Tolkien, Old Testament scholar


#1

I’ve come across in recent readings of the Old Testament several parallels to the Lord of the Rings.

I always thought Tolkien’s “oliphants” of war were a clever creation of the 20th century author. Not so.

From our beloved 1Maccabees 6:30-37:
"[The Seleucid king’s] army numbered a hundred thousand foot-soldiers, twenty thousand cavalry, and thirty-two elephants trained for war. They passed through Idumea and camped before Beth-zur. For many days they attacked it; they constructed siege-devices, but the besieged made a sortie and burned these, and they fought bravely. Then Judas marched away from the citadel and moved his camp to Beth-zechariah, on the way to the king’s camp. The king, rising before dawn, moved his force hastily along the road to Beth-zechariah; and the armies prepared for battle, while the trumpets sounded. They showed the elephants the juice of grapes and mulberries to provoke them to fight. The beasts were distributed along the phalanxes, each elephant having assigned to it a thousand men in coats of mail, with bronze helmets, and five hundred picked cavalry. These anticipated the beast wherever it was; and wherever it moved, they moved too and never left it. A strong wooden tower covering each elephant, and fastened to it by a harness, held, besides the Indian mahout, three soldiers who fought from it."

And that whole deliverance from the birds thing, imagery straight from Isaiah 31:5

“Like hovering birds, so the LORD of hosts shall shield Jerusalem, To protect and deliver, to spare and rescue it.”

No real relevance to anything being discussed today, just thought I’d share.


#2

[quote=sweetchuck]I’ve come across in recent readings of the Old Testament several parallels to the Lord of the Rings.

I always thought Tolkien’s “oliphants” of war were a clever creation of the 20th century author. Not so.

From our beloved 1Maccabees 6:30-37:
"[The Seleucid king’s] army numbered a hundred thousand foot-soldiers, twenty thousand cavalry, and thirty-two elephants trained for war. They passed through Idumea and camped before Beth-zur. For many days they attacked it; they constructed siege-devices, but the besieged made a sortie and burned these, and they fought bravely. Then Judas marched away from the citadel and moved his camp to Beth-zechariah, on the way to the king’s camp. The king, rising before dawn, moved his force hastily along the road to Beth-zechariah; and the armies prepared for battle, while the trumpets sounded. They showed the elephants the juice of grapes and mulberries to provoke them to fight. The beasts were distributed along the phalanxes, each elephant having assigned to it a thousand men in coats of mail, with bronze helmets, and five hundred picked cavalry. These anticipated the beast wherever it was; and wherever it moved, they moved too and never left it. A strong wooden tower covering each elephant, and fastened to it by a harness, held, besides the Indian mahout, three soldiers who fought from it."

And that whole deliverance from the birds thing, imagery straight from Isaiah 31:5

“Like hovering birds, so the LORD of hosts shall shield Jerusalem, To protect and deliver, to spare and rescue it.”

No real relevance to anything being discussed today, just thought I’d share.
[/quote]

Erech is an OT place-name too see Gen.10.10. So is the word “uruk” - it’s the same place.

There is a Sirion in the Silmarillion, & in the OT. And there are other similarities.


#3

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.