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Re: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings

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  • John D Rateliff
    ... Incidently, for a look at pagan elements in Tolkien (and Lewis), see Ronald Hutton s chapter The Inklings and the Gods in his book WITCHES, DRUIDS, AND
    Message 1 of 51 , Jun 10, 2009
      On Jun 10, 2009, at 8:57 AM, John Davis wrote:
      > I have a feeling that as - presumably - a Christian, mayhap a
      > Catholic, you see evidence of Catholicism everywhere in LotR. A
      > pagan will see evidence of Paganism. I see great evidence of
      > Humanism. This is a natural tendency, but care must be taken not to
      > fall into the trap of thinking 'all that is Christian/Pagan/belief
      > of choice is good, therefore all that is good is Christian/Pagan/
      > belief of choice and nothing else'.

      Incidently, for a look at pagan elements in Tolkien (and Lewis), see
      Ronald Hutton's chapter "The Inklings and the Gods" in his book
      WITCHES, DRUIDS, AND KING ARTHUR [2003]. An interesting and thought-
      provoking piece, despite one humongous gaff.

      > Perhaps it is safest then to say merely that LotR is a
      > fundamentally spiritual work, written by a Catholic.

      Or, as Tolkien put it in a letter to W. H. Auden, "I don't feel under
      any obligation to make my story fit with formalized Christian
      theology" (Letters p. 355). He immediately followed this up with
      ". . . though I actually intended it to be consonant with Christian
      thought and belief". He makes a similar point in his interview with
      Denis Gueroult about creating a world that is consonant with his Xian
      beliefs rather than explicitly Xian.

      Jef Murray wrote
      > The Rohirrim were certainly based in part on the Vikings, and some
      > of their beliefs reflect aspects of Viking culture. Nevertheless,
      > there is
      > nothing specifically pagan about believing in an afterlife.

      Actually, they're Old English, not Vikings.

      Jef also wrote
      > I see evidence of Catholicism in LOTR because it's there for
      > anyone to see, not because I'm reading it into the text. For clear
      > and unequivocal examples, please see Carl's recent list of why many
      > of Tolkien's characters are recognizably Catholic, or please see
      > Peter Kreeft's book, mentioned previously.

      Um, isn't this like saying something like he looks at a rainbow and
      sees blue because he projects blue onto everything, whereas I see
      rainbows as red because that's obviously and objectively the color
      rainbows are?

      In any case, I'd steer away from Kreeft's book, which suffers badly
      from the 'quote C. S. Lewis and assert that he speaks for Tolkien'
      phenomenon. He's also a little careless with details -- for example,
      he thinks it was Pippin who fought the Nazgul alongside Eowyn, and
      doesn't seem to know that Galadriel was an elf, not a Maia.


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