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JesseBC
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

If you don't think you're speculating, I'm afraid you're deluding yourself. The origins of these rituals date back to before written history. Estimates place, for example, the origins of fertility or solstice rituals at about 4000 BC...but you say you're not speculating?

And...um...not to put too fine a point on it, but I DID say that the Light vs. Dark myths would logically be placed at the solstices. You've just taken exactly what I said and used it to counter my own argument.

All I'm saying is the wrong names are getting slapped on the wrong dates. Imbolc (later Candlemas) happened in the dead of winter (eventually pinned to what we call early February). The spring equinox is 6 weeks later (corresponding more closely to the Christian Easter).

Beltane and Samhain were a fertility and harvest festival, respectively. They didn't occur at the solstices, which happen in June (Midsummer) and December (Yule). If you scroll back, it was suggested that the light vs. darkness battle must have happened at Beltane, which (speculation notwithstanding) just doesn't make a great deal of sense.







TiggerBear wrote:
JesseBC
Well Imbolc, was a common time for sacrifice. And well dugh, spring start in march.(chuckle)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
I know there's legions of room for speculation with regards to ancient rituals, but...where on earth are you guys getting some of this stuff?!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Never have I speculated. Raised on Winter King/Summer king myths. Try looking at the pre-roman Welsh myths.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It wouldn't make any sense for the various Light vs. Darkness battle-myths to occur in the spring and fall when the light starts noticeably changing at the solstices -- which happen in the middle of June and December.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Solstices were celebrated as the hight of each kings reign. Does it not make since to you that on the longest day of summer, the summer king would have the most influence, and vise versa? Why does it not make since to you, that the battles occurred on the day each side was balanced? Why wouldn't ancient society not have fear that if the proper god wasn't supported that the seasons might not change?


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TiggerBear
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

[ Edited ]
(sigh)I am not speculating, nor am I deluded.
I was raised on the tales being told and read to me as a child. My family still mixes old English and Celtic in with modern language when talking. I still get invitations that start with "Kin en Kith, gathr cyfranogi am coffi a cacen." " Family and friends, gather to partake for coffee and cake.". Some of us were lucky that when our family left the old world they didn't leave all of it behind.

I can't sight scholarly texts for you, because you're right few if any exist. Oral, history and family traditions non withstanding. I know they were also published in books, but since I do not personally own them(shrug).
But, I am not the only person who was raised with these. Ran into a fellow back in collage who had these told to him as a child as well, and he grew up Boston. Got a Midsummer day party invite(from a woman I'd never spoken to the matter about) with " All hail the glorious Summer King" in the margin border. Woman had ordered that paper especially.

I wasn't countering anything. I may have been ham handedly explaining myself however. Correct, no one is sure what humans believed in the Neolithic period. I only brought up the myth to help explain a POSSIBLE reason for sacrifice in spring. But the myths I stated come from around 200BC not 4000BC and we do have records from then.

I used your argument, simply because you were statements of what made sense. Which I found a bit odd.

This all spun off of a statement that Wicker Man happened on Beltane. And no camp actually agrees when that occurred, we were all just spit balling on that subject.

So Celtic Holidays
October - Samhain - Halloween
December - Yule - Winter Solstice - Yule
February - Imbolic - Candlemas
March - Ostara - Spring Equinox
May - Beltane - May day
June - Litha - Summer Solstice
August - Lammas
September - Mabon - Fall Equinox


Now the harvest festival was Lammas not Samhain. And February is not the dead of winter it is the tail end of it, when you start to see things sprouting.
But seasons are subjective, Celts based their calendars on the movement of the sun and the moon.

Message Edited by TiggerBear on 05-19-2008 07:57 PM

Message Edited by TiggerBear on 05-19-2008 07:58 PM
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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Good Afternoon, JesseBC ---
 
I'm afraid I may have started all this trouble with some contributions I made previously...
I was the one who brought up Beltain, but it was not in relation to the struggle between Light and Darkness.
I referenced my source ( that essay, or expostition ) on "Human Sacrifice in Celtic Culture" - wherein the author of that essay postulated that the Wicker-work set on fire with the animals and humans inside ( that was reported having been seen by
Julius Caesar ) - could have been witnessed by him at Beltain - only in relation to Beltain being held in tribute to the god Belenos ( associated with the Sun & Fire ) ---
 
I heartily agreed with you about the pervasive overall theme in LOTR being one of the contrast between Light and Darkness - perhaps even "the Struggle between Light and Darkness" ...
But I was still only trying to examine "The Dark Side of Prehistoric Paganism"---
 
Also, for my part, I have never felt like it was imperative to "prove", one way or the other, whether or not there was the presence of an "actual religion" in LOTR --- ( In my personal opinion, there is "none" - or at least,
practically none ) ---
 
Ardo Whortleberry
 
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Good Afternoon, Dagor ---
 
This is, I suppose, only a semi - serious observation - but it is not completely friviolous, either...
It has to do with an observation that you made in one of your earlier posts to this Thread:
 
[     "...The Elves ( and even the Valar/Maiar who entered Arda ) like it or not, must wait until all the long ages
           of the universe are spent...The Elves must live through the fading of Middle-earth and see all that they
          once loved so deeply fall into a shabby old age and pass away..."         ]
 
 I have quite often felt this same way about things lately - whenever it might chance that I return to some place for the first time in a long time - and percieve that it does not have that same lustre that I may have recalled looking through the prism of the nostalgia of youth - very often, these places seem to have become very "shabby", indeed -
sometimes all "withered and dried-out looking" ...
I am no Elf, of course - simply an ordinary human being - who I guess must be entering the early stages of
Old Age ( although I have always tended to maintain, albeit inadvertently, a youthful outlook on everything ) -
but, when you put things in that way - it does make me wonder if JRRT was recording an aspect of
common human experience ( of our own short/long lifetimes ) translated into the Elvish Experience?
Or maybe he had no such intention - but that observation of yours really made me thing about those recent experiences/feelings of mine - and, no,
JesseBC, I don't think I'm trying to "Self-Actualize"anything here
( at least, I hope not! )  ---
 
Ardo Whortleberry
    
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
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JesseBC
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

I'm wondering if there are a couple aspects to this that have gone un-clarified and might be contributing to the confusion.

One is that these types of planting, harvest, and fertility festivals weren't unique to the Gaels or to Celtic culture. We're mostly using the familiar Celtic names for them (Beltane, Samhain, etc.), but maybe that's been misleading (though it's those holdovers that likely would have influenced Tolkien).

The other is that there are different, if you will, eras or incarnations of these traditions and maybe we've been intermingling them as we talk about them. There are the origins of these festivals (which are largely shrouded in speculation even amongst scholars), the Christianization of them (Imbolc becomes Candlemas; Samhain becomes All Saints Day; etc.), and then there are the modern neo-Pagan reconstructions of them or some European holdovers (such as Midsummer bonfires, Yule logs, etc.)

I guess that's where my confusion comes in, because I was referring to the ancient origin of these festivals and then you say you were raised on them and, naturally, I'm wondering how that would be possible.

The accuracy of those reconstructions is pretty widely debated and probably beyond the scope of this discussion. Neo-Pagans are never going to agree about that stuff. (For that matter, reconstructionist scholars are never going to agree about it, though there are some basic agreements, such as abandoning the idea that Samhain was the Celtic New Year, for example, since the evidence for that seems to be pretty flimsy).

There are certainly neo-Pagans who claim some kind of unbroken tradition to "the ancient ways." Others are content to view their modern festivals as newer creations based on some knowledge of older ones without detracting from the spiritual meaning they derive from them today.

I can only assume that you're not actually trying to claim you were raised on 4,000 year old rituals that pre-dated written history.

If we continue this discussion, I'll try, in the future, to specify whether I'm referring to ancient times, Christianization times, or modern times. I should have been doing that from the beginning to avoid this kind of confusion because these really are very different things and the available knowledge about them varies accordingly.






TiggerBear wrote:
(sigh)I am not speculating, nor am I deluded.
I was raised on the tales being told and read to me as a child. My family still mixes old English and Celtic in with modern language when talking. I still get invitations that start with "Kin en Kith, gathr cyfranogi am coffi a cacen." " Family and friends, gather to partake for coffee and cake.". Some of us were lucky that when our family left the old world they didn't leave all of it behind.

I can't sight scholarly texts for you, because you're right few if any exist. Oral, history and family traditions non withstanding. I know they were also published in books, but since I do not personally own them(shrug).
But, I am not the only person who was raised with these. Ran into a fellow back in collage who had these told to him as a child as well, and he grew up Boston. Got a Midsummer day party invite(from a woman I'd never spoken to the matter about) with " All hail the glorious Summer King" in the margin border. Woman had ordered that paper especially.

I wasn't countering anything. I may have been ham handedly explaining myself however. Correct, no one is sure what humans believed in the Neolithic period. I only brought up the myth to help explain a POSSIBLE reason for sacrifice in spring. But the myths I stated come from around 200BC not 4000BC and we do have records from then.

I used your argument, simply because you were statements of what made sense. Which I found a bit odd.

This all spun off of a statement that Wicker Man happened on Beltane. And no camp actually agrees when that occurred, we were all just spit balling on that subject.

So Celtic Holidays
October - Samhain - Halloween
December - Yule - Winter Solstice - Yule
February - Imbolic - Candlemas
March - Ostara - Spring Equinox
May - Beltane - May day
June - Litha - Summer Solstice
August - Lammas
September - Mabon - Fall Equinox


Now the harvest festival was Lammas not Samhain. And February is not the dead of winter it is the tail end of it, when you start to see things sprouting.
But seasons are subjective, Celts based their calendars on the movement of the sun and the moon.

Message Edited by TiggerBear on 05-19-2008 07:57 PM

Message Edited by TiggerBear on 05-19-2008 07:58 PM


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TiggerBear
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

JesseBC
I can only assume that you're not actually trying to claim you were raised on 4,000 year old rituals that pre-dated written history.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
(chuckle)No, never.

Firstly, I was only mentioning a myth(that I was raised on) as a possible explanation for spring sacrifice.
Second, Celtic myths mix and evolve. Tying them down to an exact year span is impossible, even among the phd scholars(they tend to disagree heavily within the community).
Third, the myths that I mentioned as I mentioned are from around 200BC. Not 4000BC.
Fourth, Hammurabi's code is oh more than 4000years old.(chuckle)

And MOST OF ALL fifth, come on everyone is really tired of this discussion. Could we possibly just agree to disagree, and get back to the books themselves?
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JesseBC
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Yeah, I've found it a little ironic that, for books supposedly so irreligious (I may be the only hold-out on that by dint of defining "religious" very broadly), this is one of the longest-running threads on the board!





TiggerBear wrote:
JesseBC
I can only assume that you're not actually trying to claim you were raised on 4,000 year old rituals that pre-dated written history.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
(chuckle)No, never.

Firstly, I was only mentioning a myth(that I was raised on) as a possible explanation for spring sacrifice.
Second, Celtic myths mix and evolve. Tying them down to an exact year span is impossible, even among the phd scholars(they tend to disagree heavily within the community).
Third, the myths that I mentioned as I mentioned are from around 200BC. Not 4000BC.
Fourth, Hammurabi's code is oh more than 4000years old.(chuckle)

And MOST OF ALL fifth, come on everyone is really tired of this discussion. Could we possibly just agree to disagree, and get back to the books themselves?


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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Ardo the silly hobbit started this whole argument - and hopefully, Ardo can help bring the curtain down on this whole sideshow he started...
I believe this whole mess began with my conjectures about how Tolkien may have taken Paaganistic elements and turned them into something more "respectable" and "innocent".--
A discussion that belonged better in the "Mythic Origins" Thread. ---
 
Correct me if I am wrong, please, but ---
I think when this Thread all started out, it was supposed to be concerned not only with "Religion" - but also with "Spirituality".
Even if Tolkien was careful not to include allusions to a "formal religion" in [ H ] & LOTR, there is still a lot of room there to explore the "Spirituality" aspect of the stories. --- 
 
And, even as far as formal religion goes - although I would hesitate very much to start assigning what
[ this or that ] in the stories "represents" ( in terms of religious precepts ) - I still think there is room to consider the possibility that some of these aspects could be considered in the light of being "evocative" of those same religious precepts. ---  
 
 Where I would like to see this discussion head from here, if it is to head anywhere, is to go back to the question that was raised as to just what is meant ( or just what did Tolkien mean by it ) by
"A Natural Theology" ? ---
Was Tolkien simply looking for a means to fend off his more critical Christian critics?
Or did he really have something more specific in mind? ---
 
Ardo Whortleberry
 
P.S. - I'm still curious, however, Dagor - did you come up with any more results from your research
concerning Hobbit Holidays and so forth?
 
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
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lorien
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

We seemed to have gotten more on the pagan and mythic aspects of religion here. Maybe we should be heading more in the direction of Tolkien's Roman Catholic religion's possible influence on the story. Though I think the basic problem was that we found everything else but! :smileywink:
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Dagor
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

[ Edited ]

oldBPLstackdenizen wrote:
Good Afternoon, Dagor ---
This is, I suppose, only a semi - serious observation - but it is not completely friviolous, either...
It has to do with an observation that you made in one of your earlier posts to this Thread:
[ "...The Elves ( and even the Valar/Maiar who entered Arda ) like it or not, must wait until all the long ages
of the universe are spent...The Elves must live through the fading of Middle-earth and see all that they
once loved so deeply fall into a shabby old age and pass away..." ]
I have quite often felt this same way about things lately - whenever it might chance that I return to some place for the first time in a long time - and percieve that it does not have that same lustre that I may have recalled looking through the prism of the nostalgia of youth - very often, these places seem to have become very "shabby", indeed -
sometimes all "withered and dried-out looking" ...
I am no Elf, of course - simply an ordinary human being - who I guess must be entering the early stages of
Old Age ( although I have always tended to maintain, albeit inadvertently, a youthful outlook on everything ) -
but, when you put things in that way - it does make me wonder if JRRT was recording an aspect of
common human experience ( of our own short/long lifetimes ) translated into the Elvish Experience?
Or maybe he had no such intention - but that observation of yours really made me thing about those recent experiences/feelings of mine - and, no,
JesseBC, I don't think I'm trying to "Self-Actualize"anything here
( at least, I hope not! ) ---
Ardo Whortleberry





Hullo, Ardo.

Excellent and evocative observations, Ardo. Yeah, I think Tolkien once mentioned that his entire Middle-earth complex really revolved about the entwined concepts of Immortality-death and the passage of Time. In his letters he seems acutely aware of the passage of time and the gradual wasting away of the English countryside (ecological awareness) and the social alterations that were removing forever some of the best aspects of English life. I imagine WW I intensified his feeling that the course of history was a process of "fading," a loss of the once bright-sharp, enthusing memories of his youth, a growing sense of haunted nostalgia. I guess we all tend to fall into a similar mode of thought as we age? Humpf, even this morning's coffee tastes dull, flat, uninspiring -- sigh, I can remember when it was a pure, elevating joy to down that first cup of the day...

Message Edited by Dagor on 05-29-2008 08:27 AM
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JesseBC
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

This is piggy-backing on what Ardo said above as well, but this very fuzziness, this difficulty in pinning down religious influences on LOTR (all the while, so many readers see them) is, in itself, very Catholic.

Setting aside literalist Catholics (largely influenced by fundamentalist Protestantism), Catholicism concerns itself very much with mystery and myth and Grand Story.

The grand, mythic themes of LOTR beg for religious speculation and, even had I not known Tolkien was a Catholic, I wouldn't have surprised to find out he was. The books FEEL very Catholic to me in tone, even though I'd have a hard time pointing to any specific allegory.

I think where we got side-tracked is the Pagan origins of parts of the Catholic liturgy, some of which (like Light vs. Darkness) are so evident in LOTR...and the debate took off from there.

A lot of people see WWI allegory in LOTR too. Apparently, Tolkien hated that, but it's hard not to ask how he wouldn't have been influenced by it.





lorien wrote:
We seemed to have gotten more on the pagan and mythic aspects of religion here. Maybe we should be heading more in the direction of Tolkien's Roman Catholic religion's possible influence on the story. Though I think the basic problem was that we found everything else but! :smileywink:


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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

[ Edited ]
Re Ardo's: "P.S. - I'm still curious, however, Dagor - did you come up with any more results from your research concerning Hobbit Holidays and so forth?"

Yep. Have a small "paper" in preparation right now, that should detail the main calendric observations of the pagan Saxons, and the day-name associations as well. I'm hoping that the admitted connection JRRT states concerning the Hobbits and the Rohirrim with the Anglo-Saxon cultural model may give us a closer approximation than trying to use the more familiar pagan Celtic model -- which Tolkien says he deliberately avoided. Of course, as JesseBC, Tiggerbear, you and Lorien have already sort of mentioned, many of the Celtic and the Germanic festivals are tied to seasonal activities and so may still be quite similar.

I'm wading through Bede's discourse on the passage of time, and found two academic styled sources on A-S religion that are largely free from 20th and 21st century attempts to create a modern version of neo-paganism: Gale R. Owen "Rites and Religion of the Anglo-Saxons," and Kathleen Herbert's "Looking for the Lost Gods of England."

One definite tie-in that Tolkien himself stresses is the Hobbit custom of celebrating both a Yule and Lithe, with an intercalary day for leap years, the Overlithe which "was a day of special importance." (RotK, Appendix D, p. 384). So, maybe getting an idea of what the Anglo-Saxon pagan celebrations entailed would allow us to "speculate" a bit concerning the elusive Hobbit expression of religiosity?

Message Edited by Dagor on 05-30-2008 09:18 AM
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Re JesseBC's: "The grand, mythic themes of LOTR beg for religious speculation and, even had I not known Tolkien was a Catholic, I wouldn't have surprised to find out he was. The books FEEL very Catholic to me in tone, even though I'd have a hard time pointing to any specific allegory."

This is interesting. I'm trying now to recall my very first reading of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," and I don't believe I ever noticed ANY religious tone or aspect to the work. I found out a few years later that some Christians were claiming the book as a particular Christian work, in fact a Roman Catholic one. I am wondering now if this interpretation comes, not from the book itself, but from JRRT's explanatory Letters? Tolkien seems to have come under some pressure from his circle of friends to associate LotR with Christianity AFTER the book's publication, and he seems to have started this by first simply pointing out that while the book had no overt Christian/ Catholic structures, nothing in it could definitely be said to be "inconsistent" with an RC interpretation IF the readers so wished to view it. Later, as he began his final task of revision, especially as seen in the material for HOME X, "Morgoth's Ring," he seems to have been trying deliberately to "christianize" his entire Middle-earth" corpus, after the fact.

I'm wondering as well if a non-Christian's first read of LotR might allow him/ her to perceive a Buddhist FEEL to the work? My point being that from the bare text of LotR, I think just about any human religion, or philosophical tradition could equally be "read into" the book? I was not Roman Catholic when I first read Tolkien, consequently I had no template of catholicism to fit to the work. At the time, I think I sensed a Stoical Roman-Greek ethical/ philosophical component to LotR rather than a specific Christian-religious one. But of course, I was reading Epictetus' "Enchiridion" at that moment...

Maybe JRRT's religious ambiguity secures a wider audience for his works, and had he forced LotR into a definite Christian RC mold, it might not have succeeded as one of the most widely read books?
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lorien
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

[ Edited ]
Dagor wrote:
I'm wondering as well if a non-Christian's first read of LotR might allow him/ her to perceive a Buddhist FEEL to the work? My point being that from the bare text of LotR, I think just about any human religion, or philosophical tradition could equally be "read into" the book?
--------------------------

Actually, I noticed that there seemed to be more of a Buddhist feel to the books than anything else, and I'm not Buddhist. But I never came across any discussion of it or any indication that Tolkien had any interest in Buddhism. I think the thing that stuck out the most was the reincarnation idea. Among the Dwarves this certainly existed with Durin being regularly reincarnated. I'm not sure if Gandalf's return is more resurrection or reincarnation. He comes back in the same body but his memory of his prior life (or lives) seems a bit faulty. The fact that Men were given the "gift" of mortality whereas they could quit the corporal world while the elves were "doomed" to live until the end of time also seems Buddhist. And also if they died in battle elves were given the choice of being reborn again. I think this might have been the case of Glorfindel. It seems almost Bodhisattva like.

The general lack of a central deity and any religious ritual also seems more Buddhist. And I think something could be made of the fact that there are moral precepts but no theology. I think it would be far easier to make a case for Buddhism than Christianity.

I believe there was a lot on all of this in the Athrabeth (HOME Morgoth's Ring, pp 303-366). I should go back and reread that. This is the closest thing to a theological/philosophical discussion that I recall seeing in Tolkien's works and I don't remember even that seeming very "Christian". This fascinating essay really deserves some discussion.

P.S. I just noticed we had some discussion of the Athrabeth on page 2 of this thread.

Message Edited by lorien on 05-30-2008 12:44 PM
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TiggerBear
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Kathleen Herbert's "Looking for the Lost Gods of England." I highly recommend it, wrote a paper using it myself.
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JesseBC
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Considering I've never read Letters (indeed I've read very little commentary on Tolkien at all), that couldn't possibly account for my impressions.

But I'm realizing that ideas or questions are unwelcome on this board unless they're strictly on-message.

So, have it your way: Only a Bible-thumping cretin could possibly see anything religious or spiritual in LOTR.

Will it satisfy everyone if I just smile, nod, and join the echo chamber?

(Look how helpful I am! I've even conveniently provided a few phrases to be thrown around sarcastically, with the nudge, chuckle, and liberal use of scare-quotes to let me know what a pain in the ass I am!)





Dagor wrote:
Re JesseBC's: "The grand, mythic themes of LOTR beg for religious speculation and, even had I not known Tolkien was a Catholic, I wouldn't have surprised to find out he was. The books FEEL very Catholic to me in tone, even though I'd have a hard time pointing to any specific allegory."

This is interesting. I'm trying now to recall my very first reading of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," and I don't believe I ever noticed ANY religious tone or aspect to the work. I found out a few years later that some Christians were claiming the book as a particular Christian work, in fact a Roman Catholic one. I am wondering now if this interpretation comes, not from the book itself, but from JRRT's explanatory Letters? Tolkien seems to have come under some pressure from his circle of friends to associate LotR with Christianity AFTER the book's publication, and he seems to have started this by first simply pointing out that while the book had no overt Christian/ Catholic structures, nothing in it could definitely be said to be "inconsistent" with an RC interpretation IF the readers so wished to view it. Later, as he began his final task of revision, especially as seen in the material for HOME X, "Morgoth's Ring," he seems to have been trying deliberately to "christianize" his entire Middle-earth" corpus, after the fact.

I'm wondering as well if a non-Christian's first read of LotR might allow him/ her to perceive a Buddhist FEEL to the work? My point being that from the bare text of LotR, I think just about any human religion, or philosophical tradition could equally be "read into" the book? I was not Roman Catholic when I first read Tolkien, consequently I had no template of catholicism to fit to the work. At the time, I think I sensed a Stoical Roman-Greek ethical/ philosophical component to LotR rather than a specific Christian-religious one. But of course, I was reading Epictetus' "Enchiridion" at that moment...

Maybe JRRT's religious ambiguity secures a wider audience for his works, and had he forced LotR into a definite Christian RC mold, it might not have succeeded as one of the most widely read books?


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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Hello, JesseBC ---
 
For my part, I am greatly saddened to see you strike such a defensive ( even angry ) pose in response to other's responses to the ideas you had brought up before...
 
Nobody ever said this discussion was over, finished, done, kaput - with no more room for further argument or consideration...
 
I know Dagor has some very strong opinions on this and other matters, and sometimes it almost seems like he falls into that "Speech and Debate Team" mode of presenting his arguments  ( when he does feel strongly about something ) - but there are others reading and contributing to this Thread, and we all have our own individual outlooks and opinions - perhaps, the "Majority Opinion" may tend to lean towards a certain "direction" sometimes, or some of us might tend to "nod our heads in agreement" with a well-stated, convincing argument - but that does not mean we have all stopped thinking, or have nothing left to say on the
matter....
 
I have been thinking about returning to this Thread for a while, now... I really felt like I had just a few thoughts to add to this discussion...
I had also felt excited to see there was a new post here ( by you ) - and I had looked forward to seeing what new thoughts you might added to your previous thoughts... I was truly interested in seeing what else you had to say on this topic...
 
Instead, all I found was your bitter "lashing-out"...
Please, please, we are not "ganging up on you" or "laughing at you" or even "nudging each other and chuckling among ourselves when you offer up an idea"  ( in any way, shape or form - none, at least, that I am aware of )...
 
Most Respectfully Yours,
Ardo Whortleberry
 
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
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Ardo Whortleberry
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Hello, Everyone ---
 
This is just going to be a brief foray into this subject again, for me, with just the gist of some thoughts that have been hovering about in the back of my mind - I reserve the right to further amend, edit and otherwise clarify ( or even muddle up ) these thoughts at a later date...
 
As I know I have mentioned before, I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition ( although perhaps exposed to too much "secularism" by going through the Public School System instead of through the Parochial School System? But then, it was difficult not to be exposed to all that "secularism" anyway - simply by virtue of being constantly bombarded with all that "Popular Culture" everywhere you turned - TV, Radio, the Movies,
cereal boxes etcetera )...
Perhaps it is only because I was just too young at the time, but I did not discern any particular "religious overtones or undertones" to [ H ] & LOTR when I first read them - or for that matter, in the many of my
re-readings for years to come...
That is not to say that it follows that:  this means there never was any of these religious or spiritual elements in the stories to begin with - merely that it mostly all went over my head ( or under my radar ) all those times...
I would even say that were times when reading the stories was like a "religious experience" for me - or, at least, put me in a kind of ecstatic, transcendental state of rapture ... ( Tolkien, I assume, might have frowned upon me, if he knew I was taking his stories so seriously ) ...
but I still did not "attach" that "correlation"
between my joyous "transcendence experiences" and what I thought of as the formal idea of "Real Religion"
or indeed, what I had been brought up to believe was the "Official Truth" - my Catholic understanding of
everything..
 
Ardo
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

A Continuation of My Meandering Thoughts...
 
When I found out that Tolkien was Roman Catholic, it mainly left me feeling slightly smug - with a sense of "ethnic pride" [ if you will allow Catholicism as being a kind of "ethnicity"! ] - I also brought this up to
my much-more-devout-than-I-could-ever-be Uncle  [ and I do not mean that sarcastically - but in total seriousness ] - who had dismissed Tolkien as being "nonsense"-
in hopes that he might now see that Tolkien wasn't at all "bad" - but instead,
that he was ( and his books were ) really "alright"...
 
On down the line aways, I also found it intriguing, when I learned  that Catholics in England, although not really persecuted,  were definitely a minority, and even looked upon as something of an oddity, or perhaps not totally "respectable" - to be viewed with some suspicion, even - definitely, a little bit on the "outside" of things, at any rate...
At one point, I had read how C.S. Lewis had been warned by his friends and associates not to become involved with that "Romanist" [ or some such similar term ] - J.R.R. Tolkien - but that he had ignored their advice - and that the two became fast friends, anyway - alhough, as I have now only recently come to find out, Tolkien and Lewis may have still continued to argue about theological concerns...
 
Ardo
 
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
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Registered: ‎12-19-2007
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

A Very Good Afternoon To All...
 
Actually, I was just about to send in [ in the wee small hours - on the edge of day ] the last installment in my tiny little trilogy of meanderings here, when our computer started going all goofy on me - and I had to shut it all down... I'm going to attempt to recall the rest of my thoughts and put them down here...
 
A long time ago - in a Thread far, far away... I said that I thought perhaps Tolkien's own religious beliefs sort of "...glimmered through the fabric of the stories..."
...and I think that sums up how I really feel about everything here...
It was just that "fabric" ( with all its interwoven intricacies, its many layers of images, settings, geography, history, the characters, various creatures -all of what Tolkien "Sub-Created" in his own imagined world )
always struck me as having been woven from those Pagan, Pre-Christian "sources" - those Ancient myths and legends ( which, years after my first readings of the stories, I found out were "based" on what to date has remained with us of the legends of Scandanavia, that Norse Mythology - those Icelandic Sagas - that Finnish "Kalavela" - and perhaps with those Celtic/Irish/Welsh/Scottish stories, "Beowulf" - etcetera... )...
 
So, maybe my "problem" with not "seeing" the religious aspects or spiritual aspects of the stories was caused by my only tending to have my gaze caught ( and held ) by the surface qualities of that same fabric -  taking it all on its "face value" ...
 
Ardo 
    
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry