doesn't
> > make sense that Mandos would have the power to give Beren back his life,
> > no matter how persuasively Luthien sang.
> > emerdavid
> Well, it would seem incongruous that Mandos himself would not be able to
> distinguish between a "nearly dead" mortal soul and a "dead" one. Mandos
> is made anxious about the situation because Beren WILL NOT GO ON the way
> he is supposed to.
> It seems to me, that Beren's soul held onto the world to an unexpected
> degree, instead of passing out of the world. If he had passed out of the
> world, then I agree, Luthien's singing would have been tragic in that it
> would be to no point -- Beren would not be *there* to be returned. But
> that's not what Tolkien sets as the situation. He has Beren "hanging
> around" unexpectedly.
> I say - Beren was dead, but not "departed". A unique situation that the
> Valar could actually address.
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