View Single Post
Old 06-06-2018, 03:47 PM   #2
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
Huinesoron's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The Fair City of Nargothrond
Posts: 572
Huinesoron is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Flipping that around - what information do you have? I know Tolkien was an old-school Catholic, and I remember that he objected to the discarding of the Latin rites (being raised by a priest will do that to you!). And obviously the Silm has a lot of resonances with Genesis.

Middle-earth is much older than Bishop Usher's 6000 years, obviously; there's about that much time between the rising of the Sun and the fall of Sauron, and I believe Tolkien claimed the Fourth Age began six thousand years before the present. So that's 12K back to the awakening of Men, plus however long before that. So, if we assume Tolkien was writing something that would fit in with his idea of real history, he'd have to accept a fair bit of age in there.

But besides that... what have you got? I'm assuming there's no smoking gun, no Letter saying 'As you know, I believe the Earth to have begun in this manner...', but surely your readings have turned up some relevant quotes to share with the Downs.


Edit: Letters #96 seems to be the most relevant. Talking to Christopher in 1945, Tolkien makes the following points:

-'As for Eden, I think most Christians... have been rather bustled and hustled... by the self-styled scientists, and they've sort of tucked Genesis into a lumber-room of their mind as not very fashionable furniture...'
-That this rejection loses the beauty of the whole story even simply 'as a story'.
-That Genesis is a 'myth', in that it '... has not... historicity of the same kind as the NT, which are virtually contemporary documents, while Genesis is separated by we do not know how many sad exiled generations from the Fall...'
-'... but certainly there was an Eden on this very unhappy earth.'
-That the past existence of Eden is proven by: 'the nobler part of the human mind is filled with the thoughts of... peace and goodwill, and with the thought of its loss.'

My feeling from this is that Tolkien views the Bible as an account of the myths of ancient Judea (as we might expect from a man whose day job was myths and legends!), but believes that those myths are based on a lost 'true' Eden. Which is very much the mindset that led to the Book of Lost Tales, come to think of it - and to Frodo's 'original,' of Hey Diddle Diddle.


Last edited by Huinesoron; 06-06-2018 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Did some reading.
Huinesoron is offline   Reply With Quote