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  #31  
Old Nov 27, '12, 12:08 pm
Della Della is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

Hey guys, there's no right way or wrong way to interpret a work of art. It's going to mean different things to different people. While Tolkien's Catholic worldview was a definite factor in his writing, he didn't insist that people read it that way. He detested allegory and did his best to avoid it. Anyway, let's not get all worked up about it. If people see things in LOTR and his other writings that bolsters their faith, that's fine. I'm sure he wouldn't object to that, but all he wanted to do was tell a good, long story that would hold people's interest. He didn't set out to rewrite the Bible or anything as grand as that.
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  #32  
Old Nov 27, '12, 6:49 pm
latin_rite latin_rite is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by louisak View Post
I agree with the previous post - the Christian content is much easier to find in Lord of the Rings, a more mature and fully-developed work. The Hobbit was rather "dashed off" to please Tolkien's children - this is not a criticism, it is a delightful book, a remarkable book even.

.
Wish i could "dash" off a book like that.
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  #33  
Old Nov 28, '12, 4:30 am
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Sailor Kenshin Sailor Kenshin is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by Kithrus View Post
No I imply muddying the waters with your personal interiptaion catholic or other wise dulutes the intended point.

Good or otherwise mostly because if you keep losing the intended message because you just got to show everyone what you thought it meant then why did the artist make it at all
More germane is to ask WHY some self-appointed experts feel it's an 'insult' to read Catholicism into the work of a Catholic author. *And seem to take great pains to crush the delight of discovery in the author's work.
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  #34  
Old Nov 28, '12, 4:44 am
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pnewton pnewton is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

I have no doubt that Tolkien's faith come through in all his works, though he did not do so consciously. Yet when he is considering the resolution to the war, for example, it is not in his character to make Biblo into a warrior, but to show once again the greater strength that can be found through virtue.
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  #35  
Old Nov 28, '12, 9:53 am
celtic catholic celtic catholic is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by pnewton View Post
I have no doubt that Tolkien's faith come through in all his works, though he did not do so consciously. Yet when he is considering the resolution to the war, for example, it is not in his character to make Biblo into a warrior, but to show once again the greater strength that can be found through virtue.
I am not trying to start an argument, but how do you come to the conclusion that he didn't consciously put his faith in his works? Are you basing your statement on some source or writing? If so, I would like to see it since Tolkien himself said the ''Hobbit'' and the ''Lord of the Rings'' are ''a fundamentally religious and Catholic work''. It sure seems like any elements in those books that seem to be inspired or based on his faith are intentional. Now, he doesn't make any references to Catholicism blatantly obvious, but they are there. Subtle, but definitely intentional.
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  #36  
Old Nov 28, '12, 10:07 am
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pnewton pnewton is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by celtic catholic View Post
I am not trying to start an argument, but how do you come to the conclusion that he didn't consciously put his faith in his works? Are you basing your statement on some source or writing? If so, I would like to see it since Tolkien himself said the ''Hobbit'' and the ''Lord of the Rings'' are ''a fundamentally religious and Catholic work''.
Hmm. I did not know of that. I looked up the quote (the rest of it) and it seems to confirm my impression. BTW - My impression was based on my own reading and feel for the Hobbit as well some lectures by Peter Kreeft, where he quoted JRRT downplaying the conscious religious elements. I will see if I can find some.

Quote:
"The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism."
Note this statement only was applicable to LOTR, which took much longer. Now if there was not conscious recognition of the religious and Catholic elements in LOTR until he was revising it, it is unlikely that he had any consciously in The Hobbit.

I would like to clarify one thing, when I downplay the conscious role of the author's Christianity, I know that any author's character will always come through his work. A dark man will write darkly; a Christian will think like a Christian as he writes.
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  #37  
Old Nov 28, '12, 11:04 am
celtic catholic celtic catholic is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by pnewton View Post
Hmm. I did not know of that. I looked up the quote (the rest of it) and it seems to confirm my impression. BTW - My impression was based on my own reading and feel for the Hobbit as well some lectures by Peter Kreeft, where he quoted JRRT downplaying the conscious religious elements. I will see if I can find some.

Note this statement only was applicable to LOTR, which took much longer. Now if there was not conscious recognition of the religious and Catholic elements in LOTR until he was revising it, it is unlikely that he had any consciously in The Hobbit.

I would like to clarify one thing, when I downplay the conscious role of the author's Christianity, I know that any author's character will always come through his work. A dark man will write darkly; a Christian will think like a Christian as he writes.
I know that Tolkien never set out to make his Middle Earth stories as super religious or anything like that, but like the quote mentioned, in his revisions, quite a few religious symbolisms became apparent in the story. To me that seems like his faith is so ingrained in his mind that it begins to form itself even in his work. From my understanding, he felt they strengthened his stories and made them more relevant.
I am trying to find the book ''The Christian World of The Hobbit'' by Deven Brown. That seems to have some interesting things on Tolkien and his works, as well as the influence his faith had on his writings.
I mentioned earlier that I was watching ''The Hidden Meaning of the Lord of the Rings'' taught by Joseph Pearce and so far, there seems to be no question that Catholicism played a major part in his many works,and that he did intentionally work it into the story. Take Aragorn for example. Tolkien made a few inspirational references to Christ and his kingship in the character as well as to King Arthur. The character isn't an allegorical figure to either of them, but he did give them some of the qualities that Christ and Arthur possess.
So I guess in a way you are correct. The Christian elements in the stories may not always have been intentional, but on the other hand, he did include quite a few references and symbolic elements in his writings that were deliberate.
Sorry for the long reply
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  #38  
Old Nov 28, '12, 2:32 pm
Razanir Razanir is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by Kithrus View Post
I'm going to have to give you an example here.

The act of throwing yourself on a grenade to save someone else is Christ like. That I'm sure we both can agree. This act of heroism is a frequent plot point used in many stories both real and otherwise. The act of holding the bridge/hallway/stair ect with the expectation you will die does call to mind christs own sacrifice.

This being said however just because it was used by a catholic doesn't automatically mean the writer in this case Tolkien was thinking about Christs sacrifice. He could have but at its core it was just another noble act for the story.

Are you going to compare the Spartans in the same way? Or better yet spartigus? He was crucified too after all!

See Tolkien wasn't blunt like his buddy CS Lewis. He made a story with good moral points full stop.

If you see God in truth good on you but don't connect dots that are not there. It's the worst insult an artist can recieve cause you cheapen the intended message.
Quote:
Originally Posted by celtic catholic View Post
I know that Tolkien never set out to make his Middle Earth stories as super religious or anything like that, but like the quote mentioned, in his revisions, quite a few religious symbolisms became apparent in the story. To me that seems like his faith is so ingrained in his mind that it begins to form itself even in his work. From my understanding, he felt they strengthened his stories and made them more relevant.
I am trying to find the book ''The Christian World of The Hobbit'' by Deven Brown. That seems to have some interesting things on Tolkien and his works, as well as the influence his faith had on his writings.
I mentioned earlier that I was watching ''The Hidden Meaning of the Lord of the Rings'' taught by Joseph Pearce and so far, there seems to be no question that Catholicism played a major part in his many works,and that he did intentionally work it into the story. Take Aragorn for example. Tolkien made a few inspirational references to Christ and his kingship in the character as well as to King Arthur. The character isn't an allegorical figure to either of them, but he did give them some of the qualities that Christ and Arthur possess.
So I guess in a way you are correct. The Christian elements in the stories may not always have been intentional, but on the other hand, he did include quite a few references and symbolic elements in his writings that were deliberate.
Sorry for the long reply
The main ones I can think of (in LotR at least) are:
– Frodo, Gandalf and Aragorn as priest, prophet and king
– Lembas being similar to the Eucharist (read the chapter Mount Doom)
– Elf "magic" and the Sacraments. "For this is what your folk would call magic. I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem also to use the same word of the deceits of the Enemy." ("The Mirror of Galadriel")
– Gandalf admonishing the death penalty. "Many that live deserve death, and some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in the name of justice." ("The Shadow of the Past")
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  #39  
Old Nov 30, '12, 6:41 am
louisak louisak is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by Kithrus View Post
Bare in mind the Elves worship the Sun Moon and the Stars. That's not very catholic mind but notice how the catholic fans don't bat an eye lash gloss over it then move on to the points that serve 'catholic agenda'.
No they don't. I've read the Lord of the Rings a half-dozen times, the Silmarillion several times. The Elves sing songs in honor of Varda (in Sindarin called Elbereth or Gilthoniel [= Star-Kindler]). To say that they actually worship her is something of a stretch. And by no possible interpretation can you say that they actually worship the stars themselves, or the sun and moon.

In fact, since the Elves were immortal, some of the elves living even in Frodo's time were personally present when the sun and moon were created. A person is hardly going to worship something that was created after one was born.
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  #40  
Old Nov 30, '12, 2:07 pm
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JharekCarnelian JharekCarnelian is online now
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by Kithrus View Post
Or maybe that's an over simplification?

The closer action to that was the Belrog seen in Fellowship.

I don't want to be the bad guy here but I feel like I need to drag everyone down to earth here but if there's anything people outside the faith can't stand is us pointing at everything and assuming its a christian message by intent.

Sure it can have a good message but I have my doubts that everything is as saturated in catholic lore as you think. There are undertones granted but unless someone has something from Tolkien himself or his son its just idle speculation on our part.

Bare in mind the Elves worship the Sun Moon and the Stars. That's not very catholic mind but notice how the catholic fans don't bat an eye lash gloss over it then move on to the points that serve 'catholic agenda'.

It all smells of rot to me honestly to have this double standard. These books were meant for Christopher alone to keep him sane during the great war. Any message in them were not meant for us per-say but very well were good at the core. Assuming these books to be some kind of message to the world is a stretch.

Can they be used like that?

Sure

Should we assume everything?

No

Take the time to get to know Tolkien as he was by his club meeting minutes, his not fantasy works then come back.

Ever thought he and his son just really like myths? Tolkien has written other books for his children and a wizard is always present. The book Roverandom is a perfect example of this. There's nothing catholic about it. It was just a story he wrote to get over a lost toy.

Why? He just really likes using them as a plot device.

Yes Tolkien is Catholic but don't put words in his mouth. His story is great without us adding something that isn't there too it.
There is only one being who is GOD in the universe of Middle-Earth and the elves are well aware of that, in fact they are more well aware of it than most of the nations of men that we encounter in the LOTR or Hobbit. As pointed out they do not worship the sun or moon as they know these are creations in that universe.

Note the following passage from the Silmarillion:-

Quote:
“There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad. But for a long while they sang only each alone, or but few together, while the rest hearkened; for each comprehended only that part of the mind of Ilúvatar from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren they grew but slowly. Yet ever as they listened they came to deeper understanding, and increased in unison and harmony.”
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  #41  
Old Dec 1, '12, 2:47 am
Viki63 Viki63 is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by Neildown View Post
Sorry, but I do remember that part, and one might as well say that every time a character (in any book) sacrifices his life/safety for a friend, that it is a Crucifixion/Resurrection depiction.
You might well say that. Because, IMHO, the story of Christ is the paradigmatic eucatastrophe on which all other stories in the world are based. It is the one true story, the template for all such tales, although it is true. Which makes it even cooler.
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  #42  
Old Dec 1, '12, 5:18 am
Kithrus Kithrus is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by JharekCarnelian View Post
There is only one being who is GOD in the universe of Middle-Earth and the elves are well aware of that, in fact they are more well aware of it than most of the nations of men that we encounter in the LOTR or Hobbit. As pointed out they do not worship the sun or moon as they know these are creations in that universe.

Note the following passage from the Silmarillion:-
I don't have my copy handy as I'm on the road but same book I can show you the counter point.
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  #43  
Old Dec 1, '12, 5:37 am
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Originally Posted by Kithrus View Post
I don't have my copy handy as I'm on the road but same book I can show you the counter point.
You cannot, you may show me a passage where perhaps Tolkien was less than clear in his intent but the elves are well aware Eru is the only God in the world of Middle Earth and that all depends upon him. Some of the elves such as Galadriel are many millenia old and indeed she was born prior to the creation of the Sun and as another poster pointed out would hardly be likely therefore to worship somethng she knows is a creation.

This contention strikes me as oddly similar to real wolrd contention that we Catholics worship statues. The elves know that the sun, moon and stars in their world were created by powerful beings but they also know that all depends ultimately on Eru who fills the functional role of the one true God in that universe.
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  #44  
Old Dec 1, '12, 5:44 am
Kithrus Kithrus is offline
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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You cannot, you may show me a passage where perhaps Tolkien was less than clear in his intent but the elves are well aware Eru is the only God in the world of Middle Earth and that all depends upon him. Some of the elves such as Galadriel are many millenia old and indeed she was born prior to the creation of the Sun and as another poster pointed out would hardly be likely therefore to worship somethng she knows is a creation.
Here is the thing in stories be it fiction or non fiction. There is the truth then there are perceptions of the truth. Not all elves are as old as Elron or Galadriel. Some elves don't have all the truth. That doesn't make tolkien kind books less catholic as much as well rounded fleshed out world.
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  #45  
Old Dec 1, '12, 5:49 am
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Default Re: Christian Imagery in "The Hobbit"

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Here is the thing in stories be it fiction or non fiction. There is the truth then there are perceptions of the truth. Not all elves are as old as Elron or Galadriel. Some elves don't hall all the truth. That doesn't make tool kind book less catholic as much as well rounded fleshed out world.
Even the Sindarin elves who are considered in some sense to be the least wise are well aware of the truth of the Sun and Moon in their universe. Even Legolas who is much less awe inspiring and powerful than Galadriel is many centuries old for example. None of the Elves are ever shown explicitly worshipping celestial bodies in place of God and you will struggle in vain to find such a passage. You may find a passage where it looks like that is occruing but if you are familiar with the wider scope and history of Middle Earth you will realise the Elves are not doing so.
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