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Re: Denethor and Abraham

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  • lynnmaudlin
    Tony, no no no (she screams), probably not what you meant but your statement, from the Old Testament, the tradition of sacrifices to Moloch, passing one s
    Message 1 of 18 , Apr 24 5:57 PM
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      Tony, no no no (she screams), probably not what you meant but your statement, "from the Old Testament, the tradition of sacrifices to Moloch, "passing one's seed through the fire", and its parallels in Phoenecian culture" makes it sound like this was part of Judaism or acceptable in some way. NO, this was NOT a Jewish tradition but a corruption of the people where the worship of a foreign god (Molech, in this case) has been embraced in specific disobedience to the law given in Leviticus 18:21 ('You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD'). So yes, that horrible thing happened and it is noted in the Bible but even with the general lack of editorial comment, it's clear this is an abomination before YHWH.

      You could argue Jepthah, in Judges 11: "Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, "If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering." (v. 30-31); he is horrified when his daughter, his only child, comes dancing out with tambourines to celebrate his victory. What isn't clear, according to rabbis, is the way in which the vow was kept: did he burn her or did she become "as dead" and never married or produced offspring?

      Of course, the problem with making Denethor's madness-induced attempt to burn his son alive is hardly comparable to the Akedah, the great testing of Abraham, where YHWH instructs him to offer his son as a sacrifice. Denethor didn't think he was making a sacrifice of his son in obedience to his god, he was acting out of palantir/Sauron-induced madness and despair. I suppose the theology student is looking at some correspondence in the salvation aspect: God stops Abraham and supplies him with a ram caught in a thicket; Gandalf rescues Faramir and only Denethor is burned.

      -- Lynn --


      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Tony Zbaraschuk <tonyz@...> wrote:
      >
      > On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 09:12:52AM -0700, Christopher Couch wrote:
      > > For an example of going through with it, Agamemnon sacrifices his
      > > daughter Iphigenia to the god Poseidon for a safe crossing of the
      > > Greek armada to Troy.  For that sacrifice and his return from Troy
      > > with Cassandra, Agamemnon is the victim of revenge by his wife
      > > Clytemnestra.
      >
      > Two other possibilities I might suggest.
      >
      > First, from the Old Testament, the tradition of sacrifices to
      > Moloch, "passing one's seed through the fire", and its parallels
      > in Phoenecian culture.
      >
      > Second, from Tolkien's own _Akallabeth_ in the Silmarillion, the
      > specific tradition that Sauron in Numenor had human sacrifices
      > made to Melkor by burning. (And in other unspecificed ways,
      > but fire is mentioned a couple of times.)
      >
      >
      > Tony Zbaraschuk
      >
      >
      > >  
      > > A theology student who is writing a paper on Denethor's
      > > attempt to burn Faramir as an analogue to Abraham's
      > > stopped sacrifice of Isaac has asked me about previous
      > > literature on the topic. Perhaps people on this list
      > > have better memories than I have, and can help?
      > >
      > > Chivalrously,
      > >
      > > Beregond
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > --
      > There is a reason most German philosophy scholarship consists of
      > trying to parse what German philosophers actually meant.
      > --Lady Wisdom's Favorite
      >
    • Tony Zbaraschuk
      ... Of course it is, and I never intended to imply otherwise. I was just pointing out that, if you re looking for parallels in the Bible to Denethor wanting
      Message 2 of 18 , Apr 26 7:53 AM
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        On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 12:57:55AM -0000, lynnmaudlin wrote:
        > Tony, no no no (she screams), probably not what you meant but your
        > statement, "from the Old Testament, the tradition of sacrifices to
        > Moloch, "passing one's seed through the fire", and its parallels in
        > Phoenecian culture" makes it sound like this was part of Judaism or
        > acceptable in some way. NO, this was NOT a Jewish tradition but a
        > corruption of the people where the worship of a foreign god (Molech
        > , in this case) has been embraced in specific disobedience to the
        > law given in Leviticus 18:21 ('You shall not give any of your offspring
        > to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your
        > God; I am the LORD'). So yes, that horrible thing happened and it
        > is noted in the Bible but even with the general lack of editorial
        > comment, it's clear this is an abomination before YHWH.

        Of course it is, and I never intended to imply otherwise. I was just
        pointing out that, if you're looking for parallels in the Bible to
        Denethor wanting to burn his own son, this one is probably worth
        considering as well.

        Not everythign in the Bible is there as an example to be followed;
        sometimes they're examples to be avoided. Which doesn't mean that
        people looking for literary comparisons can't use them in various
        ways.

        <snip Jepthah -- no comment there>

        > Of course, the problem with making Denethor's madness-induced
        > attempt to burn his son alive is hardly comparable to the Akedah,
        > the great testing of Abraham, where YHWH instructs him to offer his
        > son as a sacrifice.

        Agreed.

        > Denethor didn't think he was making a sacrifice of his son in
        > obedience to his god, he was acting out of palantir/Sauron-induced
        > madness and despair. I suppose the theology student is looking at
        > some correspondence in the salvation aspect: God stops Abraham and
        > supplies him with a ram caught in a thicket; Gandalf rescues
        > Faramir and only Denethor is burned.

        Now that's an interesting way of seeing the inversion of a pattern.


        Tony Zbaraschuk


        > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Tony Zbaraschuk <tonyz@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 09:12:52AM -0700, Christopher Couch wrote:
        > > > For an example of going through with it, Agamemnon sacrifices his
        > > > daughter Iphigenia to the god Poseidon for a safe crossing of the
        > > > Greek armada to Troy.  For that sacrifice and his return from Troy
        > > > with Cassandra, Agamemnon is the victim of revenge by his wife
        > > > Clytemnestra.
        > >
        > > Two other possibilities I might suggest.
        > >
        > > First, from the Old Testament, the tradition of sacrifices to
        > > Moloch, "passing one's seed through the fire", and its parallels
        > > in Phoenecian culture.
        > >
        > > Second, from Tolkien's own _Akallabeth_ in the Silmarillion, the
        > > specific tradition that Sauron in Numenor had human sacrifices
        > > made to Melkor by burning. (And in other unspecificed ways,
        > > but fire is mentioned a couple of times.)
        > >
        > >
        > > Tony Zbaraschuk
        > >
        > >
        > > >  
        > > > A theology student who is writing a paper on Denethor's
        > > > attempt to burn Faramir as an analogue to Abraham's
        > > > stopped sacrifice of Isaac has asked me about previous
        > > > literature on the topic. Perhaps people on this list
        > > > have better memories than I have, and can help?
        > > >
        > > > Chivalrously,
        > > >
        > > > Beregond
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > --
        > > There is a reason most German philosophy scholarship consists of
        > > trying to parse what German philosophers actually meant.
        > > --Lady Wisdom's Favorite
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        --
        There is a reason most German philosophy scholarship consists of
        trying to parse what German philosophers actually meant.
        --Lady Wisdom's Favorite
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