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Old 12-08-2017, 08:41 AM   #1
Balfrog
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Thirty silver pennies in a fundamentally religious and Catholic work

The third part of Ms. Seth's series: 'Angel and Demon, Gospel and Fairy-story' is now released.


https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres...fairy-story-3/


It focuses on Christian symbolism she claims is present in the chapters including Bombadil as well as peripheral ones. What is emphasized is Tolkien's technique. One or two of the religious ideas she presents - I've seen over the years very briefly touched upon. In summarizing and high-lighting eight different examples – one might conclude there's something to it all. The Judas Iscariot and 30 silver pieces analogy certainly seems hard to summarily dismiss.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:41 PM   #2
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Thirty silver pennies in a fundamentally religious and Catholic work

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Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
The third part of Ms. Seth's series: 'Angel and Demon, Gospel and Fairy-story' is now released.
https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres...fairy-story-3/


It focuses on Christian symbolism she claims is present in the chapters including Bombadil as well as peripheral ones. What is emphasized is Tolkien's technique. One or two of the religious ideas she presents - I've seen over the years very briefly touched upon. In summarizing and high-lighting eight different examples – one might conclude there's something to it all. The Judas Iscariot and 30 silver pieces analogy certainly seems hard to summarily dismiss.
Seems to me either too far-fetched, or mistaking the things of common life for specifically Christian allusions. It seems to me that the thirty silver pennies are mentioned for their value to the plot, and for that alone. They could as easily have been prompted by St Matthew’s source, Zechariah 11.12, as by St Matthew. An allusion to the Gospel passage would make no sense, as the article all but admits, since the function of the money in TLOTR is very different from that of the money in St Matthew. Why recall the betrayal of Christ, when the supposedly analogous passage in TLOTR is not a betrayal scene, but simply an instance of driving a hard bargain ? If there is an analogy, it is a broken one.

I hope no-one is going to suggest that the darkness of Moria is a Tolkienisation of the “valley of the shadow of death” in Psalm 23 ! Moria, of course, looks like the Moriah of Gen. 22 - in the Challoner Bible with which Tolkien would presumably have been familiar, it is spelt as Moria. But the seeming allusion can be accounted for by the Elvish origins of the word Moria - no Biblical allusion is required.

Her mode of interpretation has the horrible effect of making Tolkien into a heavy-handed Bible-thumper, constantly obtruding the Christianness of Christian symbolism on his readers. I can’t believe Tolkien would be guilty of such an elementary lack of artistic tact.

When someone takes a bite of bread and a swig of wine, they are not celebrating the Eucharist; they are having some food and drink to restore their strength. The Eucharist takes up bread and wine, because these are the common things of life which people eat. She seems to be of the school that sees the Eucharist in lembas, rather than realising that lembas is bread because it is food, not because it is intended to be a reference to the Eucharist.

Tolkien does use the Bible, but far more subtly. The account of the final fall of Sauron contains clear echoes of the description of the Downfall of Numenor. The description of the “falling hills” that imprison the host of the Numenoreans is significant for at least two reasons:
1. it is a judgement scene
2. it contains, designedly or not, echoes of the judgement scene in Revelation 6.12-17. This is short enough to quote in full:

“12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?””

Compare 6.13 “a great wind” with “a great wind took them” [the ships of the Faithful].

6.14b sounds like the Meneltarma, and the Island.

6.15-16a sounds like the likely reaction of Ar-Pharazon and his host,

The two references to wrath, given the description of the eagle-like clouds over Numenor, and bearing in mind the War of Wrath against an even greater tyrant than Ar- Pharazon, sound very appropriate to the Downfall.

The reference to the Throne in v. 16 recalls both Valandil’s words to Elendil about “our kinsman on the throne”, and, the reference in the Oath of Cirion to the thrones of the Valar. One of the set features of the Valar is that they are enthroned.

This kind of unobtrusive allusiveness to the Bible and its themes is, I suspect, closer to how Tolkien drew upon it. Such touches are understated, artistically tactful, easy to miss, and they are not limited to the Bible. Tolkien could hardly have been unaware of the legends of kings and heroes - Arthur, Finn mac Cool and the Fianna, Frederick Barbarossa - who (1) were sleeping until the time of their country’s greatest need, when they would awake, and rescue it; (2) were in the meantime removed from the normal sequence of historical events. Barbarossa (who in actuality was drowned) is said to sleep in the Kyffhaeuser mountains; Arthur, like Sceaf Scylding (of whom Tolkien certainly knew, from Beowulf and from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle), departs over the water; and a Scottish story tells of how a fisherman, adrift in the mist, found an island where there was a cave, in which the Fianna slept. The motif of rulers who come or depart by some sort of vessel upon the water is very widespread, and has been told of Perseus, Horus, Sargon of Akkad, Moses, Semiramis, Arthur, and others. This motif is often used as a means of saying that there is something unearthly about their origin or passing.

IMHO, when Tolkien called TLOTR “a fundamentally Catholic work”, he was referring not to elements of the plot, but to the animating spirit of the tale. Its morality is recognisably Catholic, and its doctrine of good and being is Catholic. It is made clear that one must not do evil for a good end: this is the teaching of St Paul, and a Catholic moral principle. Aragorn is, for all practical purposes, a model Catholic monarch: a formidable warrior, just, wise, merciful, humble, ready to give credit to others, prudent, decisive, ready to undertake whatever labours are needed, a healer, very patient. And he is no prig. But he is interesting not just as a Catholic king in all but name, but also because he is essentially “the last of the Numenoreans”; he is like his ancestors before the coming of the Shadow. He embodies traits that are Christian, and they are also the stuff of myth and legend.

So to look only to the Bible as a source of things in TLOTR, is to risk overlooking other sources.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:19 AM   #3
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The fact that 'thirty pieces of silver' is such an obvious source for the 30 silver pennies led me to start looking for other possible explanations (what can I say? I'm contrary). The main possibility I found is that in Britain's pre-decimal currency - the one Tolkien would have been using - thirty pennies, or two and a half shillings, makes a half-crown. Not only is the half-crown a silver coin in its own right; it's also a wonderfully evocative name. The two things the Hobbits acquire in Bree are a half-crown, and Aragorn, the future king. 'The crownless again shall be king' and all that.

More precisely, at that time Aragorn is the de jure king of Arnor - but not yet of Gondor. So, in fact, he only has half of his own metaphorical crown...

Oh, they also pick up a pony called Bill. If we're going all-out on this, we can note that 'Pony' is Cockney rhyming slang for £25, keeping the money theme; and who can forget that the first numbered King of England was named William...?

(I don't think it's worth throwing myself entirely down the rabbithole and trying to connect Aragorn to that £25 value; that would just be ludicrous.)

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Old 01-14-2018, 01:41 PM   #4
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I will take your version H!

The gospel reference just doesn't fit

His careful and usually tasteful invocation of various strands of modern theology is for me a subject of most delicate approaches possible.
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Old 01-14-2018, 03:03 PM   #5
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Huinesoron


"The fact that 'thirty pieces of silver' is such an obvious source for the 30 silver pennies led me to start looking for other possible explanations (what can I say? I'm contrary)."

Yes – now the author points it out – it sounds obvious. But I haven't see any published books by the so called 'experts' that have mentioned it before. Nor do I see anything much on the forums out there. Indeed, hardly anything at all. So maybe not so obvious???

By the way - love the way you think. Except Aragorn was referred to as “crownless” not 'half-a-crownless'. Which would lead me to deduce that Tolkien thought the matter was binary – i.e either fully a King or fully not.


lindil

" I will take your version H!

The gospel reference just doesn't fit."



Really - that seems so definitive!
Love to see an explanation.


Saurondil


"Seems to me either too far-fetched, or mistaking the things of common life for specifically Christian allusions."



I must say that first sentence puts me off reading the rest of your post – even though by its length – I know you put some decent effort in.

So really???
Thirty silver pennies and its connection biblically – is something Tolkien would have been unaware of???

How's about a mixture of subtle and not so subtle symbolic embedments?
Is that beyond belief - or do we all know Tolkien so well that we can definitively say one way or the other?


When it comes to:

“… the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.”
– The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #142

Then the 30 silver pennies it's either a logical fit or not.
I'm not a rocket-scientist – but I don't think I need to be one to arrive at a rational conclusion.



lindil, Huinesoron, Saurondil


I think its worthwhile reading Ms. Seth's post again - and carefully. The insertion of specific amounts of coinage along with type - is extremely rare in TLotR. Just on that basis one can reasonably deduce there was something behind it.
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Old 01-28-2018, 04:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Huinesoron


"The fact that 'thirty pieces of silver' is such an obvious source for the 30 silver pennies led me to start looking for other possible explanations (what can I say? I'm contrary)."

Yes – now the author points it out – it sounds obvious. But I haven't see any published books by the so called 'experts' that have mentioned it before. Nor do I see anything much on the forums out there. Indeed, hardly anything at all. So maybe not so obvious???

By the way - love the way you think. Except Aragorn was referred to as “crownless” not 'half-a-crownless'. Which would lead me to deduce that Tolkien thought the matter was binary – i.e either fully a King or fully not.


lindil

" I will take your version H!

The gospel reference just doesn't fit."



Really - that seems so definitive!
Love to see an explanation.


Saurondil


"Seems to me either too far-fetched, or mistaking the things of common life for specifically Christian allusions."


I must say that first sentence puts me off reading the rest of your post – even though by its length – I know you put some decent effort in.
Sorry, not understood.
Quote:

So really???
Thirty silver pennies and its connection biblically – is something Tolkien would have been unaware of???
I can’t see anything in my post that means that.
Quote:

How's about a mixture of subtle and not so subtle symbolic embedments?
Is that beyond belief - or do we all know Tolkien so well that we can definitively say one way or the other?

When it comes to:

“… the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.”
– The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #142

Then the 30 silver pennies it's either a logical fit or not.
I'm not a rocket-scientist – but I don't think I need to be one to arrive at a rational conclusion.
STM the thirty silver pennies owe their description to the needs of the story, and to nothing beyond that. They fit logically where they are found, but that is no reason to see any deeper significance in them. If, OTOH, Tolkien himself said they had some further significance, that would change matters entirely. But I have never heard of any such utterance by him.

That they are thirty, and silver, and pennies, is explicable by the needs of the story, without need of any far-fetched allegorising. Tolkien’s distaste for allegory is a matter of record, and the allegory suggested would not work properly - given Tolkien’s “artistic tact”, I can’t believe he would perpetrate such a clumsy and inexpert allegory. IMHO, looking for Christ-figures, Passion-analogies, analogies to the Eucharist, and that sort of thing, is misguided and back to front, and turns what was an endlessly impressive story into a clumsy, heavy-handed, and dishonest attempt at proselytising. Mount Doom is not Calvary - it is a live volcano, and as such, of practical use to Sauron. As for “way-bread” being viaticum, it resembles in name, but hardly in use.

Such faults are best left to products - stories, is too complimentary - like the Left Behind series. One need be no expert or mind-reader to know that Tolkien wrote far better than that.

lindil is right: the Gospel reference doesn’t fit. As for Balfrog’s suggestions - well spotted, and very amusing
Quote:


lindil, Huinesoron, Saurondil


I think its worthwhile reading Ms. Seth's post again - and carefully. The insertion of specific amounts of coinage along with type - is extremely rare in TLotR. Just on that basis one can reasonably deduce there was something behind it.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:10 PM   #7
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For what it's worth, in The Return of the Shadow (HOME), an early draft of the scene where Merry is compensated for his ponies' loss has him receiving twenty silver pennies, 'less the cost of their food and lodging'. The price of the ragged beast bought in Bree was six.

That as opposed to LOTR, where Ferny's price was twelve, and Butterbur added another eighteen.

If thirty was really intended by Tolkien to mean something from the start, why the change?
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
For what it's worth, in The Return of the Shadow (HOME), an early draft of the scene where Merry is compensated for his ponies' loss has him receiving twenty silver pennies, 'less the cost of their food and lodging'. The price of the ragged beast bought in Bree was six.

That as opposed to LOTR, where Ferny's price was twelve, and Butterbur added another eighteen.

If thirty was really intended by Tolkien to mean something from the start, why the change?
Exodus 21:32 If the ox gores a slave, male or female, its owner will pay the price -- thirty shekels -- to their master, and the ox will be stoned.

the pony Bill was a slave, wretched and ill-used. It is only natural that Samwise "stoned" the ox Bill Ferny with a well-thrown apple.

One can make any asinine allegory or allusion one wishes. If we're going to lift biblical passages and throw them against a wall to make them stick -- and it's entirely reasonable to think that Tolkien knew this passage -- it would seem that this line from Exodus is far better suited to make such an allusion, and more than likely just as wrong.
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:44 AM   #9
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One can make any asinine allegory or allusion one wishes. If we're going to lift biblical passages and throw them against a wall to make them stick -- and it's entirely reasonable to think that Tolkien knew this passage -- it would seem that this line from Exodus is far better suited to make such an allusion, and more than likely just as wrong.
Indeed. Not every little detail Tolkien added has to have some special significance. After all, J.K. Rowling came along much later.
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Old 02-16-2018, 07:55 PM   #10
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Can you tell me why the number '30' and 'silver coins' meets the “need of the story”? Why was it so essential to have these specific details in the transaction?

As for allegory and symbolism, the overlap can be somewhat blurry. There is no dispute that Tolkien stated:

“The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work” - Letter #142

And that he embedded aspects of Christianity into the story:

the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism” - Letter #142

When it comes to viaticum, it sounds like you're either unaware of Letter #200 or prefer to ignore Tolkien's stated two-fold function:

In the book lembas has two functions. It is a 'machine' or device for making credible the long marches with little provision, in a world in which as I have said 'miles are miles'. But that is relatively unimportant. It also has a much larger significance, of what one might hesitatingly call a 'religious' kind.- Letter #200

Note which one of the two functions is by far the more important to Tolkien. If a physical item such as waybread has been inserted with the intention of having symbolic Christian significance – one should not be so quick and eager to dismiss other items within the tale being religiously symbolic too. Given how fundamental 30 silver coins are to the Christian story, a religious meaning behind their inclusion becomes a very strong possibility.

It would be a brave person to believe and actively air that Tolkien knew nothing about the monetary aspect of the Judas betrayal. And so as he almost certainly did – the only question needed to be asked – is was he aware of it at the point of writing such details into TLotR?

Good or low probability?

Given the precedence Tolkien himself set in revealing the dual functions of Elven waybread - to call the '30 pieces of silver' analogy made by Ms. Seth as 'far-fetched' is simply ludicrous.



Inziladun

As I've said before – Tolkien was groping for a plot. Maybe this particular idea of Christian symbolism came to him after the said draft.
After all there was a 'deliberate' change to 30 pieces of silver. Maybe that's the way one should look at it!



Morthoron

Yes one can certainly make up asinine connections with the episode at Bree:

Per your presented excerpt in relation to similarities in TLotR. In the Bree passages there is/are:

No stones thrown,
No stoning,
No goring,
No ox,
Thus no stoning of an ox or goring by an ox.
Yes, there is a quantity of 'thirty' and coinage. Only two items show similarity to your quoted biblical extract!

Per Ms. Seth's presented biblical matching in relation to similarities in TLotR. In the Bree passages there is/are:

A theme of betrayal,
A quantity of thirty,
Coins,
Silver ones at that.

Thus four items show similarity to the Judas affair.
On that basis Ms. Seth's argument is stronger.

The acclaimed Mark Hooker in a Tolkienian Mathomium suggests “three points of tangence is the threshold at which coincidence begins to give way to a demonstrable relationship”.

It seems you lack an ability to differentiate and objectively assess the strength of presented evidence. Moreover the considerable weight of the combined evidence (not just the 30 pieces of silver) in Ms. Seth's essay is ignored on your part. She points at least eight closely spaced TLotR points of tangence to a Christian theme and limits herself, at that, to the New Testament. Maybe you should read the essay again! And carefully digest it!
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:15 PM   #11
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Yes one can certainly make up asinine connections with the episode at Bree:
Unfortunately, you are utterly incapable of seeing the asininity, which makes this all the more hilariously ironic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Per Ms. Seth's presented biblical matching in relation to similarities in TLotR. In the Bree passages there is/are:

A theme of betrayal,
A quantity of thirty,
Coins,
Silver ones at that.

Thus four items show similarity to the Judas affair.
On that basis Ms. Seth's argument is stronger.

The acclaimed Mark Hooker in a Tolkienian Mathomium suggests “three points of tangence is the threshold at which coincidence begins to give way to a demonstrable relationship”.
Your mathematics is as flawed as Seth's theory. How does one make four points out of two points, and only one of these may be construed, in a twisted pretzel logic, as relevant?

Thirty silver coins cannot be dissected into three points, my dear, that is as fallacious as it is inane. Thirty silver pieces is the point: not thirty, and coins and silver. If it were thirty of any other item, or if it were brass and not silver, your silly Seth wouldn't be typing out her click bait (and you then would not be acting as her senseless cipher).

Seth has decided to create a false narrative based on the idea of thirty silver pennies. But let's tweak the other aspect of her dumb dialogue: the idea of betrayal. In the Gospels, Judas, an apostle and ally of Jesus, was given 30 pieces of silver by the priests to betray Jesus. It was blood money.

The transaction for Bill the Pony was exactly 12 silver pennies (3 times the animal's worth). That is the amount given by the Hobbits to Bill Ferny, who was certainly not an ally or friend of the Hobbits and was looked upon with distrust (he probably had something to do with the theft of the Hobbits' steeds, but there was no direct proof). That he was an actual enemy later proved the Hobbit's distrust.

Butterbur, feeling sorry for the loss of the Hobbits' ponies out of his stables, gave the Hobbits an additional 18 pence for their loss. This was an act of repentance, of pity, from a friendly innkeeper.

So, let's take stock of what we have here: 1) there was no betrayal, as Ferny was an active agent of the enemy who greedily sold a rundown pony to the Hobbits for a profit, and 2) there were two transactions, the first a 12 penny profit from an enemy, and second an 18 penny repayment by a sympathetic innkeeper.

Therefore, Seth's thirty pieces of silver is aborted in utero. The idea is simply wrong on all counts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Per your presented excerpt in relation to similarities in TLotR. In the Bree passages there is/are:

No stones thrown,
No stoning,
No goring,
No ox,
Thus no stoning of an ox or goring by an ox.
Yes, there is a quantity of 'thirty' and coinage. Only two items show similarity to your quoted biblical extract!
If, like you, I were to subvert the "acclaimed" Mark Hooker's (although I am wondering at what point the term 'acclaimed' can be affixed to Mr. Hooker) maxim that “three points of tangence is the threshold at which coincidence begins to give way to a demonstrable relationship”, I would have more points than you:

30 (the magic number)
Shekels (a coin)
Silver (what Shekels were comprised of)
An ox (Bill Ferny -- "ox" in the pejorative meaning an "oaf", a "layabout")
Stoning (Samwise does indeed 'stone' Ferny with an apple upside the head)
Slave (poor Bill the pony)
Gore (to shed blood by violence, in this case Ferny's ill-use and beating of the pony)

That's seven peerless points to your fallacious four, is it not? So by your addled addition, I win. Even when I brought this passage up in jest:

Quote:
Exodus 21:32 If the ox gores a slave, male or female, its owner will pay the price -- thirty shekels -- to their master, and the ox will be stoned.
IF Tolkien were allegorizing (which is Captain Ahab Seth's Moby Dick floating throughout Tolkien's text), I would take into account Tolkien's wonderful sense of humor. The act of "stoning" Ferny with a well-thrown apple, for instance, or that Ferny is a lazy "ox" living in a dirty stable.

But it's all a matter of slinging crap against a wall and seeing what sticks. Make up enough false equivalencies and one has one big, stinking pile of fallacies.
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Thirty silver coins cannot be dissected into three points, my dear, that is as fallacious as it is inane. Thirty silver pieces is the point: not thirty, and coins and silver. If it were thirty of any other item, or if it were brass and not silver, your silly Seth wouldn't be typing out her click bait (and you then would not be acting as her senseless cipher).
This is the key point, I think. While thirty pieces of silver are certainly suggestive, by themselves they are only a single point. Balin's folk came to Moria thirty years before the Fellowship arrived, looking (in part) for true-silver, and they ended up dying (just like Judas!), but because 'thirty' and 'silver' aren't connected to coins, we don't draw that connection. It's only because Butterbur is out the significant thirty pieces of silver that we look for anything else... and to be honest, it isn't there.

Yes, it is possible, as Ms. Seth has done, to pick out points of vague congruence between the events of Michaelmas Day and the Gospels. But... well, here's the list, for those who have difficulty reading the frankly bizarre format of her article:

a) 'Thirty pieces of silver', in connection with a theme of betrayal.
b) "The drink in their drinking-bowls seemed to be clear cold water, yet it went to their hearts like wine" - connected to the miracle of water into wine.
c) Bombadil's opening of the barrow is connected with Jesus' resurrection of Lazarus, including a link between the sound of stones falling, and Jesus rolling away a stone.
d) A weird confluence of two points:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms. Seth
Jesus on numerous occasions exorcising unclean spirits, echoed by the departure of a spirit which appears to have cohabited with Merry:

“ ‘… Ah! the spear in my heart! … What am I saying? …’ ”.
– The Fellowship of the Ring, Fog on the Barrow-downs

The Roman soldiers’ spear to check for Jesus’ death while nailed to the Cross is also reputed to have penetrated through to this vital organ.
e) Tom mentions the words 'out of deep water', evoking baptism.
f) Tom brings Goldberry lilies; images of the Annunciation often include lilies (not always held by Michael, though Ms. Seth doesn't note this).
g) Two cocks crowing, not on Michaelmas, connecting with a third one in RotK to evoke Peter's rejection of Jesus.
h) The words 'the crownless again shall be king' evoking Christ's resurrection.

Of these, I feel b, d, e, g, and h can pretty much be rejected out of hand. The idea of 'pure drink which acts like heady wine' sounds more like Norse mythology than Christian; Bombadil doesn't even exorcise Merry, and spears are a ridiculously common weapon to be calling out as a Biblical parallel; baptism has never been about being lost in the water; the cock-crows don't take place on the relevant day, and the RotK one has no connection to Denethor's actions (and at any rate symbolises the dawn of a new day and the breaking of the Dark); and Jesus was both (in Catholic theology) still King while dead, and literally wearing a crown when he died.

The 'thirty silver pennies' has been debated extensively. The breaking of the barrow could be Gospel-inspired - I would look more at Jairus' daughter, who was specifically raised as if from sleep - though the stone connection is weak (it's a barrow, of course there's stone). The lilies... yeah, lilies are a symbol of Mary. But they're also the only common flower that grows in the water, and Goldberry the River-Daughter predates LotR; you don't have to search for symbolism when there's a very obvious logical reason for its presence.

The real point is that any effort to analyse Ms. Seth's list is pointless, because it is mind-numbingly easy to take two incredibly detailed books - LotR and the Bible - and find points of congruence between parts of them. You could 'prove' that Gollum has deep and meaningful connections to King Solomon:

a) He has two personalities and is accused of child-murder, linking straight to the famous story about cutting babies in half
b) He is linked to a friendship as close as brotherhood (Frodo and Sam), like Solomon is linked to that of David and Jonathan (indeed, we could cast Smeagol as Frodo's symbolic 'child', as Solomon is David's)
c) He 'pays court' to a powerful female figure (Shelob), like Solomon does the Queen of Sheba (and look how close those two names are!)
d) He is connected to a betrayal in an aquatic context (his murder of Deagol), which Solomon is also (his mother is Bathsheba, who David desired after seeing her bathing)
e) He is an excellent guide (when he wants to be), so could be said to be 'wise' - and the Wisdom of Solomon is legendary.
f) His actions lead to his companions being separated (when Frodo is taken prisoner), just as Solomon's ultimately led to the breaking of the Kingdom of Israel.

And that's all off the top of my head, using an example I came up with without even thinking about it! Are we to suppose that Tolkien used Gollum as a proxy for Solomon, then? Not in the least!

Yes, J.R.R. Tolkien was a fervent Catholic, who grew up in a culture and context saturated with religious imagery, and yes, some of that imagery makes its way into his work. The calling forth of the supposedly-dead; treachery which nearly brings about ruin; hope which returns when all hope seems lost; lilies for innocence and purity; and yes, maybe even thirty pieces of silver. But to claim that that imagery is part of a concerted effort to tell a deeply Biblical narrative is to fall victim to the wildest pareidolia.

hS
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Old 02-24-2018, 01:23 PM   #13
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... fall victim to the wildest pareidolia
I had that once. Nasty business. Turns out smearing the affected area with lard does the trick.
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Old 02-24-2018, 01:46 PM   #14
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I had that once. Nasty business. Turns out smearing the affected area with lard does the trick.
Did the cure cost you thirty silver pennies?
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Old 02-25-2018, 07:16 PM   #15
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I had that once. Nasty business. Turns out smearing the affected area with lard does the trick.
Lard is also a cure for butter burs. Very nettlesome.
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Old 03-17-2018, 10:23 PM   #16
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“Thirty silver pennies cannot be dissected into three points”

Oh really! What an absolutely ludicrous.statement!
Honestly I feel like I'm conversing with a five year old.

Just to let you know - very slowly – so that you can take it in:

There are three individual facts associated to the phrase: 'thirty silver pennies'.
Each fact can have a tangency against it.

Very slowly:

Fact 1: There is the number '30'.

Fact 2: There is a metal called 'silver'

Fact 3: There are the coins that are 'pennies'.

Is that slow enough?
So onward to meaningful comparisons:

Example 1: For the phrase '30 gold coins' – that results in two tangecies against the Biblical tale
Example 2: For the phrase '40 copper coins'– that would result in one tangency.
etc., etc.

The less the number of tangencies – the less of an alluring match. Is that plain enough? Do you get it now?

The reason why this is all so intriguing is that in a very short phrase (in TLotR) – we have three tangencies that match something of great significance in the Biblical story. In other words within the TLotR phrase itself there are three points of tangency. Geometrically when a shape such as a circle touches another shape such as line. The coincident point is known as a 'point of tangency'.

One does not even need to consider separate issues beyond this three word phrase. On its own, 'thirty silver pennies' is intriguing enough!

The fact you are unable to grasp even elementary principles – means I'm wasting my precious time. However I really don't mind – except you're coming across as more and more foolish. Yet I enjoy having a good laugh – because you're spewing stuff that doesn't even make common-sense. It's pure bluster – as is the rest of your post. Please open another thread – and I'll be happy to discuss 'Exodus, the ox and the shekels'.

Because Morthoron, both you (and others) seem to always 'conveniently' side-step the most critical question. Very simply, put forward once again:

Was Tolkien learned enough to understand 30 silver coins was strongly associated to the Christian story?

Just give me an answer: Yes or No?

If he wasn't – then by Godsteeth tell me why and provide some evidence?

If he was - then tell me why he put thirty silver coins into the story and why he decided to leave that in – even after editing?

Let's cut to the chase – and cut out the bilge.






Huinesoron


“This is the key point, I think: While thirty pieces of silver are certainly suggestive, by themselves they are only a single point.”

Please see my response to Morthoron – above.

Weren't the number of tangencies sufficient? Do you want me to add other points of tangency? Such as we are told the full worth of the initial monetary loss, in the end, was put to good use – just like in the biblical tale?

“The 'thirty silver pennies' has been debated extensively.”


I would love to see some of these articles – for my own edification. Can you point to them for me please?

Loved your article on Gollum. It is absolutely true that one can associate anything to anything in a long and detailed story. But Gollum wasn't explicitly pointed out as having an association to King Solomon by Tolkien. If he had been – then some analysis would definitely be warranted.

The point is that Tolkien emphasized the Catholic and religous nature of the work and that had been subsumed into the story. It's up to us to try and understand how he did it and at what points this happened.

Ms. Seth has rightly pointed out, for the chapters involving Bombadil, where Tolkien's underlying religious allusions lie. Most strongly with the '30 silver pennies' and less obviously elsewhere. As for those lesser ones, either they are allusions or they or not or they could be. Ms. Seth's point is that are enough of them to build a case. I would take another careful read if I were you and try to digest the thrust of her essay more rationally.

In any case back to the issue at hand – if Morthoron can't or won't answer me, perhaps you can. In repetition then:

Was Tolkien learned enough to understand 30 silver coins was strongly associated to the Christian story?

Just give me an answer: Yes or No?

If he wasn't – then by Godsteeth tell me why and provide some evidence?

If he was - then tell me why he put thirty silver coins into the story and why he decided to leave it in – even after the edit process?
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Old 03-18-2018, 01:36 AM   #17
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Huinesoron


“This is the key point, I think: While thirty pieces of silver are certainly suggestive, by themselves they are only a single point.”

Please see my response to Morthoron – above.
If Tolkien had written 'thirty pounds', you wouldn't see a connection to the Bible. If he'd written about thirty silver spoons, you wouldn't see a connection to the Bible. If he'd written about nineteen silver pennies, you wouldn't see a connection to the Bible. The three words aren't distinct points which all have an innate Biblical connection - they are a single point which doesn't work at all if broken up.

Quote:
Weren't the number of tangencies sufficient? Do you want me to add other points of tangency? Such as we are told the full worth of the initial monetary loss, in the end, was put to good use – just like in the biblical tale?
You're going to have to explain that if you want it to be believed, because so far as I can see, 12 pennies go to Bill Ferny (not noted as being a good cause), while the rest go to Merry and vanish from the story. Neither payment has an 'in the end' - just the initial outlay. Even if you accept both of those as 'good use', you are still conflating the payment to Judas and the purchase of the field into a single event.

Quote:

“The 'thirty silver pennies' has been debated extensively.”


I would love to see some of these articles – for my own edification. Can you point to them for me please?
Apologies - I meant 'debated extensively in this thread'.

Quote:
Loved your article on Gollum. It is absolutely true that one can associate anything to anything in a long and detailed story. But Gollum wasn't explicitly pointed out as having an association to King Solomon by Tolkien. If he had been – then some analysis would definitely be warranted.

The point is that Tolkien emphasized the Catholic and religous nature of the work and that had been subsumed into the story. It's up to us to try and understand how he did it and at what points this happened.
And where did Tolkien explicitlt point out a connection between Butterbur and Judas? Or do you not think that King Solomon of Israel is a Catholic and religious figure?

Quote:
Ms. Seth has rightly pointed out, for the chapters involving Bombadil, where Tolkien's underlying religious allusions lie. Most strongly with the '30 silver pennies' and less obviously elsewhere. As for those lesser ones, either they are allusions or they or not or they could be. Ms. Seth's point is that are enough of them to build a case. I would take another careful read if I were you and try to digest the thrust of her essay more rationally.
I have read it. I went through and looked at every single purported allusion, and discussed each one individually. The argument you're making here is 'there's no smoke without fire!', and it applies exactly as well to King Gollumon as to the Gospel of Tom (ie, it doesn't).

Quote:
In any case back to the issue at hand – if Morthoron can't or won't answer me, perhaps you can. In repetition then:

Was Tolkien learned enough to understand 30 silver coins was strongly associated to the Christian story?

Just give me an answer: Yes or No?
Yes.

Quote:
If he wasn't – then by Godsteeth tell me why and provide some evidence?

If he was - then tell me why he put thirty silver coins into the story and why he decided to leave it in – even after the edit process?
I'm glad you asked! Because I think I've figured out the answer, and I'd be delighted to share it.

The original values were six and twenty, but that would leave Butterbur dramatically overpaying Merry - although the specifics that Ferny did indeed charge thrice the value is left out, it's still mentioned in the preceding paragraph. That means a pony would be worth 2 pennies, and Butterbur ended up paying Merry for TEN! There's even a note of 'less the cost of their food and lodgings', so he overpaid even more.

When Tolkien came by and decided to specify that Ferny had indeed charged triple, he needed new numbers. Two pennies is ridiculously low for a pony, so he doubled it. That means Ferny would charge 12 pennies, and Butterbur would pay Merry (5×4=) 20 - less two for food and lodgings, that comes to 18.

When he saw that basic maths led to a value of '30 pieces of silver' - or perhaps even 32, from which he subtracted two to make the reference stick - I'm sure Tolkien had a quiet chuckle to himself, and kept it in thereafter. But, taking the original draft into account, it seems highly likely that the reference first appeared by chance, falling out of a basic mathematical function.

hS
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Old 03-18-2018, 12:40 PM   #18
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Morthoron

“Thirty silver pennies cannot be dissected into three points”

Oh really! What an absolutely ludicrous.statement!
Honestly I feel like I'm conversing with a five year old.
Oh look! It's Balfrog the Fallacy Farmer come to spread more manure from the Supriya Seth, LLC (Limited Literary Currency) pile of ponderous allegorical offal and digital dung.

I still can't believe anyone with an ounce of sense (or self respect, for that matter) other than a self-spammer (who, I am sure, lack any dignity whatsoever) would simply return every month or so to plop another implausible article from a different and totally separate entity, and then go to such lengths to defend the indefensible, particularly when numerous other posters pointed out the imbecility of Seth's claims.

If you are not Seth, then you should be in her employ and earn a minimum wage for the spam work you do. I assume it's the only job you currently have, given the disastrous gold-farming market collapse in World of Warcraft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Just to let you know - very slowly – so that you can take it in:

There are three individual facts associated to the phrase: 'thirty silver pennies'.
Each fact can have a tangency against it.

Very slowly:

Fact 1: There is the number '30'.

Fact 2: There is a metal called 'silver'

Fact 3: There are the coins that are 'pennies'.

Is that slow enough?
So onward to meaningful comparisons:

Example 1: For the phrase '30 gold coins' – that results in two tangecies against the Biblical tale
Example 2: For the phrase '40 copper coins'– that would result in one tangency.
etc., etc.

The less the number of tangencies – the less of an alluring match. Is that plain enough? Do you get it now?
In your pretzel logic, the flawed mathematics work for you (much in the same way George Orwell's tortured character is forced to admit 2+2=5). But in your rabid defense of a half-arsed quotient, you have allowed me to outpoint you.

I get three points by your logic:

30 (the magic number)
Shekels (a coin)
Silver (what Shekels were comprised of)


But you do not get three points, you do not pass GO, you do not collect 30 pieces of silver. My allegory contains the requisite number (30), the metal of said coinage (silver), but also the appropriate biblical currency. Let me explain in the simplest terms, because mathematics is not your strong suit, and evidently logical argumentation escapes you as well.

There is not an ounce (Troy or otherwise) of "betrayal" involved in the convoluted manner by which we derive "30 Silver Pennies", but we must also dock you for the use of the word "pennies" which is not a term in use during Jesus' time and is Anglo-Saxon in origin. "Thirty pieces of silver" is the appropriate biblical jargon, and if you study biblical terminology, a silver shekel was most likely the currency used for Judas' betrayal (either Tyrian shekels or the Antiochan tetradrachm).

But no one is betrayed in the convoluted allotment of how Tolkien came to the sum after deductions of rent and fair payment by Butterbur, as is in blood money used in the betrayal by Judas. And thus, equating Tolkien's 30 silver pennies to the biblical 30 pieces of silver loses whatever allegorical directness and concision it might have otherwise. The innkeeper recompenses the wrong done by the theft of the Hobbit's animals, which is the antithesis of betrayal.

Yes, recompense for the wrong done, which, again for the attention-deficited spammers who blindly push their addled agenda in their part-time posting here in order to advertise click-bait, has nothing whatsoever to do with an allegorical basis for the spammer's point.

Therefore, I maintain the biblical passage:

Exodus 21:32 If the ox gores a slave, male or female, its owner will pay the price -- thirty shekels -- to their master, and the ox will be stoned.

has more of an allegorical basis for Tolkien's direct plot point and the circumstantial evidence surrounding the plot than does your tenuous harping on Judas' betrayal. It has soundly beaten your master's theory; but humorously, I made up the allegorical connection -- which is something beyond your limited and wholly partisan comprehension, evidently. And that is the humorous aspect of it all.

I will gladly accept your apology in advance of you actually understanding why it is necessary for you to apologize....to Tolkien for warping his works. No hard feelings.
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:07 PM   #19
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"If Tolkien had written 'thirty pounds', you wouldn't see a connection to the Bible. If he'd written about thirty silver spoons, you wouldn't see a connection to the Bible. If he'd written about nineteen silver pennies, you wouldn't see a connection to the Bible."


Not true. There would be only vague connections – yet still tangencies. One or even two tangencies aren't sufficient to put forward a credible theory (in general).


"The three words aren't distinct points which all have an innate Biblical connection - they are a single point which doesn't work at all if broken up."

Let's change the frame of reference of your single point to a new single point. That being the 'Judas Story'. Now we have five facts that possess associated tangencies. The three being '30' 'silver' 'coins'. The fourth being the 'full worth' of the money being put to good use (see below), and the fifth being an underlying 'theme of betrayal' causing the transaction in the first place. Five reasonably strong tangencies in total – which one might reasonably conclude form an important part of the 'Judas Story'.

So what significance does your 'single point' really have? It depends on your perspective and what you want to consider as the frame of reference of a 'single point' – yes/no? In other words your one point could be selected as '30 silver pennies' or the 'Judas Story'. Yet no matter what - there remain five fact-based tangencies in total. It is the number of 'tangencies' that are of importance – not the number or type of 'points' (which can be wholly arbitrary and dependent on the selector). That is where Ms. Seth is coming from – and I agree!


"we are told the full worth of the initial monetary loss, in the end, was put to good use"

"You're going to have to explain that if you want it to be believed, because so far as I can see, 12 pennies go to Bill Ferny (not noted as being a good cause), while the rest go to Merry and vanish from the story."

From TLotR - "But when news of the events at Bree came to Tom's ears, he sent them to Mr. Butterbur, who thus got five good beasts at a very fair price."


"and where did Tolkien explicitlt point out a connection between Butterbur and Judas? Or do you not think that King Solomon of Israel is a Catholic and religious figure?"

Ms. Seth's article doesn't directly connect Butterbur to Judas. I'm not sure where you're getting that from? There is a theme of betrayal – but Butterbur isn't the betrayer – nor is he likened to Judas.

Yes Solomon is a religious figure and is venerated among Christians - but I think we ought to be fair to Ms. Seth. Her entire essay was built around New Testament examples of the Catholic faith. And that's where I was coming from (sorry if I didn't make that clear). I remember, in another essay, she does discuss more ancient biblical connections and includes King Solomon. I think that would be the proper place to discuss your idea.


"In any case back to the issue at hand – if Morthoron can't or won't answer me, perhaps you can. In repetition then:

Was Tolkien learned enough to understand 30 silver coins was strongly associated to the Christian story?

Just give me an answer: Yes or No?"

"Yes."

Thank you for a straight answer.

The thing is after noting 'Yes' and 'such an obvious source' – you've kind of 'convicted' yourself. Any other suggestions must have a sounder basis with documented proof to overturn such an admission. For example: 'less two for food and lodgings' is pure speculation. Can you prove its two and not one or five? In other words, one can manipulate the math however one wishes to come to a value of '30'. A concocted mixture of amounts and mathematical calculations that cannot be related back to anything Tolkien documented or signed off on - is not good enough. Though I must applaud the logic and your effort!

Lastly Ms. Seth has precedence on her side. How can we brush that aside?

A specific physical object essential to Tolkien's sect of Christianity has definitely been deliberately included (namely Lembas modeled as sacramental bread). Moreover he tells us that the most important reason for its inclusion in his tale is the faith aspect. Indeed, there are more tangencies for the 'Judas Story' than the 'Sacramental Bread Story' within TLotR – as far as I can see. If Tolkien hadn't specifically confirmed it – no doubt that a waybread/religious connection would have been thought of as a ludicrous suggestion! Eh?

The fact that she has provided documentary proof that the work is 'fundamentally Catholic' and provided as precedence an example of Tolkien deliberately including a faith-based article in the book – should count for a great deal in any final judgement – that being yours, mine or any independent arbiter.



Morthoron

As usual – you evaded the question. Apologies will be accepted - provided you give an answer.

So once again:

Was Tolkien learned enough to understand 30 silver coins was strongly associated to the Christian story?

Just give me an answer: Yes or No?

If he wasn't – then by Godsteeth tell me why and provide some evidence?

If he was - then tell me why he put thirty silver coins into the story and why he decided to leave that in – even after editing?


I think I've said enough to Huinesoron to cover your points. Your post is, as usual, full of obsessive nonsense allegations. Once again, we can cover the 'shekels and stoned ox' in another thread. As a gentle reminder - this one is about 'thirty silver pennies' !
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:30 PM   #20
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Morthoron

As usual – you evaded the question. Apologies will be accepted - provided you give an answer.

So once again:

Was Tolkien learned enough to understand 30 silver coins was strongly associated to the Christian story?

Just give me an answer: Yes or No?

If he wasn't – then by Godsteeth tell me why and provide some evidence?

If he was - then tell me why he put thirty silver coins into the story and why he decided to leave that in – even after editing?
This is not a yes or no question, and it never was. The analogy/allegory you and your cipher Seth wish to force on the situation does not apply to the story at all. The story line does not in any sense require a betrayal and blood money; ergo, reference to Judas' 30 silver coins does not apply. There is no reference to the allegory in Tolkien's letters, and no sense of him needing the allegory to make a plot point in the first place.

There is no need for editing when there is no applicability. And it is not applicable. Nor is it symbolic. You and your imaginary friend Seth are trying to foist a plot point that is not at all necessary to the telling of the tale.


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Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
I think I've said enough to Huinesoron to cover your points. Your post is, as usual, full of obsessive nonsense allegations. Once again, we can cover the 'shekels and stoned ox' in another thread. As a gentle reminder - this one is about 'thirty silver pennies' !
Again, thirty silver "pennies" is not applicable. You make a big deal about whether or no Tolkien was aware of the biblical story. Certainly, if that was the case, and it was something he inserted to prove a point, then "pennies" is not the medium for the allusion. There was no betrayal, and although the amount the Hobbits received may have accumulated to 30 coins of whatever denomination, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the biblical point of view.

It is up to you to prove your fallacy, and you have failed. Miserably.
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Old 05-21-2018, 09:28 PM   #21
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In response to:

"This is not a yes or no question, and it never was."

It is my question – and I have asked for an answer. Period.

Unfortunately you are blinded by your own fierce desire to be 'right'. It appears you're losing sight of reality. If another person on the forum can see: “The fact that 'thirty pieces of silver' is such an*obvious*source for the 30 silver pennies” - how are you utterly unable to?

Now the first statement below is true, but once again you conveniently ignore Tolkien's desire to subtly include Christian elements in the tale.

"There is no reference to the allegory in Tolkien's letters, and no sense of him needing the allegory to make a plot point in the first place."


The following is just hot air. You can't prove what you've written:

"There is no need for editing when there is no applicability. And it is not applicable. Nor is it symbolic."


Apply an identical symbolism test to 'Lembas' and see if you would come to the same conclusion based just on knowledge from TLotR text. After you come up emptyhanded – then perhaps you can explain to us all why Elvish waybread had no religious connotations for the tale!

As for:

"It is up to you to prove your fallacy, and you have failed. Miserably."


That's just melodramatic nonsense – I've seen over and over again.

"Certainly, if that was the case, and it was something he inserted to prove a point, then "pennies" is not the medium for the allusion."


Please expand on this. I am interested in why pennies are not coins Tolkien would have used if alluding to the Gospel story in question. Please let us all know – what coinage is more appropriate!
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:40 AM   #22
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Huinesoron
The thing is after noting 'Yes' and 'such an obvious source' – you've kind of 'convicted' yourself. Any other suggestions must have a sounder basis with documented proof to overturn such an admission. For example: 'less two for food and lodgings' is pure speculation. Can you prove its two and not one or five? In other words, one can manipulate the math however one wishes to come to a value of '30'. A concocted mixture of amounts and mathematical calculations that cannot be related back to anything Tolkien documented or signed off on - is not good enough. Though I must applaud the logic and your effort!
Emphasis added, because this is precisely what I suggested Tolkien did:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron
When Tolkien came by and decided to specify that Ferny had indeed charged triple, he needed new numbers. Two pennies is ridiculously low for a pony, so he doubled it. That means Ferny would charge 12 pennies, and Butterbur would pay Merry (5×4=) 20 - less two for food and lodgings, that comes to 18.

When he saw that basic maths led to a value of '30 pieces of silver' - or perhaps even 32, from which he subtracted two to make the reference stick - I'm sure Tolkien had a quiet chuckle to himself, and kept it in thereafter. But, taking the original draft into account, it seems highly likely that the reference first appeared by chance, falling out of a basic mathematical function.
In other words, taking into account the fact that 'thirty pieces of silver' is a common-use phrase, and the fact that Tolkien did not originally use it, my hypothesis (never a theory, for there's no direct evidence) is this:

-The original draft said Butterbur gave Merry 26 pennies, split as 6 for Bill the pony and 20 for everything else.
-In editing, Tolkien realised that this made the price of a pony rather silly, so he tweaked it to 4 pennies per pony: thus 12 for Bill, 20 for the others.
-Realising this came to just over 30 silver pennies, which would be an amusing biblical reference, he subtracted two to make it fit.

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Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
A specific physical object essential to Tolkien's sect of Christianity has definitely been deliberately included (namely Lembas modeled as sacramental bread). Moreover he tells us that the most important reason for its inclusion in his tale is the faith aspect. Indeed, there are more tangencies for the 'Judas Story' than the 'Sacramental Bread Story' within TLotR – as far as I can see. If Tolkien hadn't specifically confirmed it – no doubt that a waybread/religious connection would have been thought of as a ludicrous suggestion! Eh?
An interesting counterfactual! As it happens, I agree that the idea of a connection between lembas and the sacramental bread is pretty ludicrous. The whole purpose of the host is to be representative of Christ's sacrifice, and/or to actually become the Body of Christ. This is completely unrelated to lembas, which can only be connected to it by very vague ideas - the fact that it's given out on special occasions, and the fact that it's good for you. Lembas has about as much relation to Communion bread as does birthday cake!

Except Tolkien said it, so we have to assume he was telling the truth. Fine, he's the author, he knows what he was thinking when he wrote the book. On that information, it's interesting to note the other magical elven food is an alcoholic drink similar to wine. It wouldn't be a stretch - given the specific connection of 'elven food = Mass' has been explicitly drawn by Tolkien - to speculate that miruvor is part of the same imagery.

But your assertion is (or is coming across as) that any religious analogy that can be drawn more firmly than 'lembas = sacrament' must be accepted as true. Unless it's the one about Gollum. Or the one about oxen.

Tolkien was Catholic, and deeply religious. Imagery from that was always going to make its way into his works, from the local variant on "Let there be light!" down to Finrod Felagund's vision of 'a new heaven and a new earth' in Arda Envinyata. But the use of that imagery does not mean that the story is allegorical, any more than Star Wars is an allegory for the history of the Samurai it was modelled on.

hS

PS: Balfrog, people would be much less likely to accuse you of being a sockpuppet of Ms. Seth if you visited the Downs on days other than the days you post new articles from her. Waiting a month for your replies doesn't build a lot of goodwill.
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:01 PM   #23
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Unfortunately you are blinded by your own fierce desire to be 'right'. It appears you're losing sight of reality. If another person on the forum can see: “The fact that 'thirty pieces of silver' is such an*obvious*source for the 30 silver pennies” - how are you utterly unable to?
Ironic. You come here ONLY to disembogue Priya'a prattle and then defend each post like they're Gospel -- as if all other explanations for your ipecacic epistolaries are exclusionary. As if....you, yourself, are the author. More on your evident duality later.

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Now the first statement below is true, but once again you conveniently ignore Tolkien's desire to subtly include Christian elements in the tale.

"There is no reference to the allegory in Tolkien's letters, and no sense of him needing the allegory to make a plot point in the first place."


The following is just hot air. You can't prove what you've written:

"There is no need for editing when there is no applicability. And it is not applicable. Nor is it symbolic."
No reference. Ever. Which brings us to your next statement:

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Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Apply an identical symbolism test to 'Lembas' and see if you would come to the same conclusion based just on knowledge from TLotR text. After you come up emptyhanded – then perhaps you can explain to us all why Elvish waybread had no religious connotations for the tale!
There is a basis for Lembas = Viaticum because Tolkien directly references it. He stated readers “saw in waybread (lembas)= viaticum* and the reference to its feeding the will (vol. III, p. 213) and being more potent when fasting, a derivation from the Eucharist,” (Letter 213 to Deborah Webster); therefore, it is not merely yet another bit of clickbait for your half-baked articles. Oh, excuse me, not your articles, Priya Seth's articles. You are only the messenger of the Divine One, come to spread the unimpeachable Word to the heathen and backward Tolkien forums spread across the Internet. There is only one Seth and Balfrog is her prophet.

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"Certainly, if that was the case, and it was something he inserted to prove a point, then "pennies" is not the medium for the allusion."

Please expand on this. I am interested in why pennies are not coins Tolkien would have used if alluding to the Gospel story in question. Please let us all know – what coinage is more appropriate!
The biblical quote is "thirty pieces of silver", not "30 silver pennies". Modern biblical translations that reduced the amount of biblical archaisms and inserted more contemporary verbiage in its place may opt for "thirty silver coins", but then Tolkien would not have desired, nor were there many "modern" translations of the bible handy during his adulthood, and certainly not prior to Vatican II, the Second Vatican Council formed by Pope John XXIII in 1959.

Therefore, "thirty pieces of silver" which would be the correct phrase throughout Tolkien's life, denotes blood money and unholy, abominable betrayal. I just don't see the allusory nature of the purchase of ponies to be equivalent to the betrayal and ultimate crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and I am an atheist.

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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
PS: Balfrog, people would be much less likely to accuse you of being a sockpuppet of Ms. Seth if you visited the Downs on days other than the days you post new articles from her. Waiting a month for your replies doesn't build a lot of goodwill.
Ah, but that's the crux of the biscuit, or the crux of the cram in this case.

Please, peruse the posting history of Balfrog. He/she/it is spam, only posting the URLs to Seth articles, and only posting thereafter within threads about the articles themselves -- never a separate post to show he/she/it is human, or gives a damn for this forum. If it weren't for the Tolkien angle of each entry, and was instead spamming regarding cut-rate Canadian Viagra(TM) or knock-off Chinese Coach accessories, he/she/it would be banned months ago.

Rather than admitting he/she/it is in fact the author of these Tolkien hit-pieces, he/she/it has instead chosen an alter-ego, an acolyte named Balfrog who will defend her honor without admitting the rabid justifications for each tortured theory and hypocritical hypothesis lies in the fact that defending her own articles would be absurd in extremis. It is much easier to pretend she actually has a fan who posts her articles -- like clockwork and without fail -- rather than deign to admit that she has to shill her own work from site to site.
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Old 06-24-2018, 07:25 PM   #24
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Whatever 'amount' Tolkien originally drafted might, or indeed might not have, had bearing on his final decision. We have made some progress though. If we can conclude he was aware of the resulting connotations at the time of change and declined to alter the amount through the long years before publishing, then the primary reason for retention would have been a desire to keep the work “fundamentally ... Catholic” in line with the 'lembas letter'. That seems to have been a surpassing desire - beyond any appealing math. However this does not constitute allegory!

Looking back at the phrase 'fundamentally religious and Catholic' from Letter #142 – I'm wondering why he didn't just say 'fundamentally Christian'. Why the emphasis on Catholicism? Since Catholicism arose in Jesus's time and the sacrament of bread is also part of the Catholic ritual – I'm wondering whether Tolkien's focus on inserting symbolism was more geared towards the New Testament. The 30 silver pennies would certainly then be aligned with lembas and the other allusions Ms. Seth provided in our essay of interest – as she does focus on the 'Gospels' – especially one might note the essay title.

The 'lembas letter' all the more drives the weighting towards New Testament stuff rather than the 'Gollum and the Ox' of the Old Testament – a small but significant matter in assessing the evidence of precedence. You are wrong about me not wishing to consider other potential Christian allusions. I am happy to do so if you open up another thread (as I asked Morthoron to do – and which he has so far not done).

Yes as you quite rightly point out the lembas stuff is ludicrous in comparison to the 30 silver pennies. All the more power to Ms. Seth's article. I think though we have reached a reasonable position - that being Tolkien would have been very much aware of 30 silver pieces being one of of the most fundamental aspects of the Christian story. Thus 30 silver pennies was a likely symbolic inclusion.

I wish I could post more regularly (maybe more so after retirement) – but my current circumstances prevent me from doing so. I did commit to Ms. Seth that I would review her work, discuss her essays and make some of the Tolkien community aware of them. I struggle to even do that. But 'puppet' or not – that is no excuse for hostility and ill will.


Morthoron

Another cracking post! More than half of it dedicated to spouting off about inconsequential stuff instead of focusing on that which matters. Full of the usual drivel.

How I love to laugh at your silly attempts to find out wherether I have a pseudonym, aliases, etc.
As if anyone really cares – and as if it really makes any difference in discussing Tolkien.



As usual you evaded my continually asked questions for the nth time. So here we go again - in bold:

“Was Tolkien learned enough to understand 30 silver coins was strongly associated to the Christian story?"

Just give me an answer: Yes or No?"

And to add to that:

“Are pennies coins?" Yes or No?

Bottom-line: you do not know Tolkien well enough to declare "pennies is not the medium for the allusion."

Most normal people instantly know that pennies can be equated to 'coins' and that 'pieces in the Gospels were 'coins'.
Most people know that 'pennies' is a heck of a good match with 'pieces'. Far better than notes, trading beads, iou's etc.
Thus most normal people know that 30 silver pennies equivalence well with 30 silver pieces.

Those who are true Tolkien scholars equally know that “pennies” is approriate for Shire coinage and that an exact word-for-word biblical match would have been unlikely since JRRT stripped out overt religious references. But it is symbolism that's of utter importance – however for some strange reason you unable to bring yourself to admit that 30 silver pennies could be symbolic.

“For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.” Letter #142

You can twist and turn and writhe all you like – but 30 silver pennies is close enough to symbolically represent 30 pieces of silver” in my eyes and I suspect – most others.


Please keep the rubbishy character defamations spewing – because I look forward to every reply.
I take it mostly as a joke – as I never know which parts of your posts are serious!
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Old 06-27-2018, 05:24 PM   #25
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How I love to laugh at your silly attempts to find out wherether I have a pseudonym, aliases, etc.
As if anyone really cares – and as if it really makes any difference in discussing Tolkien.
Evidently, as you are unable to counter the accusation, then it is true. You are a fraud.

And I think many folks here do think it matters. I think that as the actual author of the pieces you are trying to shill, it is disingenuous to use a sock puppet to defend your silly theories.

Pretending you are a fan (when it's obvious no fans actually exist) just so you can spew your click-bait on Tolkien forums is bad form.
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Old 07-22-2018, 10:53 AM   #26
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"Evidently, as you are unable to counter the accusation, then it is true. You are a fraud."


What a bunch of clap-trap. Yep - as usual you are wrong!

But just to appease your endless silly accusations that nobody gives a hoot about – here we go. Below's a link to a conversation between Priya Seth and Hammond and Scull back at the very beginning of 2015 – about a year before she even started her web articles.

https://wayneandchristina.wordpress....da-corrigenda/


Satisfied now??? Are you going to apologize or at least admit you are wrong? Or are you going to slink-off quietly just like when your knowledge was found to be lacking by proclaiming Tolkien never-ever used the word 'cockney'?

Of the 'giants' in the literary field of Tolkien studies– very few decide to become forum members and actively post. From what I can see, when they choose to discuss Tolkien – it's done via essays, books and their own personalized web-sites. And even if Ms. Seth did post here – I have little doubt that you'd claim it was Balfrog in disguise.

So tell me:

Are you a fraud because you hide behind a fictitous name?
Are you a click-baiter – because each and every time you post – you advertise your personal web-site?

Wow – talk about the pot calling the kettle black'!


"I am an atheist"

I didn't ask for your religious persuasion – and to be honest – I really don't care. I have little doubt – those who are Christians view Tolkien's TLotR (a fundamentally Catholic work) from a different perspective than those of other faith. As an atheist – I would not expect you to 'see the light'!

As far as I'm concerned Ms. Seth's work constitutes some of the most interesting and revealing articles I've ever seen on Bombadil. The depth she has gone into and the matters she has exposed are stuff well-worthy of discussion. Her essays are about as far from 'spam' as you can get. Singling out two essays in particular – Names, Nymphs and Nature's Lilies, and Match Me a Bilbo in London – these are real eye-openers with genuine substance behind them.

To boot she has provided logical reasoning behind Tolkien's development of Tom Bombadil as well as the missing links to a very important part of the story-line. And I agree with her – after leaving TB, the 'hill episode' (till now) has not been understood by every reader of TLotR – bar the author himself.

I accept that the articles are not for everybody; but with your rigidity – such as being utterly unable to even rationalize the idea of Tolkien deliberately inserting mythological links to a 'green girdle' or '30 silver pennies' being a symbolic allusion to a Christian happening – they definitely are not for you.

Whatever you had fixated in your mind about Tom Bombadil – its seems you are unable to rewire. That or you find it hard to embrace how some folk out there are even more passionate about Tolkien than yourself and possess greater knowledge. Many people have waited a lifetime hoping someone will figure out Bombadil. No – not everything has already been discussed. And yes most forum members, I'm sure, are open to - and want to hear new ideas. Trying to savage the messenger and denigrate the writer through needless and baseless accusations is so .... childish.

Recommendation: Focus on the scholarship within the articles themselves!
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Old 07-25-2018, 05:20 PM   #27
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Morthoron


"Evidently, as you are unable to counter the accusation, then it is true. You are a fraud."


What a bunch of clap-trap. Yep - as usual you are wrong!

But just to appease your endless silly accusations that nobody gives a hoot about – here we go. Below's a link to a conversation between Priya Seth and Hammond and Scull back at the very beginning of 2015 – about a year before she even started her web articles.
I fail to see how this matters to the discussion or alters your fraudulence one jot or tittle. What happened elsewhere in 2015 does not change the fact that you are a fraud and come here ONLY with your monthly vowel movement of Priyatic offal.

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"I am an atheist"

I didn't ask for your religious persuasion – and to be honest – I really don't care. I have little doubt – those who are Christians view Tolkien's TLotR (a fundamentally Catholic work) from a different perspective than those of other faith. As an atheist – I would not expect you to 'see the light'!
You must be willfully ignoring why I referenced atheism. Either that, or your cat is typing gibberish while you're away. I made reference to my atheism in the sense that "even an atheist could see that Tolkien, an ardent Catholic, wouldn't make light of Judas' betrayal of Christ." Read it again:

"The biblical quote is "thirty pieces of silver", not "30 silver pennies". Modern biblical translations that reduced the amount of biblical archaisms and inserted more contemporary verbiage in its place may opt for "thirty silver coins", but then Tolkien would not have desired, nor were there many "modern" translations of the bible handy during his adulthood, and certainly not prior to Vatican II, the Second Vatican Council formed by Pope John XXIII in 1959.

Therefore, "thirty pieces of silver" which would be the correct phrase throughout Tolkien's life, denotes blood money and unholy, abominable betrayal. I just don't see the allusory nature of the purchase of ponies to be equivalent to the betrayal and ultimate crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and I am an atheist."


By the way, your comment that an atheist would not be able to understand the perspective of a Catholic is nonsense, and profoundly dumb. Prior to choosing non-belief as the most sensible of courses, and irreligion as a logical precept, I was a Catholic. And as a Medievalist by study and degree, I would suggest I know more about the Catholic Church and the predisposition and foibles of its followers than an alleged spammer who claims to mouth the words of someone else. To be of a religion does not mean that one has the faintest idea what the dogma of that religion entails. Most don't practice what is preached, but Tolkien as a scholar and an ardent adherent wasn't one of those. Hence, he wouldn't trivialize the betrayal of Jesus for a few ponies.


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Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
So tell me:

Are you a fraud because you hide behind a fictitous name?
Are you a click-baiter – because each and every time you post – you advertise your personal web-site?

Wow – talk about the pot calling the kettle black'!
There are several glaring differences that anyone with a faint, fading scintilla of sense would comprehend:

1) I have been here for over ten years.

2) People know my real name here and I correspond regularly with forum members on Facebook.

3) I do not post separate threads every time I come here advertising one single website to increase clicks for someone else's site.

4) In relation to #3, I post dialogue on other people's threads and engage with the community here because that is what posters who are actually real people do, unlike spammers such as yourself. You unload your spam, then leave. Not once have you engaged with this forum other than on your own spam threads. Your spammish posting history speaks for itself.

5) My site is not at all updated as I post very irregularly. I have never posted a separate thread to advertise the site even when I was adding regular submissions. At the present time, I just leave the site up because I occasionally get requests or people comment on previous articles.

And with that, my conversations with you are ended. There is no sense in adding any further post count to your threads.
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Old 07-25-2018, 09:09 PM   #28
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This is like all the other Priya Seth arguments she has put forward (or I should say Balfrog has put forward for her) claiming that Tolkien was a chronic liar and didn't mean what he meant when telling readers he didn't write allegorical or topical. That somehow Priya Seth, and only Priya Seth (plus Balfrog) has uncovered the secret and hidden truths to all of Tolkien's mysteries.

If you and Priya Seth want to interpret the "30 silver pennies" as a biblical allegory and Judas connection in LOTR...go for it. No one's going to stop you. However, when you post on a forum, inviting the community to read and discuss something someone wrote then take umbrage with the response from members of the community, you aren't seeking learning or understanding. You're not looking to contribute to the community. You're only looking to spam it with Priya Seth's doggerel, which means you're either Priya Seth, or you're getting paid to get traffic to her website.

I'm not even sure why I'm wasting my time typing the response below, because this is going to be my only response and if you persist in your Priya Seth spamming on this forum I'm going to block your profile. Not that I expect this to stop you, but it will reduce the useless clutter on my screen when I'm here.

No one on this forum is going to deny Tolkien was inspired by his faith and religious beliefs, but it wasn't his only, nor was it his primary inspiration. He dedicated an entire lifetime to writing and not just writing this mythology and history of Middle-earth, he wrote a ton of material not at all related or about Middle-earth:

Quote:
I desired to do this for my own satisfaction and I had little hope that other people would be interested in this work, especially since it was primarily linguistic in inspiration and was begun in order to provide the necessary background of "history" for Elvish tongues.
Quote:
The Lord of the Rings has been read by many people since it finally appeared in print, and I should like to say something here with the reference to the many opinions or guesses that I have received or have read concerning the motives and meaning of the tale. The prime motive was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them.
People who argue Tolkien wrote allegorical are at best guessing, and as he addresses in the Foreward "at best guesses from evidence that is inadequate and ambiguous."

Allegory is a 1 to 1 substitution. You can remove the "30 silver pennies" part of the Lord of the Ring and replace it with the "30 pieces of silver" Judas gets paid to betray Jesus and it will hold exactly the same meaning. Who is the Judas character? Who is the Christ character? You're not fooling anyone here with your constant argument that "Tolkien said this, but he really didn't mean that, he meant this you're just not looking as deep as Priya Seth looks."

I leave you with what Tolkien wrote about Zimmerman's script, because the same applies to your Priya Seth obsession:

Quote:
He may think he knows more about The Lord of the Rings than I do, but he cannot expect me to agree with him.~Letter 210
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Old 07-26-2018, 04:29 AM   #29
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If you and Priya Seth want to interpret the "30 silver pennies" as a biblical allegory and Judas connection in LOTR...go for it. No one's going to stop you. However, when you post on a forum, inviting the community to read and discuss something someone wrote then take umbrage with the response from members of the community, you aren't seeking learning or understanding. You're not looking to contribute to the community. You're only looking to spam it with Priya Seth's doggerel, which means you're either Priya Seth, or you're getting paid to get traffic to her website.
Exactly. I lost my taste for the "Priya" threads early on, because it seemed clear that Balfrog was less interested in honest discussion than in hammering away to prove "her" theories, as if proof was possible. Just because it might be doesn't mean it is, and I'm much more inclined to believe the words of Tolkien and his son about the books' inspirations and origins, than I am of an internet "scholar".

Lastly, I rather dislike threads of this sort anyway, because I think Gandalf really did (and does) have a great deal of wisdom applicable to RL.

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Old 08-19-2018, 10:15 PM   #30
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“I fail to see how this matters to the discussion or alters your fraudulence one jot or tittle.”

Oh no – but in reality you do see! You just don't want to admit it. But I knew you wouldn't be honorable – and say 'yep Balfrog – I asked for evidence and you provided it'. Have to chuckle - so I was impersonating Ms. Seth a year before she even started her web-site? Yeah right - totally 'believable'. The only fraudulent claims about who I am – are yours!

All five points in your attempt to provide justification for your habitual advertisement are laughably lame.

Bottom line: - you advertise your blog in every single post you make. I do not do that for Ms. Seth.
So who's really the 'click-baiter'?

Spam? That doesn't even come into the equation – you must 'smokin somethin' mighty strange' when Ms. Seth's web-site is totally about Tolkien!
Is your site totally concerned with Tolkien?
Or is there a bunch of spam in there?
Yes? No?
Ugh - Definitely so!

Anyway I refuse to be drawn into any more arguments about spam, identities, etc. etc, in this thread.
The subject is closed. If you want to still raise such asinine matters – I suggest you open another thread, and you can continue to make a laughing stock of yourself.


“By the way, your comment that an atheist would not be able to understand the perspective of a Catholic is nonsense, and profoundly dumb.”

Do you know what I meant by 'the light' ?
Per your response – it appears you didn't.


The only matter of interest you raised – again has its weaknesses, and falls flat.

“Tolkien, an ardent Catholic, wouldn't make light of Judas' betrayal of Christ.”

The Eucharistic bread of the blessed sacrament held way more significant meaning to Tolkien. It was intimately connected with sustaining inner morale – and its intake was part of regular worshiping habits. Yet he decided to symbolize its presence in the book. Then why not '30 silver pennies'?

If asked any normal, truthful person who knows the Judas part of the Biblical story well:

What were the pieces of silver? The reply would be: 'silver coins'.

If I then asked what is a penny? The answer would be: 'a coin'.

If I went on to ask, Is a silver penny a silver piece? The answer would be: 'yes'.

Morthoron – please don't act silly. Make like you deserve the mighty Asgardian 'God of Thunder' in your name.

'30 silver pieces' = 30 silver coins, & for Tolkien's Shire inhabitants is most aptly convertible to '30 silver pennies'.

That's 'symbolism' for you. Meaning matters do not have to match word for word per the two texts. Apart from me, I'm sure others can see, that the link between 'pennies' and 'pieces' is extremely strong. Why can't you? Why can't you see the light?

Perhaps I already know the answer.





Boromir88

“Priya Seth arguments she has put forward … claiming that Tolkien was a chronic liar.”

Nonsense. I don't see this anywhere in her articles. What a gross exaggeration. Ms. Seth has put forth her position most diplomatically. And she is far from the only one who has questioned Tolkien's veracity – especially when it comes to 'allegory'. Take a careful read of Tom Shippey's Author of the Twentieth Century – it might change your view.

"If you and Priya Seth want to interpret the "30 silver pennies" as a biblical allegory and Judas connection in LOTR...go for it."

Er – where have I said this allegory? Under the essay being discussed within this thread, there is absolutely no place where Ms. Seth states that the 'thirty silver pennies' is allegorical. You are making this up. It's pure unadulterated fabrication on your part.

Lastly if you want to bring up 'allegory', I leave you with the Professor's own words for the only TLotR character he used such terminology for – namely 'Tom Bombadil' :

“ he is then an 'allegory' ” (Letter #153)


Given that - certainly TLotR readers are entitled to debate the matter.

“I'm not even sure why I'm wasting my time typing the response below, because this is going to be my only response and if you persist in your Priya Seth spamming on this forum I'm going to block your profile.“

No great loss - please go ahead. If the above reflects the caliber of debating skills and your extent of intellectual understanding from reading Ms. Seth's articles, then I'd rather not have your contribution.




Inziladun

I totally understand – that there are those who have no desire to 'cut up the ball in search of its bounce'.
I know that there are those who wish to stick to the strict text of Tolkien – be it his books or correspondences.

These set of articles is not for them. If you are within that category (as you seem to indicate) - I understand how your interest might wane.

There are however plenty of 'unknowns' that obviously only Professor Tolkien could have resolved for certain. That doesn't stop many (Ms. Seth is far from alone) from trying to dig deeper and understand some of those 'mysteries'. For me – her articles make more sense about Bombadil, Goldberry, the barrow episode and the roots of The Hobbit, than anyone else. Granted that might not be the opinion of others.

As far as 'honest debate' – I have tried to do so – though perhaps too fiercely for some members liking. Nevertheless – I certainly have willingly conceded on points raised where I am wrong or there are other strong counter-arguments. Indeed I have followed a general 'honor code' for debate. That is certainly not the case for at least one forum member.
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