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Old 03-31-2002, 02:02 PM   #1
krishnablue7
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Silmaril Bible and Tolkien?

I was just reading bible ( i don't believe in God, at least not in the Christianistic way) and i was amazed by how much that book reminded me about all Tolkiens books. The same style or what, just something in the story so similar. That high speech, like god is talking, someone who knows and sees it all.
But actually i must admit i like Tolkien better although Bible is the book of books and that kind of a thing, but the life isn't that alive there. When you read a part of Bible you don't go to sleep wandering what may happen in the next chapter if you know what i mean (and i'm sure you do). I feel its the amazement the things give you that really counts.
 
Old 03-31-2002, 02:29 PM   #2
Lomelinde
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Keep in mind the fact that Tolkien was a devout Catholic and some of this religious influence certainly carried over into his works of fiction, most notably the Silmarillion, which does bear a striking resemblance to the Bible.
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Old 03-31-2002, 03:36 PM   #3
Bruce MacCulloch
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Here we go again.
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Old 03-31-2002, 05:23 PM   #4
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Apparently I'm uncool or irritated somebody (lowest rating) Oh well.

Take a look back about 30 days to see a discussion on Tolkien and the Bible in Books, I think. It probably answers every question you have.

Wondering what happens next exists for people in New Guinea and the Amazon who are being reached for the first time with the Christian Bible. It's totally brand new to them and they're being told that the whole thing is true. I'm told it's very life changing positively for them, unlike what you may be led to believe from movies like "At Play in the Fields of the Lord".

So one of Tolkien's primary achievements was making the good news fresh, what he called in "On Fairie Stories", 'the evangelium' and 'eucatastrophe'. Check out On Faerie Stories for real insight into what Tolkien was trying to do.
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Old 03-31-2002, 05:37 PM   #5
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Silmaril

Hmmm...familiar topic, huh Bruce? LOL.

Well...although I am nowhere NEAR as skilled in Tolkien as all of you, I noticed this two. And I do not know whether Tolkien realized it/meant it/whatever (he said he does not use allegory in his books, but who knows what went on in that deep mind of his?). You have read The Sil, yes? The language in the beginning is so Biblical...I loved it (I'm so not Christian or Jewish that I got a real kick out of it: I was laughing!).
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Old 03-31-2002, 05:45 PM   #6
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I have seen big similarities between Tolkien's (and Lewis') works and the Bible (thatís why I have my sig. the way it is) And as far as the Bible not being exciting, it all depends on where you are spiritually. If you view it as God-breathed and containing more wisdom and insight that any other book out there, it gives ya a different way of looking at it. The excitement only comes as you open your heart and let the Holy Spirit work through you. If you're not a Christian, and don't give a darn, it's not gonna happen. Thatís my viewpoint; not that I'm being pushy, I just wanted to get my two cents in. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 03-31-2002, 11:34 PM   #7
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As Littleman says, check out the "Trilogy and Bible" thread, which has about 4 pages of comprehensive discussion and argument about this topic.

However, in summary - the "similarities" prove nothing. There are also many similarities between LotR and other epic myths (which Tolkien loved and studied), and equally there are similarities between various epic myths and the Bible (particularly the Old Testament). And remember too that the Biblical similarities only relate to our translation of the Bible ... and what about the controversial 'Gospel of St Thomas' which does not appear in the traditional text?

Secondly, allegory is either intentional or it is not allegory (and allegory bears no relation to similarity). So when Tolkien says LotR was NOT allegorical, why not believe him? Classifying a work as allegory tends to diminish it, as does describing Tolkien as a cunning evangelist, using literary devices to disguise and yet proselytise his faith. I don't accept this, as JRRT was very upfront about his Catholicism. And to suggest the allegory was unintentional (subconscious) implies that Tolkien was both lazy and un-observant, which seems patently untrue. He was constantly revisiting and revising all his work, and I can't believe he would have allowed 'unintentional' elements which could be taken for allegory (which he so publicly avoided) to remain.

The morality in LotR is essentially Christian; however, the story is neither an allegory or propaganda. It is, as Tolkien hmself said, a story.

The Bible is meaningful enough to stand on its own. And LotR is a work of literature that has so far stood the test of time without appropriation by any interest group. I hope it stays that way.

Check out the Trilogy and Bible thread! (I'm going to move it back up to the top ...)

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Old 04-06-2002, 09:21 PM   #8
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The Bible isn't supposed to be exciting.(btw, I'm a Christian, my first name is Christian). LOTR is supposed to be exciting, the Bible is spiritual, its your duty to follow and read it as a Christian.
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Old 04-06-2002, 09:47 PM   #9
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Tolkein defiently had Christian influence (yes i know we've already established that). He was good friends with C.S. Lewis, author of the clearly Chrsitian series, the Chronicles of Narnia. But while Lewis used all kinds of obvious allegories in his books, Tolkein was much more subtle (this is what i believe anyway).

The only really clear stand-out-and-grab-you allegory in LOTR was in the Two Towers, when Gandalf returns as the White Rider and Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas don't recognize him at first. This is a replica of Jesus meeting some of his disciples on the road to Damascus after his Resurrection. Frodo at times displays Jesus like characteristics, as does Sam. I am a Christian and when I found out about Tolkien being a Christian, I went back and tried to find some of that influence coming through LOTR.
I shamefully admit I haven't gotten around to reading the Sil yet. [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] So when i research a little more, I'll come back. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

[ April 06, 2002: Message edited by: Fingo ]

[ April 06, 2002: Message edited by: Fingo ]
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Old 04-06-2002, 11:15 PM   #10
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Fingo - wow, you're good at spotting this stuff. For some reason the idea of Gandalf the White as representing the Resurrection never even occurred to me, but it's great. (Of course I read the Narnia books several times as a child and it never occurred to me what they were an allegory for either, and this from someone who was taken to a two-hour Mass every Sunday without fail. Which probably just goes to show that allegorists are born, not bred [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]).
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Old 11-21-2002, 03:07 PM   #11
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Silmaril

Been seeing this debate all over Tolkien sites for quite a while.
One thing like to suggest: perhaps there's confusion in terminology.
Allegory(which Tolkien reportedly spurned) means: a story in which people, things and events have a SYMBOLIC meaning, often instructive.
If it is true that Tolkien forswore this, it makes perfect sense to me, as I don't see that there is much Symbolic about LOTR or Silmarillion.
Now we have a similar Term: ANALOGY. Which means similarity in some ways.
If Tolkien intended his work as Analogous, this would make much sense to me, as I see that there are many Similarities between his books and the Bible, in it's ENTIRETY. Not just the 'Christian' part. The Bible, considered as a whole, represents what is known as the Judeo-Christian tradition. Personally, I see more similarities between Tolkien's works and the OLD Testament, as opposed to the Christian part(New Testament).
In an earlier thread, a member posed the question: is Gandalf Jesus? moderators closed the discussion.
I'd like to suggest that if there is a similarity between Gandalf and some Biblical character, it is the Judaic hero Moses, who Led his people to Freedom through great adversity.
The Tolkien character who RESEMBLES Jesus Christ is Beren(in The Silmarillion), because he is the only man in Tolkien's creation who survives death(as did Christ).
I wish the controversy of this whole subject could finally be cleared, because it annoys people who don't have an affinity for Scripture, while those who do are hurt when others become impatient when the subject is broached.
The combined effect of this creates a division amongst people who Love Tolkien, which is what(whom) the sites consist of.
Really, I feel it is brought about largely by a confusion of terms which is possible to handle simply enough before people become impatient, offended, confused or ultimately disinterested.
Love and best wishes to all Tolkien fans, Sacred and Secular, both!!
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Old 11-21-2002, 05:17 PM   #12
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While Tolkien denied allegory specifically, I think he would have also denied analogy being any part of his intent. They are nearly the same, using the definitions posted by Anarion, differing only in degree. Any analogous relationships between Tolkien's stories and the Bible exist only in the mind of those of us who read both works of literature. I was also raised Christian, and I can draw all kinds of parallels, but I do not think they were intended by Tolkien. The fact that it is so easy to do only points to Tolkien's Catholic influences. We need to take Tolkien at his word with regard to symbolic meaning in his work.
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Old 11-22-2002, 01:54 AM   #13
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Analogy: showing Similarities.
Allegory: story intended to teach a moral or spiritual lesson through SYMBOLISM.
These are nearly the same!!!!

[img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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