Re: [mythsoc] Joseph Pearce on Tolkien
- On Apr 9, 2011, at 1:25 PM, David Bratman wrote:
> He pounds the equation of Morgoth with Lucifer into the ground, and then uses folk etymology - rather than, like, their evil deeds - to prove Sauron, Saruman, and Wormtongue are Satanic too. (Sauron = sauros = lizard = snake = Satanic symbol, and Saruman has _the same four letters_! Apparently he means this seriously.)Nor are those his only mistaken etymologies (as I've pointed out to him).
> His clinching proof is that the quest ends on March 25, a traditional calendar date for the Crucifixion and also the Feast of the Annunciation, which Pearce says is a more important date in the Church calendar than Christmas. (Berni assures me this is _not_ the case,Well, that depends on what one means by "important". Liturgically, even though they are both the same class of Feast, one could argue that Christmas is the more important, since it has its own Octave. Then again, since the Annunciation always occurs during Lent, it couldn't have an Octave anyways; and the fact that it is celebrated as a Feast despite occurring in Lent and even as happened this year, overrides Lenten obligations when it falls on a Friday does indicate exceptional liturgical importance. Historically, the date of the Annunciation was also regarded as the date of: the Crucifixion; the creation of Adam; the Fall of Lucifer; the passing of Israel through the Red Sea; and the (near) immolation of Isaac, and so the date _itself_ is indeed in this aspect more important than that of Dec. 25.
> and it's clear to me what's going on: as Christmas is the birth of Christ and the Annunciation is the angel informing Mary that she's pregnant, Pearce is giving a dog-whistle to anti-abortionists who claim conception, not birth, is the start of life, even if he has to rewrite Catholic theology to do it.)The Church has _never_ held that birth is the start of life, and it does now define conception as the start of human life (it is true that there was previously some debate as to when ensoulment occurs, e.g. Aquinas, but that debate was never used to justify abortion, always and everywhere regarded as gravely sinful by the Church). So I'm puzzled as to how this constitutes "rewriting Catholic theology".
I think your objection to Pearce, in that he did not mention Tolkien's
disavowal of something he (Pearce) stated as a fact, is on target. My
own focus -- which is why I early on changed the Subject line to remove
Pearce -- was on whether or not Tolkien's disavowal was definitive.