Tolkien's Influence: Dark Lord

Timdalf

Active Member
That philosophical or political nihilism was not what i was referring to. Melkor is all about proving Eru wrong, he wants to prove that God is wrong, fallible and creation is in itself essentially wrong.That is because of his frustration and envy of being just a lesser demiurge, he does not want to rule or dominate the world or men, though he does so or tries, but only as a tool in his great idea of annihilation of what he believes is a false god and a wrong creation... therefore nihilism.
Ok, on some of these points perhaps Tolkien's mythic image of the evil one diverges slightly from standard Christian imagery and seems a bit weak. The evil one knows God -- The Father of the Trinity -- is right and good and holy. "The demons know there is a god," is a common quote from the Saints and Fathers. (It is man who pretends not to be sure to excuse himself.) He knows God is infallible and His creation is right and good. THAT is what irks him. His colossal ego is frustrated and he envies man and all of creation for being so good. Since God and His creation is good, ipso facto, to engineer something other than that is to do and create evil He knows that too. He WANTS to be evil. He does not believe God is a false God and there is a wrong creation. That is modern liberal excuse making for evil... Oh, if only we understood poor satan and his misunderstood demons. No! That vicious raging attitude is what is evil about him. He has no excuse, no basis, no right to act as he does. Having been present in creation, he knows Whom he is dealing with and that he will lose utterly and finally. THAT drives his hate and destructive negation. He desires to destroy as much as he can in the meantime. I think attributing to Tolkien modern liberal excusatory exculpatory motivations to Morgoth is not something he would have accepted.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
As i always understood the angels in the old testament are corporeal beings.They do have (well some had) sexual intercourse with mortal women and sired corporeal children and for a long time this was perceived as being true. I do not deny that this changed in the early history on the church, but i believe it was due to platonic and aristotelian influence. Intellectual paganism had already largely abondoned that concept for quite some time.I do not know much about early judaism though... it would not surprise me if they had done that too but i do not see it in early christianity completely yet, to my perception at last.
This is part of the materialistic Jewish thinking... they have a hard time with pure spirit, at least now after so many centuries. Not necessarily true of all the OT and NT Jews... But this is behind the thinking of the leadership in Christ's time: Oh, the Messiah will come with armies and defeat Rome and liberate us. I have a very well educated Jewish friend who thought the Ascension referred to going uphill to the city of Jerusalem!!
 

Timdalf

Active Member
It is quite a stretch i think, these are about 1000 years you say the western church was "wrong".
What else is new. Officially the Papacy (and by derivation the Prots) have been declared heretical since 1054 over the Filoque. But the filioque goes back to Spain in 800s and Charlemagne et al... and they rest on Augustinian theological errors (354-430)... It took a while for his errors (predestination, original guilt, Trinitarin errors like the Filoque) to spread and become common conceptions. And of course by the time of Calvin it is full tilt into horrendous errors. Then you have the misbegotten Redemption rationalism of Anselm and his Vicarious Satisfaction theory.... The West's religious establishment has been in deep trouble for indeed many, many centuries and this provokes the secular humanists to i their self-entanglements. Quite a mess, really. And given the ego and cultural institutional investment and involvement in all this, almost impossible to reverse or extricate themselves from it. It is not just a matter of getting the spiritual-theological-religious facts wrong, but the very methodology is also deeply wrong headed. But so it is. You don't cure a fatal cancer by ignoring its lethality.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Well, that's a head-scratcher. How is John Milton "not a Christian"? He was a staunch Puritan (actually considered something of an extremist) for his entire life. His most famous work is precisely about the Christian world-view. Who decides what is 'Christian' of not?
Answer: The Christian Church. As long as it is Grace-bearing, which depends on the Orthodoxy (correctness according to the consensus of the Apostles, Fathers and Saints headed by Christ Himself (not some printed Bible or some single bishop of Rome.) I don't consider Milton an Orthodox Christian either, but rather like so many Western churchmen, writers and thinkers, steeped in numerous and sundry heresies and distortions of various sects and cults. Just because one calls oneself a Christian doesn't really count for much per se.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Actually, the Church Fathers regarded 'ha-satan' ('the accuser') as a servant of God, not the opposition. Just like in the book of Job, it was God's prerogative to test people, and 'ha-satan' was one of his chosen agents for doing so. The emphasis on a truly opposing power seems to have arisen as a way to compensate for the appeal of Manichaeism, which was a real competitor to Christianity in the early days before they got an Emperor to assign their religion as the State religion. The famous title of the devil "Prince of Darkness" is actually the title of the evil god of Manichaeism.
Tolkien makes the correct point very will, even in his vile opposition he unwillingly serves God's purposes. The Christian Church and faith did not need some Emperor to declare the truth. The Church and the Saints are not dependent on heresies and false religions for their terminology nor for their theology. The Church not some merely human institution, like a political party or some ideology invented by the human mind.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Tolkien did not need some "influence" to designate Sauron or Morgoth as Dark Lords. It is inherent in his whole imagery of Light vs Shadow and Dark. The Light of Valinor... the Two Trees... the Silmarils... stars... iridescent Elves... Moria... Black Riders... Mordor's dark cloud... Orcs and Gollum who hate sun and moon... Reducing creative artists to influences is really often just a rabbit hole to nonsense. Not really very illuminating (pun intended).
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
This is quite too much for me at this point.Of course within christianity there were and are different ideas, concepts and doctrines.Who is to say which is right or wrong.When talking about it i prefer to talk about a specific author or teacher and a specified timeframe. Personally i tend towards they are all "wrong" and the early jews were right, or maybe some of the more clever pagans.But that doesn't help me with understanding Tolkien or his idea of a dark lord.I tend towards thinking he did the transition of a dark lord corporeal, like in early literature or mythology, towards a dark lord entrapped or purely spiritual on purpose to show an evolution of these ideas, but i may be wrong.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
There are some really complicated issues when it comes to understand ideas of ‘angels’ and other Biblical spiritual beings. I hope this YouTube playlist might act as a helpful device to understand the Biblical worldview on the authors’ terms. If you want to unpack what is briefly touched on here, I do recommend the associated podcast cast episodes which unpack it in far greater detail. That’s where I’ll leave the matter:

 

Timdalf

Active Member
I, for one, don't see what the problem is about Tolkien and his mythological figures of Morgoth or Sauron. They are Lords of Darkeness or Shadow because they are evil. Evil cloaks itself in darkness because it works evil and has to hide that. This is so simple every child understands it. It is making evil's nature visible. Light reveals truth. Darkness conceals it. Evil cannot admit to the truth.

As for what Christianity is. It is a statement of facts, as listed in the Nicene Creed. Facts about Who God is and what He has accomplished and how He relates to humankind. Those facts are narrated in the Four Gospels and commented on by the Epistles. For a further elucidation of those incredibly well attested writings consult the great Fathers and Seven Councils of the Church, St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and especially the Commentaries of St. Theophylact of Bulgaria who collated them all. This is available in English now. God has made Himself and His will known in great clarity through these Saints. It is not complicated. It is coherent and complete. It is right and true. The Old Testament and New are in perfect harmony which is clarified by the great Fathers in their writings. If you want to understand the angelic beings read The Celestial Hierarchy by St. Dionysius the Areopagite. And his the Divine Names, the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, Mystical Theology. If you find any of this difficult to understand, it means you are not yet ready to read it. If you follow the life and practice of the Orthodox Church, you will prepare yours heart, mind and soul to do so. You will learn there are three levels of knowledge and you will achieve them. There is knowledge according to the body, according to the soul, and according to the spirit. Scholars and scientists, historians are on the first level. See Homily #52 & 53 of the Ascetic Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian. Artists and thinkers are on the second. But the Saints who have purified their mental and spiritual eyes are on the third. Again, these things are not really complicated, they are obvious and self-evident.
 
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Timdalf

Active Member
There are some really complicated issues when it comes to understand ideas of ‘angels’ and other Biblical spiritual beings. I hope this YouTube playlist might act as a helpful device to understand the Biblical worldview on the authors’ terms. If you want to unpack what is briefly touched on here, I do recommend the associated podcast cast episodes which unpack it in far greater detail. That’s where I’ll leave the matter:

Who are these people, where do they come from. What are their qualifications. What is their spiritual authority. This looks very much to be a pop Prot kind of thing. The basic problem with Prots is that they are characterized, identified not by faith, but by what they DON'T believe: Saints, Church, Sacraments, Tradition, tc. etc. Their typical doctrine of Sola Scriptura is bogus. The Bible exists only because the Church Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council compiled it. Without the Church of the Fathers and Saints there is no Bible. Prots rebel against the Church as such (that is, as concrete, real entity in time and space with definable borders and identity, teachings) because the Roman papacy so distorted the teachings and traditions of the Apostles, Fathers and Saints (via the Roman Papacy relying on Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas and on down through the centuries) and the Prots rejected those distortions (errors) but made even worse ones. The authoritarianism of Rome is not cured by a counter authoritarianism of the Prot's Bible. Are these Bible project laymen reading and listening to the Biblical commentaries of the great Fathers? I doubt it. So I will stay with the Saints, not these self-appointed folks with their myriad of what 2 Peter 1:20 calls "private interpretation." Their Bible itself rejects Prot individualism. Countering the one man rule of the popes is not corrected by having millions of one man rulers - Prot individual interpretation.
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I am not interested in discussing orthodox theology at any point.JRRT wasn't orthodox, he was catholic ,i am fine with discussing his mythology within the context of his own theology which is very classic catholic.Personally i am a naturalist, but i try to put aside my own worldviews when discussing other peoples ideas.Taking my own ideas and putting them inside JRRTS (or anybody elses) concepts doesn't help with anything ever.

As for the dark lord, i do not know satan personally as far as i can see but i also do believe he , given the theory he existed as a person not just an idea or part of the human psyche, is evil and is so because he wants to and he does know god is right and he himself is wrong.

But biblical Satan and Morgoth the literary character are two different people. I am not totally convinced about Morgoth... does he know he is wrong and eru is right? His pride certainly convinced him that cannot be true i think, or maybe he deep inside knows he is wrong and eru is right and he is just into it because of his bruised ego and his lust for destruction and mayhem. I do not understand the use of the term liberal in this context, it is an abused and misunderstood term anyway, it may mean everything and nothing nowadays it often seems to me.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
I omit the quote for lack of space. I never said, don't study the Bible. I said listen to those who have for 2000 years.
Trained by whom? You don't ask pertinent questions. Why?
Sorry, but Bible Only Christianity is not really Christianity except in its own eyes. The Apostles, Fathers and Saints were not Bible Only Prots. It is an over reaction to RC distortions and errors improperly understood. My complaint is against ignorance. You want to study the Bible texts. Fine, but first study those who for 2000 years have understood them not as linguistic exercises, but have actually spoken through the centuries with the Writers of Scripture. There is a supernatural dimension to the Bible, a Community that wrote and compiled it and authorized it. Why ignore or set oneself up as sole interpreter of the text? Far wiser men (that is, enlightened by the Holy Spirit of the Trinity) have given us the correct way to understand and approach it. If one is ignorant of that and intentionally so, what does that say about one? They are the ones who are "preaching" limited, subjective, private (ie,personal) views of what the text says. And this is about salvation, our salvation, each of us and all of us. Not about various data points here and there. If they care so little about the Tradition of Patristic Orthodox (that is, right believing) understanding of Scripture, that tells me they are not qualified no matter how smart or informed they think they are. In a nutshell, if they are not in the Orthodox Church and listening to the Saints, they are not worth bothering with. Time is short and eternity is the goal, not scholarship that limits itself to some recent ideology limited by history and local culture. Again, why listen to the ignorant? I recommend the Fathers. I reject ignorance of them. It's that simple. Prove me wrong, not on the basis of some pluralistic ideology that condones anything and everything. This is a dangerous (to themselves first of all) and half-baked approach. It lacks discriminatory values. Not every writer of every commentary is really in harmony with the Community (the Church) that wrote and compiled the Scriptures. The Scriptures are not just the Bible. Read the Fathers and learn that for yourself. That you object to that is telling and vitiates against your claim of open mindedness. I was not born Orthodox. I began to realize its supreme commitment to the whole of Divine Truth and then decided to follow it further. I thus learned how and why the "Christianity" of the Western churches are so distorted and flawed. Try it for yourself, and tell me where it is wrong. That seems a very sensible and consistent invitation. The Scritures -- biblical and patristic -- are coherent and at core very simple. The task is not to understand them, but to live them. One cannot do that alone, but only with the help of the Grace-filled Divine Mysteries of the Church and her Saints. Read the Fathers and become immersed in the waters of the Orthodox Church. You will learn much and never regret it. Very simple. Take it from one who came from a diametrically opposed ideology.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Omitted for lack of space.
Yes, but as usual things are not so simple. I see many things in Tolkien's life that indicate he was more than just another Roman Catholic artist and academic. Why, for example, does he basically set his masterpiece in a cultural milieu that obviously is one parallel to that of the period of 400-900. say... the period when the West was still part of the Church? Why does he refrain from overt theological elements and largely create a masterpiece of ethics? His main methodology is that of trying to recapture the original deeper stories. In his scholarly and his artistic work. This to me, bespeaks of a degree of dissatisfaction with the rationalist academic approach. An approach molded mostly by Scholasticism. His approach was to devise the ground of the stories and "imagine" the "original"... perhaps he sensed that the Original of Western European and English culture lay where it does... in the world view of the Fathers and he was searching by intuition to rediscover it, revive it. His closest colleague for so long was considering Orthodoxy at the final part of his life. CSL had frequent Thursday teas with a Russian Orthodox scholar. Something is stirring in Tolkien that conscious Catholicism does not account for. I sense this in other great thinkers and artists of the past century or so. Heidegger, Wagner, ... They all seem to strive -- albeit perhaps unknowingly -- seeking to penetrate back behind the limitations of Western European culture of the past 1000 or so years and rediscover a profounder and more positive alternative. I am only following in their footsteps intuitively rediscovering the Original, too.
As for Morgoth and the Christian satan... Well, they have to have a lot in common, otherwise what is the point of the former? The same goes for Eru and the Christian God of Trinity... if they diverge then that is very revealing of Tolkien's odd limitations, to put it bluntly. Fantasy -- or "speculative" literature, if you like -- must have -- as Tolkien says -- applicability. How much, may depend on one's grasp of the truth. Or willingness to do so.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Dear Timdalf,

Tolkien certainly knew the basic of the Orthodox teaching (as important factor in the early medieval Europe's history) but I do not know of any sources that mentioned any special appreciation for it on his part. But I do assume from the whole of his attitude towards similar matters mentioned in his letters that he has recited his Credo with the Filioque included with his full conviction.
 
I want to here just acknowledge my appreciation for Rob Harding's and Haerangil's statements. Rob's for I think correctly identifying that this is not a religious forum, but a literary one and so regardless of the theological implications of various readings of the biblical texts, I think the important point is that when we discuss historic texts, to understand the various interpretations and their relevance to future tinkers. I am less interested in determining truth here in this forum than understanding the breadth of the interpretive/scholarly milieu, especially in regards to what Tolkien himself may have known when he wrote his Legendarium.

Haerengil's points that we both a) should primarily focus on the Catholicism of Tolkien's faith when exploring Tolkien's text under a religious lens, and b) identifying that in a literary sense Morgoth and Satan are two separate Characters and we should treat them as such, I find especially helpful. to point A, i find it helpful in the sense that it allows us a framework where we can see both the influence that we know to exist from biographical knowledge to guide our readings and to give us a better framework to see where Tolkiens literary creations diverge from his religious influences. in point B we see the important distinction that we should treat each text separately and (in Corey's stated method) use the text itself to explain the text. To attribute all of Satan/The Devil/the Accuser's history, power and abilities to Morgoth or Sauron would be wholly disingenuous, and helpful in discerning what actual properties these literary figures have. For a simple example the fact that Morgoth pours his power into Arda in the beginning of Arda and thus Marring it, is very different from any tradition I know of in terms of Satan, he may have influence over Principalities and Powers of this world, but that is not the same as Arda marred.

And Timdalf, as I was writing this you responded to Haerengil saying "As for Morgoth and the Christian satan... Well, they have to have a lot in common, otherwise what is the point of the former?, " and responding that this is what you see as Tolkien's concept of "Applicability," which I must say I find a poor misrepresentation of Tolkien's Concept. To claim Morgoth has no point other than as a Satan Analogue would be (in my opinion) very similar to claiming Morgoth is an Allegory of Satan, which is expressly what Tolkien's idea of applicability was meant to counteract. "Applicability" in Tolkien's usage allows us the readers to see in the Character of Mogoth parallels (to other characters or stories) where we find them but doesn't mean that Morgoth is only useful in the context as a Devil figure. Morgoth is also an evil creative genius who devises weapons of mass destruction (dragons) and devises corrupt creatures (orcs), and also has to deal with other equally dark creatures (Ungoliant) which are aspects not typically associated with Satan, or not as strongly. so while I agree that the lens of "Morgoth as Devil" is a strong lens to view Morgoth through, I am equally free to look at Morgoth through other lenses that see deviations from that particular reading.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
OK, your criticisms deserve a thorough reply. And I admit this is a bit off the topic as well raised by Ever Beyond Reason... Namely, what are the antecedents for Morgoth/Sauron? Answer from me (for what it's worth!): Christian concepts of the evil one... But to what extent?....

Sit back with a comforting libation, fellow hobbits. This is LONG! And probably tedious for sensible folks like you. But here goes.

Let me try to explain my problems with Tolkien’s imagery, his mythology better than I obviously have so far.

First, as to the charge of holier-than-thou. . . I am now and for many decades (but not all my life) been a striving member of the Orthodox Church not because I am so special, but because I am not! I am here to be cured of my spiritual ailments. Just as one attends a college course to improve one’s knowledge and grasp of that knowledge and methods to that end, because life in the Orthodox Church is a course in learning the facts of Christianity and how to live by them. During a long term of inquiry and search I am sure that what it teaches in doctrine and life is full and correct, and the Western churches are not. I can give you plenty of evidence to back that up as what they have gotten wrong, why and how. Or I can refer you to those who can do it better than I. But enough on that for now.

Now, as to Morgoth/Sauron vs the Christian evil one. . . Let’s begin at the beginning. What is it about allegory that Tolkien finds wrong? Not allegory itself – as we know he uses it brilliantly in Leaf by Niggle. But because it is really focused on the primary reality to which an allegory refers, the story in the allegory loses its punch, its effectiveness. It is not involving. What is important and the central focus is not the images of the allegory, but what they refer to.

But my critique is not merely that the image of Morgoth/Sauron is inaccurate, but that it is weak. That image is of a worldly conqueror with armies occupying territory and a conqueror who uses terrorism and cruelty. Who creates ugliness and harsh conditions, “marring Arda”. But is this really sufficient? Even if we put their darkening of Middle-earth into the bargain, in other words cutting off the light of Valinor, destroying those bearers of that light, the Elves. We have very physical images of wrongness. But the Christian evil one is far more insidious. He seeks to destroy salvation itself. Now salvation can be imaged as light. . . in other words knowledge. But there is another dimension to it: and that is its change in the very nature of mankind, as both a community (I don’t like words like collectively) and as individuals. Here Tolkien in devising his image of a corrupting Ring that poisons the soul is much better than his image of Sauron as a world dominator. Yes, the evil demons want to dominate, but for a purpose. To separate us from our true destiny to be at one with the good holiness of God. Thus I think Tolkien improved his image of a central powerful destroying evil figure as he developed his story of The Lord of the Rings. As we know he did not start out with the One Ring as being this evil. That came to him gradually as he worked out who the hobbits in their sequel journey were dealing with: first an encounter with Gandalf, then tis became one with hBlack Riders, then Black Riders after a ring, then a Ring of “altogether evil”. I have a theory that CSL played a role in this progression of making the fairy tale of Bilbo into the epic hero story of Frodo and Sam. I also suspect Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung (long admired by CSL) played a crucial but implicit role in this process. The concept of a world dominating and corrupting Ring is not found in the sources, the Eddas, the Volsunga Saga, Beowulf, the Nibelungenlied, the Kalevala, etc. It is an original invention of Wagner. This theory is not yet part of the consensus on Tolkien, but it has been seconded to me by one scholar of the Inklings. There is quite extensive circumstantial evidence to this. But I digress.

So I do not think it is allegorizing Sauron or Morgoth to expect them to be evil in the way satan and his demons are evil. They already have conquered the world. They are referred to as the Prince of This World. They are up to much more than that.

What follows may seem to deserve a separate thread, but bear with me, I will tie it together before the finish.

I also have problems with the conception of the Elves as “immortal” – i.e., long lived so long as Arda exists. The Christian conception of mortality is inextricably bound up with human corruptibility, with the human race as a single entity, or vast family. The first humans fell away from God, the Source of life and well-being. Thus all creation fell into corruptibility and mortality because we are at the head of this creation. This is, by the way, very different from the Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin, or Inherited Guilt (to use a more precise term). Mortality is a blessing according to the Church Fathers, not a “curse” of an offended ego-centric god. It makes possible the cessation of a life of torment by the passion (the vices) and the transformation of the whole of human nature to its original destiny. It however is not a blessing because it necessitates the Incarnation, as Augustine claimed. The Fathers point out that would have happened whether man fell or not -- to enable the full transformation of human nature which can only happen through the union of human nature with the Divine nature.

The problem arises in that the Elves ARE fallen. . . the kinslaying, the obsession with the Silmarils, their numerous and sundry hostilities among themselves are falls – their communal fall being alienation from the Valar and Valinor. Yet there is no effect of this on their longevity. I simply think Tolkien, working within the Augustinian/Anselmian – RC/Prot – conception of Original Sin and mortality as a punishment by Divine justice, not as a curative therapy as the Fathers deem it – and the Incarnation as not inherently and primarily a transformation of human nature by union with the Divine nature – but as just some payment to Divine justice (Vicarious Substitionary Atonement/Satisfaction) – Tolkien did not understand this connection and so did not connect mortality as the natural (!) consequence of the fall into sin (into animosity, hostility to both God and fellow men/Elves). Thus he did not depict the central harm done to the Elves (and Men, and Dwarves) as being a campaign by Morgoth or Sauron to separate these peoples from the Valar, but merely to conquer and dominate them and their world.

This is thus a flaw in the nature of his mythology, his legendarium and how it is constructed. Not an issue of allegorizing. It makes his legendarium largely inapplicable (!) to the actual human condition. I suspect that is the core reason why he never really finished, perfected the Silmarillion. There is a root flaw in its conceptualization. It doesn’t work. Longevity cannot happen to a fallen race. While Tolkien steered clear of overt theological issues, this is too basic to the entire state of actual creation – human, animal, arboreal, mineral – to be not expressed in a profound legendarium dealing, as he himself said it did and sought to do, with mortality and immortality. The problems of the interdependence of evil and mortality are too obvious to be thus misconstrued.

This is not to say that, in The Lord of the Rings, he did solve one of the central long term problems of Western thinking (initiated by Augustine again): the issue of free will and Providence. Put simply, Providence structures the situations to which free will must respond, either rightly or wrongly. The famous dictum of Gandalf says exactly that. Yours is not to decide what time you live in, but only to decide what to do with the time that is given you. This central theme, THE central theme, of LotR is what makes it a great and watershed work in Western culture -- as I see it.

Had Tolkien written to the extent that the Elves too have to wrestle with mortality (don’t ask me how to present this, I am no mythologist) and that it was the consequence of their leaving Valinor and/or refusing the invitation to return, then he might have created a legendarium applicable to us. As it is it remains irrelevant in an essential aspect. A mere adventure yarn, perhaps.

But maybe I have it all wrong. . . You’ll all let me know, straightway, surely!! Have at me.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Allright, this critique i can understand.I can even share it to a degree as my personal faith and idea of evil also differs much from the cosmology in the legendarium.But i still like it for what it is and i still respect Tolkien's writings for the philosophy HE had, even if it is not mine.

The idea of incarnate demons who command armies of sick miscreants and delluded men i like for stories, literature.If i took them for realistic i'd also find them very weak.But i don't.Middle earth or Arda is not the real world, it is our world in an age of Mythology, and therein i am quite fine with the dark lords as corporeal evil -they also are to become incorporeal evil through the events of the stories.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
This is thus a flaw in the nature of his mythology, his legendarium and how it is constructed. Not an issue of allegorizing. It makes his legendarium largely inapplicable (!) to the actual human condition. I suspect that is the core reason why he never really finished, perfected the Silmarillion. There is a root flaw in its conceptualization. It doesn’t work. Longevity cannot happen to a fallen race.
I actualy think it could- there many really long-lived animals in this fallen world.
But it actully is a tragedy and ends in a tormented existence at the very end - which some elves seem to be aware of, but most do not think about much in their daily life.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
This is thus a flaw in the nature of his mythology, his legendarium and how it is constructed. Not an issue of allegorizing. It makes his legendarium largely inapplicable (!) to the actual human condition. I suspect that is the core reason why he never really finished, perfected the Silmarillion. There is a root flaw in its conceptualization. It doesn’t work. Longevity cannot happen to a fallen race. While Tolkien steered clear of overt theological issues, this is too basic to the entire state of actual creation – human, animal, arboreal, mineral – to be not expressed in a profound legendarium dealing, as he himself said it did and sought to do, with mortality and immortality. The problems of the interdependence of evil and mortality are too obvious to be thus misconstrued.


[/QUOTE]

Hi Timdalf,

But what if Elves are not a fallen race? I think this may be JRRT's supposition. Man is kicked out of the Garden of Eden after falling. Elves are invited in to the Garden of Eden to protect their un-fallen state. (Not to say that Elves cannot fall. But most are unfallen.)

For much lengthier discussion on this hypothesis, go back to the post in 'Questions for Narnion' on this forum titled 'Strangers in Strange Lands' from January 2020.
 
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