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Old 03-17-2021, 09:45 AM   #1
SonofUgluk
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Ford of Bruinen = Red Sea/Book of Exodus

Good Afternoon All

Long time no post , hope everyone's doing well . Just a thought . I've started reading the Old Testament , and couldn't help noticing the similarity between Gods drowning of the Egyptians along with their horses in the Red Sea , and the drowning of the Ringwraiths with their horses at the Ford of Bruinen . And also the flight to the Ford & Rivendell could be compared to the flight of the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land . I'm aware that Tolkein was a devout Christian so is it possible he based this part of LOTR on this old book of The Bible ? Sorry if this has been asked before ,

cheers ,

Dan
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Old 03-17-2021, 01:51 PM   #2
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Well , 10 views and not a single reply , i've heard this is the most useless tolkein forum on the net, this proves it
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Old 03-17-2021, 02:33 PM   #3
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Well , 10 views and not a single reply , i've heard this is the most useless tolkein forum on the net, this proves it
Not useless, just slow. Four hours between posts on a thread would be blisteringly fast for the Downs. Plus it's mid-week, and I think we've got a lot of Americans - they're probably still at work!

My first thought on this was that it's possible that Tolkien went 'huh, this chase is a bit like Moses, drowning the Riders would be quite fitting', but... the Flight to the Ford is actually really different! The Bible story centres on the divine guides (pillar of flame/smoke), which wards off the Egyptians; there's no real analogy for that. And then Moses leads all the people across, while Book!Frodo crosses alone, leaving his friends behind! The Nazgul are driven into the water; the Egyptians went voluntarily.

Then again... Exodus 14 actually says that after the Egyptians were in the sea, God looked down from the pillar of flame and jammed their chariot wheels, trapping them there. And what does Frodo see, when he looks back from the bank of Bruinen? Glorfindel, as a bright flame, trapping the Nazgul in the river. So perhaps the connection is stronger than I thought.

But as I'm fond of saying, you can find parallels between anything. It's certainly possible that Tolkien could have noticed the parallels, and tweaked his writing slightly to make them line up better (for his own amusement!); it seems unlikely he would have directly based the scene on the Bible story.

(Knowing his liking for Northern myths, I'm wondering if 'magic river drowning' is present anywhere in Germano-Nordic legends... that might be an actual source.)

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Old 03-17-2021, 05:56 PM   #4
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Well , 10 views and not a single reply , i've heard this is the most useless tolkein forum on the net, this proves it
Perhaps you should read the bible a bit more. The lessons one usually derives from the book haven't seemed to hit home as of yet.
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Old 03-17-2021, 06:37 PM   #5
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Perhaps you should read the bible a bit more. The lessons one usually derives from the book haven't seemed to hit home as of yet.
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Well , 10 views and not a single reply , i've heard this is the most useless tolkein forum on the net, this proves it
It was pretty rude.
Everyone who reads a post doesn't always have the time or inclination to respond, especially on a week day when many are at school or work.

And, for what it's worth, I don't think there's a clear parallel between the parting of the Red Sea and the Bruinen.
As Huey notes, the circumstances are markedly different.

The event in the Bible was not only a means for the People of God to cross a barrier, but was also meant as a demonstration that God was to be trusted.

The flight of the Ring-bearer was an emergency situation. Though Gandalf did not explicitly say so, I think the "flames" seen by Frodo were done by him, since his ability with fire is demonstrated many other times.
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Old 03-18-2021, 12:36 PM   #6
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Even if I believed in them, I’m not seeing the allegory. Sorry. My arm would have to of grown long indeed to make that reach, but everyone gets something different out of it.
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Old 03-18-2021, 12:48 PM   #7
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I don't entirely disagree--but that's probably because the latent Biblical scholar in me sees the Red Sea and the crossing of the Jordan under Joshua as types of the same event. I think crossing the Jordan is a comparison in the same ballpark, if only because it's a river, but it's sort of the same thing.

That said, the comparison is slender and not one I'd put a lot of weight on, for all the reasons of difference already made. They ARE both instances where the body of water allows the protagonists through and then rush in behind--and Exodus is the better Biblical comparison at least insofar as it parallels with FotR in sweeping away bad guys. But that fact that the waters don't part to allow them across--the fact that it is a ford, in other words--takes away the most miraculous or notable element of the Biblical story.

That said, it could be part of the leaf-mould that produced the Bruinen scene, but the comparisons aren't such where I think we can say anything definitive one way or another, unless someone with more Anglo-Saxon than me sees phrases from the OE Exodus in the Bruinen scene or something similar.



As to the forum's paucity of replies... well, I suppose to a Fourth Age fisherman, standing on the summit of Tol Himring, the Union of Maedhros doesn't look like it has left much behind, but great things are buried beneath Ulmo's domain in this forum.
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