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Re: [mythsoc] Catholicism and Lord of the Rings

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  • David Bratman
    ... In the letter, Tolkien says the Catholicism is unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. It seems to me that addresses the question of
    Message 1 of 51 , Jun 4, 2009
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      John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
      >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,

      In the letter, Tolkien says the Catholicism is "unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the
      revision." It seems to me that addresses the question of to what extent the ideas were deliberately expressed in the writing, and to what extent it was retroactive interpretation.

      Especially as Tolkien says it was initially unconscious, I see no reason to second-guess him in the matter.

      >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.

      The Madsen article (it's in Mythlore 53 (vol. 14 no. 3, Spring 1988) is a useful corrective to two errors that the Catholic enthusiasts sometimes make about LOTR: that Tolkien meant the book as a form of apologetics or conversion literature - he did NOT, the Catholic element is a reflection of the cast of his mind, not proselytizing; and that the book's appeal is basically Catholic - Madsen's own testimony is evidence that it can appeal just as strongly to a non-believer. I am less convinced by Madsen's non-Catholic, indeed non-Christian, readings of the book's own theology, however.
    • David Emerson
      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
      Message 51 of 51 , Jun 15, 2009
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        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)


        -----Original Message-----
        >From: John Davis <john@...>
        >Sent: Jun 15, 2009 3:48 AM
        >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
        >
        >Perhaps he was just mostly dead.
        >
        >John
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: scribbler@...
        > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        > 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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