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(Washington Post)   Why "The Hobbit" is a Christian film   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 24
    More: Interesting, Christian film, Nordic countries, Lexington, Kentucky, C.S. Lewis, liberal arts colleges, subtext  
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4865 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 15 Dec 2012 at 9:22 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-12-15 09:48:44 PM
7 votes:
Time to pull this out again:

"I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history - true or feigned- with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse applicability with allegory, but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author." - JRR Tolkien

No, neither The Hobbit nor The LOTR is an allegory for the Bible or for World War II or for communism or your burnt popcorn, for that matter. Get over it.
2012-12-15 08:58:58 PM
4 votes:
I'd follow Gandalf or Aslan over most of the bible.

They kick ass and are intelligently designed.
2012-12-15 08:27:23 PM
3 votes:
Because Jesus Christ, how long can you stretch this story out?
2012-12-15 11:04:38 PM
2 votes:

Gyrfalcon: Yes, with all the Norse themes and Celtic imagery, it's easy to see the Christian basis in there.

....why do people keep trying?


Great Janitor: Is it a Christian film? Well, I saw it and nothing biblical occurred to me. Especially the brown wizard who was played by Doctor Who, who seemed more like a Druid (nature worshipper who uses earth based magic and is more concerned with the health of the forest than anything else) than as anything Christian.

Personally, I hate it when people look to popular movies or stories to prove that the story or characters are Christian tales or characters.


The Wizards have been explicitly stated by Tolkien to be minor spirits, the Maiar, in the guise of old men. The Maiar, along with their greater brethren, the Valar, were created by the Illuvitar, the one true god. See the Judeo-Christian influence? Two levels of angel under an omniscient god. Tolkien wrote his stories as if humans mistook the lesser agents of an almighty god for gods themselves.

To go further, ancient Jewish, Christian, and especially Muslim tradition assigns specific colors to angels. If you notice, the Wizards are all assigned a color. This is not an accident. The Wizards, as spirits, are equated with angels.

Tolkien stated that much of his story world came of his desire to reconcile his love of Nordic myth with his Catholic faith. So yes, the stories are heavily influenced by Christian and Catholic ideas. You should also note the dates used in LoTR; they are frequently associated with traditional dates used in the Catholic calendar, especially March 25.
2012-12-15 10:17:40 PM
2 votes:
Tolkien may have been a devout Christian, but he was also extremely opposed to the idea that his stories contained any sort of allegory, so I'm gonna go with "no" on this one.
2012-12-15 10:04:07 PM
2 votes:
Tolkien was indeed a devout Catholic and one can certainly see that influence in the cosmology of Middle Earth as well as numerous mythological elements (particularly Eru Illuvatar as an expy of Yahweh), but beyond that it's not very prominent.

It's very Hero's Journey, with an extra splash of homespun Hobbityness, not Christian allegory.
2012-12-15 09:46:14 PM
2 votes:
Is it a Christian film? Well, I saw it and nothing biblical occurred to me. Especially the brown wizard who was played by Doctor Who, who seemed more like a Druid (nature worshipper who uses earth based magic and is more concerned with the health of the forest than anything else) than as anything Christian.

Personally, I hate it when people look to popular movies or stories to prove that the story or characters are Christian tales or characters.
2012-12-15 09:46:05 PM
2 votes:
I would contend that the bible, and Christianity in general, is a fairy tale. The Brothers Grimm did it better...
2012-12-15 09:32:25 PM
2 votes:
Only in the sense that Tolkien wrote fiction that reflected his worldview. You can't separate Tolkien's faith from his work because you can't separate his faith from his life. His work is going to reflect that because it was important to him, just like his work reflects his love of nature and his belief that industrialized factories were dehumanizing.
2012-12-15 09:00:08 PM
2 votes:

Lsherm: Tolkein was a staunch Catholic, but he wasn't particularly overt in his books. Well, as long as you don't count all the goddamn singing his characters do.


I don't view them as religious stories, except in that Tolkien's religion would have informed his world view and his sense of what is right and what is wrong. Frodo and Bilbo are not allegorical Jesuses (Jesii?) they're more along the lines of Joseph Campbell's hero with a thousand faces.
2012-12-16 05:59:28 PM
1 votes:

Phil Moskowitz: Headlines like this make me want to cut the cord to my cable modem. I think anything with "Christian" in it makes me physically ill.


snarkerati.com
2012-12-16 11:33:21 AM
1 votes:
Tolkien was a world builder more than anything.

He made up a bunch of shiat that many people enjoy and have fun with.

Wish people could treat the bible the same way but there isnt as much fun in it.
2012-12-16 07:57:48 AM
1 votes:

thisispete: urban.derelict: Because Catholics and the RCC take what they want, force you to convert at swordpoint (or kill you if you refused) and then call it their own?

[lh4.googleusercontent.com image 220x269][lh3.googleusercontent.com image 214x252][lh4.googleusercontent.com image 217x207]
/WAIT TIL I TELL YOU ABOUT EASTER...

Conversion didn't happen by the sword in Western Europe. It happened via missionaries. There's a great episode of Hardcore History about this. Basically, if the king converted, everyone else converted too. But there was a very weird amalgam in early Christianity between the old traditions and the new with depictions of a warrior Christ in place of similar warlike pagan gods. It also made sense to keep the holidays. Basing them on the solstice, like Christmas/Yule/Saturnalia/Sol Invictus makes sense in a society where there isn't much literacy or many calendars, but everyone can see the sky.

The metaphor of reaching the lowest point in the year and the days starting to lengthen is also to be noted. There are obvious fertility parallels in Easter around Spring with its idea of resurrection after death. There's also some scriptural basis in its link with the Jewish festival of Passover and the timing of Easter, but again it falls on the Sunday following the first full moon that falls on or after the spring equinox and when calendars were rare, this was probably the most reliable way that communities throughout Christendom were on the same page.

The transition between paganism and Christianity was a gradual one and not an overwhelming revolution, so older traditions evolved and adopted new meanings. A new religion probably will find it difficult to succeed if they get rid of the festivals and piss ups enjoyed by previous generations. The Puritans outlawed Christmas when they were in charge in Britain, and the monarchy was swiftly restored after Cromwell's death.


Easter is literally the name of a pagan fertility goddess. OEstre? The festival was literally her holy day. "Parallels" my ass; this is co-option. Then there are the early saints which, thanks to the Irish and their written records, we know were primarily local and minor pagan deities re-purposed as Christian figures. Christianity spread in Europe by basically becoming a very hypocritical version of the already existing pagan belief systems that insisted -"no really"- it was monotheistic while abandoning everything that made it that. Even the most central tenets of Christianity -like the three-in-one male god, and a perfect, timeless deity- were directly taken from the two major groups of early Greek converts; the Pythagoreans and the Platonics/Zeus-one-and-only cults. And in the case of the very abstract three-in-one god of the Pythagoreans, that itself is taken from even earlier pagan beliefs; either the three-in-one female deities which Indo-European religions all over are absolutely filled with, or the possible cthonic triune god of Hades-Pluton-Dionysus (and does it really need to be pointed out that Their wife, Persephone, is an eternally virginal goddess, or that of the three, only Pluton has a story suggesting conventional birth?).

As to violence, while it wasn't the only driver of conversion it was hardly absent; histories from the various conversion periods are filled with the trashing of pagan temples, the killing of pagan priests, the burning of pagan texts, and in central Europe, the chopping down of holy trees (the last one's even a major event in the Charlemagne epics). People didn't just shrug their shoulders and start calling themselves Christians when their local warlord declared himself so, and convincing them was rarely an entirely peaceably affair. Heck, in the British Isle just deciding what brand of Christianity would predominate led to bloodshed, a conflict that played a major role in creating a rivalry between the English and various Celtic thrones that would last for centuries. Then there are the "fairy tales" and their explanation of the "practical religion" of commoners which, while hardly evidence of anything directly, certainly suggest an animosity between the old and new in their structure and content. Why would Europeans from the conversion periods have felt the need to hide all those old idols we've found cosseted away over the decades if there was nothing to fear from showing them?
2012-12-16 02:32:08 AM
1 votes:
Actually this article is kind of refreshing. I expect to hear Christians going on about how LOTR promotes an evil satanic message.
2012-12-16 02:07:07 AM
1 votes:

urban.derelict: Because Catholics and the RCC take what they want, force you to convert at swordpoint (or kill you if you refused) and then call it their own?

[lh4.googleusercontent.com image 220x269][lh3.googleusercontent.com image 214x252][lh4.googleusercontent.com image 217x207]
/WAIT TIL I TELL YOU ABOUT EASTER...


Conversion didn't happen by the sword in Western Europe. It happened via missionaries. There's a great episode of Hardcore History about this. Basically, if the king converted, everyone else converted too. But there was a very weird amalgam in early Christianity between the old traditions and the new with depictions of a warrior Christ in place of similar warlike pagan gods. It also made sense to keep the holidays. Basing them on the solstice, like Christmas/Yule/Saturnalia/Sol Invictus makes sense in a society where there isn't much literacy or many calendars, but everyone can see the sky.

The metaphor of reaching the lowest point in the year and the days starting to lengthen is also to be noted. There are obvious fertility parallels in Easter around Spring with its idea of resurrection after death. There's also some scriptural basis in its link with the Jewish festival of Passover and the timing of Easter, but again it falls on the Sunday following the first full moon that falls on or after the spring equinox and when calendars were rare, this was probably the most reliable way that communities throughout Christendom were on the same page.

The transition between paganism and Christianity was a gradual one and not an overwhelming revolution, so older traditions evolved and adopted new meanings. A new religion probably will find it difficult to succeed if they get rid of the festivals and piss ups enjoyed by previous generations. The Puritans outlawed Christmas when they were in charge in Britain, and the monarchy was swiftly restored after Cromwell's death.
2012-12-16 01:34:08 AM
1 votes:

Because Catholics and the RCC take what they want, force you to convert at swordpoint (or kill you if you refused) and then call it their own?

lh4.googleusercontent.comlh3.googleusercontent.comlh4.googleusercontent.com

/WAIT TIL I TELL YOU ABOUT EASTER...
2012-12-15 11:03:13 PM
1 votes:
Don't worry guys. If The Hobbit is too boring I'm sure Michael Bay is working on something that'll be more your speed.
2012-12-15 10:55:13 PM
1 votes:
<b><a href="http://www.fark.com/comments/7488192/81309491#c81309491" target="_blank">b2theory</a>:</b> <i>I think I recall that C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and G. K. Chesterton were drinking buddies.</i>

Call it an inkling, if you will.
2012-12-15 09:48:35 PM
1 votes:
"an everyman who has no ability, a total dolt who has no skills," as Jane Chance, professor emeritus of English at Rice University and editor of "Tolkien and the Invention of Myth," put it.

The hell you say.

Bilbo made a mean batch of seed cakes and put together one hell of a spread on the shortest possible notice. And he had a cellar for his beer, which makes him aces in my book right off the bat.
2012-12-15 09:42:12 PM
1 votes:

fusillade762: Pfft! Next thing you'll be trying to tell me The Chronicles of Narnia is some kind of Christian allegory.


It's not. C.S. Lewis specifically asserted that while he was playing with Christian themes, Narnia was not to be read as allegory but rather as a fairy tale. The Narnia books are Lewis playing around with Tolkien's assertion, in his academic writing, that fairy tales follow the same basic framework and themes of the gospel story.
2012-12-15 09:29:14 PM
1 votes:
Yes, with all the Norse themes and Celtic imagery, it's easy to see the Christian basis in there.

....why do people keep trying?
2012-12-15 09:02:43 PM
1 votes:

AverageAmericanGuy: And let's face it, Tolkein was a pretty boring storyteller.


I tried reading The Hobbit in middle school. I didn't get very far before I was bored out of my skull. I preferred Stephen King and Michael Crichton over Tolkein.
2012-12-15 08:48:24 PM
1 votes:
So was all the shiat that CS Lewis wrote. So what? The question is whether it's a good story or not.

And let's face it, Tolkein was a pretty boring storyteller.
2012-12-15 08:22:34 PM
1 votes:
Tolkein was a staunch Catholic, but he wasn't particularly overt in his books. Well, as long as you don't count all the goddamn singing his characters do.
 
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