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grumbaki
09-03-2010, 15:55
I was reading wikipedia, and I came across this:

"According to The History of the Hobbit, Tolkien was now influenced by his own selective reading of medieval texts regarding the Jewish people and their history.[5] The dwarves' characteristics of being dispossessed of their homeland (the Lonely Mountain, their ancestral home, is the goal the exiled Dwarves seek to reclaim), and living among other groups whilst retaining their own culture are all derived from the medieval image of Jews,[5][6] whilst their warlike nature stems from accounts in the Hebrew Bible.[5] Medieval views of Jews also saw them as having a propensity for making well-crafted and beautiful things,[5] a trait shared with Norse dwarves.[4]...The Dwarven calendar invented for The Hobbit reflects the Jewish calendar in beginning in late autumn.[5] The dwarves taking Bilbo out of his complacent existence has been seen as an eloquent metaphor for the "impoverishment of Western society without Jews."[6]"

I've seen that some people here are pretty well read in regard to Tolkien and his works. Does this strike any of you as likely? I had personally seen the connection before, but I never thought that it was something that was conscious. Also, please no anti-semitism. I'd hate to see this thread closed.

yabbadabba
09-03-2010, 19:15
First I have ever seen of this mate. I'll try and look into it.

Maximilian
09-03-2010, 19:19
Many Dwarves, such as those of the Lonely Mountain, having to leave their homeland does, I suppose, make the Dwarves in some way similar to Jews. However, there are plenty of other peoples, both in reality and fantasy, who have also had to do this. I can’t at the moment see any particular similarities between how exactly Dwarves leave or are driven from their homeland and the experience of Jews.

I’ve always thought that Tolkienian Dwarves’ main inspiration is certainly the Dwarfs of Germanic myths, but they surely do have other inspirations and it sounds credible to me that accounts of people who made beautiful things influenced their development.

Due to my near total ignorance of calendars, I’m not in the best position to comment in the similarity between the Dwarf and Jewish calendar ... but, it seems to me possible that Tolkien could have been influenced by the Jewish calendar without selecting it deliberately to make any links between Dwarfs and Jews and Tolkien did spend time time devising several different calendars, so it wouldn’t be that surprising if one of them resembled the Jewish calendar in some way.

To be entirely honest, my initial reaction to the idea that the Dwarves meeting Bilbo parallels Jews’ contributions to Western society is that it’s highly unlikely, though I suppose it’s not impossible that Tolkien wished the Dwarves’ skill to parallel that mentioned in medieval accounts of Jews. To be honest, I’m really surprised by this idea, but it is an interesting suggestion at the least.

My sum total of Tolkien in connection with Jews before reading this came from something in my book of Tolkien’s letters: a letter in which Tolkien replied to a request (if I remember rightly) from a German publisher wanting to publish the Hobbit in the Nazi period. Tolkien was asked to prove he was a ‘pure Aryan’ or something similarly ridiculous and I’m sure he replied that he was sad that he had no knowledge of having any Jewish ancestors and referred to the the Jews as ‘that most gifted race’ (I’d better try to find this), which suggests not only that Tolkien was not tainted by anti-Semitism but also that he regarded Jews as gifted, which maybe support the idea that that he was influenced by the idea of Jews being great craftsmen like his Dwarves and Norse Dwarfs.

Condottiere
09-03-2010, 19:38
The possibility exists, though which tradition Tolkien would have chosen, assuming he consciously modeled the Dwarven race on the Jews, seems a little vague. Certainly not Shakespeare nor other Renaissance and Baroque influences.

Verm1s
09-03-2010, 20:27
Yup. Tolkien made the comparison in a 1965 BBC interview (according to John D. Rateliff (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_The_Hobbit): your first five wiki points are also mentioned by him) and in Letters #229.

Festus
10-03-2010, 12:50
Hi

Even the Language of the Dwarves, Khuzdul, is closely modelled on the Hebrew language as it is a language of Radicals as well (linguistic radicals, not political ones, mind).
So you are certainly right in your assessment.

Greetings
Festus

Col. Tartleton
11-03-2010, 03:40
Technically the Noldor are Norse Dwarves. The Deep Elves actually seem to be more in line with those themes. The term Dwarf derives from a word that translates better as Dark Elf then stunty. Dark Elf being that they have more death culture (black hair, unhealthy pallor, live beneath the earth etc) whereas the light elves of Alfheim are radiant with vitality and light and live above the earth.

Tolkiens Dwarves aren't true Norse Dwarves, but more like the Gnomes they merged with in popular culture. Beings of earth bearded, short, but with the craftsmanship of the Dwarves.

I don't think his dwarves are deliberately Jews, but they are a similar sort of people thematically. He leaves religion out of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit by and large. But there are enough similarities to make me wonder. He was certainly not anti semetic so it's all quite possible he incorporated Jews as his unbreakable race (since Jews have survived a tumultuous history its only fitting) of dwarves. Stubborn, set in their ways, orthodox. I don't have trouble seeing it, but that opens up the story to more interpretation then was needed.

Tolkien I think was writing what it says. A really big complex epic saga worthy of any Norse bard. It had a lot of themes within it, but I don't think it was an analogy to the real world as much as a reflection on adapting the Saga into Fantasy to create a modern day Beowulf. Religion and Race disputes aren't in the story. If they were there'd be more focus on the orks as dimensional characters instead of fodder.

Just my Opinion of course.

tezdal
11-03-2010, 18:00
If dwarves are Jews, Lonely Mountain is Israel, what does that make Smaug?

TitusAndronicus
11-03-2010, 23:08
Phaeroh? your message is to short...

Dragon Prince of Caledor
12-03-2010, 03:31
lol I think Tolkien would be mortified if he was reading this. Not because any of the above is untrue in its essence but that one to one translations do not work for Tolkien as far as his universe is concerned relative to ours....
Take it easy :)

Verm1s
12-03-2010, 14:54
... Despite the fact that he mentioned the connection himself?

metro_gnome
12-03-2010, 16:11
If dwarves are Jews, Lonely Mountain is Israel, what does that make Smaug?well no... Moria would be Israel...
The Lonely Mountain would be the last place they were thrown out of (Venice/Spain/Eastern Europe etc.)...
Smaug would be the last one who threw them out...

yabbadabba
12-03-2010, 16:24
If dwarves are Jews, Lonely Mountain is Israel, what does that make Smaug? A dead dragon.

Condottiere
12-03-2010, 18:48
Actually, the longed for land would be Moria. It has too much history to be otherwise.

Malorian
12-03-2010, 19:37
I'm not big into LotR but I find this comparision very interesting, even more so because Tolkien himself "made the comparison in a 1965 BBC interview".

Finally I have some LotR trivia I can hold above the LotR junkies :D

static grass
15-03-2010, 10:35
wow, I am simply amazed that I never made the connection before now.



Actually, the longed for land would be Moria. It has too much history to be otherwise.

I think this is right. The lonely mountain would be then a metaphor for the jewish community living in europe (and elsewhere). Presumably smaug fits in nicely as a metaphor for their treatement during the middle ages killed/driven off/robbed.

Ofcourse it is possible to over interpret a metaphor.

The Red Scourge
19-03-2010, 05:08
Also forgotten to mention, is that dwarves are stingy and moneygrubbing (and often master jewellers) and like to keep themselves isolated from others, which fits perfectly with the stereotype on jews that has been portrayed and abused for ages.

Arnizipal
19-03-2010, 15:10
Careful with the stereotypes please. Wouldn't want this thread to end up in P&R...

Arnizipal,

++ The Warseer Moderation Team ++

jlmb_123
19-03-2010, 19:52
I think the point there is to make comparisons between stereotypes, rather than re-enforce them.

However, Tolkien's Dwarves aren't stingy - they're very nice people, Warhammer Dwarves are stingy. They don't rob Smaug because they have their <insert various adverbs> eyes on somebody else's property, they're reclaiming their own inheritance from a greedy dragon.

I think the problem with comparing history with the books is that you can push the metaphors too much - although there are many analogies in LotR, it's important to remember that first and foremost it's a fantasy story. Animal Farm it ain't.

Condottiere
20-03-2010, 05:57
I suspect that Sauron's Rings bring riches to the Dwarf Lords, while or through playing on those stereotypes.

Festus
20-03-2010, 10:38
Hi

the connection definitely is there, there are too many parallels to simply skip it. Apart from JJRT mentionong it himself, There is the Language, the diaspora, the *characteristics*, the Zionism ... erm Morianism ... and the genesis of the Dwarf race to supprt it.

It is really obvious, so obvious, that there are a whole lot of works in literary science, both Anglistic and otherwise which show and prove this point.

BTW: I do not know if Fantasy players common knowledge encompass the most obvious parallel of all:

Moria is the sacred mountain of the Jews, sometimes even thought to be the Templemound in jerusalem itself.

For starters, check here (although it only scratches the surface of what is really there):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moriah

Greetings
Festus

Iverald
21-03-2010, 00:05
Remember, though that Tolkien despised any and all sorts of allegory, which he stated in quite a few letters. I don't have the book on me at the present, so no quotations. :(

Thus the One Ring is not the A-bomb, Isengard is not Nazi Germany (Uruk-Hai as elite SS soldiers anyone?), nor Mordor is the USSR. Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf are not Christ(s), Galadriel is not Virgin Mary, though they have much in common, if you want to interpret it that way.

In language terms, Quenya is not Finnish, Sindarin/Noldorin are not Celtic languages.

Tolkien explicitly stated that his Mor-ia (Dark Abyss, I believe) has nothing to do with the Biblical land of Moriah. He was not even inspired by the Bible, but he created it basing upon his own languages. The connection between the two was problably made unconsciously.

EmperorNorton
21-03-2010, 12:45
Remember, though that Tolkien despised any and all sorts of allegory, which he stated in quite a few letters. I don't have the book on me at the present, so no quotations. :(

Thus the One Ring is not the A-bomb, Isengard is not Nazi Germany (Uruk-Hai as elite SS soldiers anyone?), nor Mordor is the USSR. Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf are not Christ(s), Galadriel is not Virgin Mary, though they have much in common, if you want to interpret it that way.

In language terms, Quenya is not Finnish, Sindarin/Noldorin are not Celtic languages.

Tolkien explicitly stated that his Mor-ia (Dark Abyss, I believe) has nothing to do with the Biblical land of Moriah. He was not even inspired by the Bible, but he created it basing upon his own languages. The connection between the two was problably made unconsciously.

Considering Tolkien disliked allegories, he did write some rather compelling ones.
The author does not have the final say as to what the stuff he has written "means", but only as to what it means to him.
Welcome to post-structuralism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_Author).

static grass
21-03-2010, 14:16
Remember, though that Tolkien despised any and all sorts of allegory, which he stated in quite a few letters. I don't have the book on me at the present, so no quotations. :(



As I understand it Tolkein was against the idea the books where an allegory of the current WW2 situation. He was also against the idea that the books where an allegory of his experiences i.e. that the hobbits are based on men he knew during WW1.

After that I think he was quite okay with allegory. The Moria/Moriah thing is quite convincing.

Condottiere
21-03-2010, 14:37
As I understand it, the Shire represents pre-industrial revolution England, basically the rustic parts, and Frodo might not be Jesus Christ, but supposedly an antithesis of Faust.

jlmb_123
23-03-2010, 23:13
Considering Tolkien disliked allegories, he did write some rather compelling ones.

I'll second that, however, I disagree with your statement that:


The author does not have the final say as to what the stuff he has written "means", but only as to what it means to him.

If the dwarves do in fact represent the Jews in all of their historical stereotyped glory, then is the entirety of the LotR just a large-scale reproduction of the threshing machine chapter in Tess of the D'Urbervilles?

Kohhna
24-03-2010, 05:53
Considering Tolkien disliked allegories, he did write some rather compelling ones.
I think theres a very interesting and useful comparison to be made between Tolkien and CS Lewis. CS Lewis infused his work with deliberate allegory, very specifically the New Testament and Medieval Cosmology. Tolkien was less deliberate, but he did riff off mythological archetypes, and so couldn't help tread on a few bits of popular mythology.

Bladelord
24-03-2010, 08:47
If dwarves are Jews, Lonely Mountain is Israel, what does that make Smaug?

Roman?

:D

I think I never would have guessed at this foundation of the Lotr dwarves. Amazing, and really funny in that unexpected way. Since jewish stereotypes hardly are well known in Scandinavia, I'm a bit at a loss about them, but for sure Lotr dwarves are stingy, although those in The Hobbit appear a lot more nice. In fact, they're too stingy for me, in keeping to themselves and having all too little to do with the outside world.

Tolkien made them too isolationist! The War of the Ring should have been filled with dwarven (and elven) battleforces marching about to beat up any orc, goblin, uruk-hai or whatnots hordes skulking around. The greatest fault with the trilogy (and indeed the whole Lotr setting) is the lack of vitality in hard-nosed elves and dwarves.

Their days just seem numbered. Which of course is the case of Warhammer, but there they have in no retreat like Valinor, and for sure are fighting terribly ferocious with backs up against walls. Also, GW has put in some "distant hope cases" just to keep the grinding of the mill o' war interesting; i.e. the restoration of the Underground Way of the shattered dwarf realms as a way of ensuring survival and regrowth, and the promise of vitality from Dragon Mages.

Still, Lotr is a great fantasy world, but too bleak with the important races (dwarves and elves) for my taste.

jlmb_123
24-03-2010, 10:24
That's the point of it though - the LotR and the Hobbit are set in the time in which Man is rising to the pinnacle of its' power. Realistically, if the quest to destroy the ring had failed, the age of the Orc would have been ushered in fairly quickly.

Bladelord
24-03-2010, 10:50
True, naturally. Also, it probably helped Lotr to "establish" itself back in the day, since only more recently would Fantasy settings were Man is declining or (nervously enough) challenged/out-contested by other races be workable, and mainly because the reassuring "rise of Man" theme already is there.

Still, bleakness and emptiness is too prominent in the Lotr setting (or at least in the Third age), especially with enormous close-to-uninhabited (but fertile) stretches of land, parts of which were once settled (like that river mouth harbour at Eriador). It's a matter of taste, of course, but had it been more "lively" overall, it'd have been the perfect fantasy setting for my part.

If nothing else, more life and stuff means more to destroy and get invaded. ;)

Condottiere
24-03-2010, 11:31
It's also a story of the passing from the last vestiges of a mythical age to that of an industrial one. It's unlikely that a power such as Sauron would ever return to Middle Earth, and that magic would eventually be forgotten or lost, permitting man to be able to deal with any threats through their own efforts.

Bladelord
26-03-2010, 20:39
@Condottiere: True, of course. The nostalgia of it all (and the longing for something misty mythical that's got or is going lost) resounds through the wide interest put up by anthropologists to "not let the world of old pass unforgotten", also from Tolkien's time - or perhaps this happened earlier in Britain, but nevertheless. Tolkien's work is splendid, and that's why I always miss that vitality in the dwarves and elves - it'd have been just right for my tastes had they shown chins-up and die-hard determination.

Still, the maddest settings are those that combine mythology and industry. :evilgrin:

Stuart-GreatEscapeGames
27-03-2010, 01:06
So, in your tenuous comparison, who are the Palestinians? Who do Tolkien's Dwarves screw over?

Arnizipal
27-03-2010, 03:00
If you want to keep this thread out of the Guilder-only Politics and Religion forum, I suggest avoiding asking questions like that (or replying to them for that matter).

Arnizipal,

++ The Warseer Moderation Team ++

static grass
28-03-2010, 00:18
I think theres a very interesting and useful comparison to be made between Tolkien and CS Lewis. CS Lewis infused his work with deliberate allegory, very specifically the New Testament and Medieval Cosmology. Tolkien was less deliberate, but he did riff off mythological archetypes, and so couldn't help tread on a few bits of popular mythology.

hæh? Both authors contain "deliberate" allegory. CS Lewis was very open about the allegory Aslan being Jesus is not hard to spot unless you are small child. Tolkein's ring, is a symbol all men's desires and the ruin/life they bring to the world. Often people like to think the ring represented nuclear weapons in truth this would be a subset of the ring's meaning. The ring itself represents man's will to control nuclear energy itself for both good and bad regardless of the cost.

Tolkien went to greater lengths to conceal the symbolism behind the writing which is part of it's power giving it many layers of depth and background. The revelation about moria/moriah was quite amazing. You claim that CS Lewis is more deliberate than Tolkein but I think this little snippet illustrates how untrue this position is and that Tolkein is a master of allegory.

Stuart-GreatEscapeGames
28-03-2010, 12:50
The whole thread should have been avoided, it's very silly...

Lewis
28-03-2010, 12:51
But that nuclear war reading is "other people" reading it, whereas the Aslan = Jesus thing was acknowledged by CS Lewis. This is a crucial difference. I accept that we can read any text in a myriad of ways, and this thread is very interesting, but we have to think carefully before we imply that Tolkien was inserting deliberate conscious parallels (which is what real allegory requires, I would argue) and then denying it ("conceal" it?) when interviewed.

Condottiere
28-03-2010, 13:34
I don't see the Ring as a representation of nuclear power, though it's construction does represent the possibility of ill use of knowledge. Sauron encouraged and aided Celebrimbor in his pursuit of knowledge and the making of the rings of power; while Celebrimbor may be guilty of hubris, considering that he wanted to live up to his grandfather, the purest of his creations, that of the Three for the Elves, did no harm, nor altered their bearer either physically or psychologically. Sauron's touch could be seen in those for Dwarves and Men.

jlmb_123
28-03-2010, 14:21
I think that the problem with unacknowledged allegory is that it's too easy to apply. There's so much myth in pop culture that continues to swirl around despite its' creators claims to the contrary that it's often taken as a given that one can believe what one wants to irregardless of the creators' intention. I think the Beatles stands as a beautiful example.

Besides that, the allegory in LotR is surely secondary to the story? Even if the Shire was meant to represent pre-industrial Britain, it's surely the flavour of the setting that he's trying to evoke (through scenes comparable to Gaskell and Hardy) rather than what they supposedly represent. I think the Shire is quite similar to Lark Rise to Candleford in the way its' inhabitants interact.

And allegory is a misnomer anyhow. Does anybody suppose that Tolkien or the pastoral writers were cursing and pulling out their hair whilst their books were distributed after being printed on modern presses?

Bladelord
28-03-2010, 20:15
The whole thread should have been avoided, it's very silly...
No it shouldn't. And no, it's not silly. The similiarities are stark, and obviously the dwarves (at least in the Hobbit) are jews, or became so unintentionally at the very least. And? Nothing more about it, a funny thing only, and why bring up the obvious matter-on-media-everyday in this? One should not draw things too far and come to some uninteresting "hot-topic-of-modern-times" in stuff like this; that is, it's out of interest for the allegory. So leave it be.

jlmb_123
30-03-2010, 19:30
Actually, if we do disregard the "matter-on-media-everyday" focus, and look at this out of pure interest, does it not stand to reason that our interpretation of dwarves as representing the historical Jews is wrong? The dwarves, in that case, are a dispossessed fantasy diaspora alongside several other real-world examples which includes the Jews.

grumbaki
31-03-2010, 15:12
Actually, if we do disregard the "matter-on-media-everyday" focus, and look at this out of pure interest, does it not stand to reason that our interpretation of dwarves as representing the historical Jews is wrong? The dwarves, in that case, are a dispossessed fantasy diaspora alongside several other real-world examples which includes the Jews.

Which other real-world examples would fit them so well?

Personally I think the connections are there. I wouldn't overrule that they had other elements to them besides just jews. But given the arguments thus far, it does look like the lionshare goes to them. Especially the beards. As someone who is staying near a rabbinical college, I can say that the beards fit perfectly. :)

Also thanks to everyone who has posted thus far. Following this has definately been enjoyable.

jlmb_123
31-03-2010, 17:07
It's an analogy with a dispossessed people. Would the Armenians, the German-descended population of the North Caucusus deported during WWII, or the Australian aboriginal population deported to islands around Tasmania count? What about the Kurds, the biggest diaspora of Middle Eastern-origin in Europe? Arabs are noted for having beards, and the majority of Kurds are Muslims (something like 90%).

grumbaki
31-03-2010, 17:51
Well, given Tolkien's interview and the connections mentioned above, I'd have to say that he had Jews in mind. The idea behind the jews being exiled from their homeland (Israel) and being forced to wander Middle Earth, all the while being driven out of whatever new homes they make by dragons, just points to Jews too much.

But what I will say is that Tolkien doesn't beat us over the head with any of this. He leaves it all up to interpretation, so that we can make the connections that we want. I personally (note, just my opinion) that his goal was not to take anything from real-life and give it a new name. He picked and borrowed from multiple sources to make something completely new.

You mentioned a number of dispossessed people. I do not discount any of their sufferings or their credibility as disposed people. I just don't think that Tolkien meant to make the dwarfs a representation of dispossessed people as a whole. It is just one aspect of his dwarves, and one that sadly is not uniquely jewish.

jlmb_123
31-03-2010, 21:26
In fairness, first you've said that Tolkien's dwarves point too strongly to being inspired by the Jew's experience (first paragraph), then that he was making something new, which draws on the Jewish story, but isn't specifically Jewish (second paragraph), and finally that the people who inspired the plight of his dwarves couldn't have been drawn from racial dispossession generally (paragraph 3).

All that I did was point out that the inspiration could have come from the general history of dispossessed peoples, which you disagree with first, then agree with, and in your last paragraph, you disagree with both interpretations.

What I was originally saying was, as you have, that there are a number of non-Jewish examples, and these are a valid examples as the historical Jewish story. The major factor that links the dwarves to Jewish inspiration is the long-seated search for a return to their homeland, which perhaps was not as historically prevalent amongst other cultures until the inter-war period or following the Second World War.

Or perhaps one could compare the dwarves to Christianised medieval Western Europe, which united in the cause of freeing Jerusalem from non-Christian occupiers, and when this wasn't easily achieved turned to looting it instead, as the dwarves in the Hobbit did?

grumbaki
31-03-2010, 21:36
I'd have to disagree with that interpretation.
1) The lonely mountain was not the main dwarven homeland, and it had no great historical significance to them (Belegost, Nogrod and Moria were the original dwarf homes).
2) The crusades were motivated mainly by religious piety, not by any idea that they were taking back a homeland.
3) The closest the dwarves came to a crusade was the War between the Dwarves and Orcs which culminated in the battle before Moria and the destruction of all of the orcs in the region (and Azog's head being put on a pike). And while that was a war of vengeance, it comes closer to the crusade mentality.

And as for my post above: my argument is that the image of the jews were the focal point of the dwarves. Them being a dispossesed people obviously is a main feature of it, which is shared by many others, but that is just one feature among many that Tolkien took. My apologies if I appeared to be waffling.

jlmb_123
31-03-2010, 21:46
I'd have to disagree with that interpretation.
1) The lonely mountain was not the main dwarven homeland, and it had no great historical significance to them (Belegost, Nogrod and Moria were the original dwarf homes).
2) The crusades were motivated mainly by religious piety, not by any idea that they were taking back a homeland.
3) The closest the dwarves came to a crusade was the War between the Dwarves and Orcs which culminated in the battle before Moria and the destruction of all of the orcs in the region (and Azog's head being put on a pike). And while that was a war of vengeance, it comes closer to the crusade mentality.

But the Middle East wasn't the homeland of the crusading Western Europeans, either. And religious piety is all well and good, but why would they be fighting it if not to hold 'others' permanently? I'm pretty certain that so many crusades specifically targeting Jerusalem weren't intended; Ideally, there would have been one and the city would have been permanently under western control, they'd not have just let the Arabic population back in.

It is a weak analogy, I'm not going to deny that, but perhaps the territorial analogy is correct: since the Second World War, the Jewish experience has proven particularly unique in that it encompassed the reconstruction of a historical nation, rather than nation-building in the traditional sense, whereas up until the mid-nineteenth century this really wasn't mainstream thought amongst the diaspora.

Condottiere
31-03-2010, 21:51
Just a reminder, that once we hit the late nineteenth century for this discussion, we get dangerously close to current P&R, on which I'd rather not specify.

jlmb_123
31-03-2010, 21:57
We are referring to coming forward from- rather than coming forward to- the nineteenth century, right? I'm pretty certain, though, that the generally recognised rise of popular Zionism isn't justification for banishment.

Condottiere
31-03-2010, 22:18
Like I said, I'd rather not specify it.

Historically viewed, the Jews do seem to do a lot of wandering around, before getting back to the Promised Land; you have the flight out of Egypt, the Assyrian captivity and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.

jlmb_123
01-04-2010, 09:21
I think that that's an important part of looking at Jewish history - deciding which part specifically to look at. Even biblical accounts vary - at times the Jews are under the heel of other, bigger tribes, and at other times they seem to be quite a powerful civilisation, whereas with the establishment of Christianity there seems to be the dilution of a geographically knit community and a dispersion into Middle Eastern and European societies.
I suppose that that's really the difference between Israelites (in their Ancient and classical guise) and Jews. Does anybody know if the biblical Israelites were the only (what we would recognise as a-) Jewish community? It just seems unlikely, seeing as Christianity and Islam became such broad religious phenomena, along with Hebrew's wide, but varied, usage across the Middle East.

Arnizipal
01-04-2010, 11:51
According to Tolkien himself (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khuzd%C3%BBl), it was mostly the language of the Dwarfs that was based on the Jewish tongue.



Can we please leave religion out of this thread?
This the final warning I'm giving you.

Arnizipal,

++ The Warseer Moderation Team ++

grumbaki
01-04-2010, 16:03
According to Tolkien himself (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khuzd%C3%BBl), it was mostly the language of the Dwarfs that was based on the Jewish tongue.



Can we please leave religion out of this thread?
This the final warning I'm giving you.

Arnizipal,

++ The Warseer Moderation Team ++

Not to get myself in trouble, but what is wrong about this thread? Speaking as a jew, I find nothing in this particurally offensive. No Jewish doctrine has been discussed or beliefs. God has not been mentioned once. It is a question of whether Medieval depictions of jews, along with the hebrew language and their history went into Tolkien's creation of the dwarves. In this I find it a worthy topic, especially as no current events, or...unpleasant...sterotypes have been discussed. If anything, the posters here have been on-topic and very respectful. I for one am proud of these warseer-ers for showing that there can be civil discussion on a war-gaming website, while at the same time not being afraid to put forward their arguments. :)

Condottiere
01-04-2010, 16:26
Anything that touches current politics or religious practices tends to get sent to the Wastes.

jlmb_123
01-04-2010, 17:40
I agree with grumbaki, I'm quite enjoying this thread and I don't think it touches upon P&R: if we were talking about Greek society between 1000BCE and 1500CE, I'm sure we'd not be seen to be breaking the P&R rules.

Condottiere
01-04-2010, 18:25
You probably wouldn't be, unless some attempt was made to link it to some current controversial matter.

Arnizipal
01-04-2010, 21:49
Not to get myself in trouble, but what is wrong about this thread? Speaking as a jew, I find nothing in this particurally offensive. No Jewish doctrine has been discussed or beliefs. God has not been mentioned once. It is a question of whether Medieval depictions of jews, along with the hebrew language and their history went into Tolkien's creation of the dwarves. In this I find it a worthy topic, especially as no current events, or...unpleasant...sterotypes have been discussed. If anything, the posters here have been on-topic and very respectful. I for one am proud of these warseer-ers for showing that there can be civil discussion on a war-gaming website, while at the same time not being afraid to put forward their arguments. :)
We keep a pretty tight reign on the discussions on politics and religion on Warseer, and try to keep them out of the main forums. There is a separate P&R forum (and a separate spam forum) for paying members (http://www.warseer.com/forums/faq.php?faq=the_guild#faq_subscribing) though, and threads that cross the line get sent there.

Note that these threads don't necessarily have to be offensive to be moved. We are a wargaming forum first and foremost and P&R discussions (even the harmless ones) don't really belong here.

I agree that this thread has remained very on topic and polite, which is why I posted all those warnings instead of moving it to P&R right away :)
Just to make things clear, there is no harm in a thread that compares Tolkien's Dwarfs to Jews (as Tolkien himself intendended them to be alike), but discussing the impact of the crusades and Christianity on Judaism is crossing the line in the P&R land, which means I'll be forced to move this thread to Guilder-only parts...

benlucas
02-04-2010, 13:03
well, i'm fairly sure both Lewis and Tolkienn were Christians, and they were both good friends. i think Tolkienn probably added allegories just to make his work more interesting and to add different perspectives to it. however, i don't think we can say that everything in LoTR is allegorical. many of these things are indeed his imagination with real "things" worked into it's storyline. then again, the book is SO good that everything could have a metaphor and in my opinion i think that is what he wanted to achieve i.e to present many different sides of a story and opinions through one main storyline.

Tokugawa100
04-04-2010, 04:21
Hmmm, I never thought of this until now and it seems quite likely.

To be honest I was shocked when I saw this thread's title because I thought someone was comparing dwarves to the stereotype of jews being greedy and hoarding:D Thank God thats not the case

Iverald
04-04-2010, 15:40
Considering Tolkien disliked allegories, he did write some rather compelling ones.
The author does not have the final say as to what the stuff he has written "means", but only as to what it means to him.
Welcome to post-structuralism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_Author).

Of course. I should have worded my post differently.

But Barthes is going even further in his essay, to the point that even the authors life and background is undesired for the reader to know, and that is irritating me in the current trends in literature interpretation.

I'm currently doing an MA in English, so post-structuralism and deconstructionism are not unknown to me, but I do not consider them as the only part of my interpretative paradigm. Of course, I cannot refuse them a place, but I prefer the recent attempts of going back towards the widely understood structure in Slavoj Zizek's interpretation of Jacques Lacan's work.

As pertains to Tolkien, I don't think he ever attempted to impose one reading of his work, except maybe answering the questions of what he intended to convey in his work by saying what he did not mean (Great War/WWII allegories).

In defiance of Barthes, I believe that knowledge of Tolkien's life, especially the creative process is important to see the scope of his work. Otherwise, he might as well be regarded as a very sloppy writer, mostly in the case of transition form The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings (the question of retcon of Bilbo's Ring story and Norse names of the Dwarves).

Dragon Prince of Caledor
05-04-2010, 02:24
... Despite the fact that he mentioned the connection himself?

Really? That's trippy. I don't like one to one comparisons between Middle-Earth and our f-ed up world personally. It takes the "myth" out of it for me :) :angel:

Condottiere
05-04-2010, 07:38
Myth is sometimes re-imagined history.

baphomael
06-04-2010, 16:52
Dwarves as Jews? Oh dear, that could quite easily raise some ugly stereotypes.


Hmmm, I never thought of this until now and it seems quite likely.

To be honest I was shocked when I saw this thread's title because I thought someone was comparing dwarves to the stereotype of jews being greedy and hoarding:D Thank God thats not the case

My thoughts exactly.


Myth is sometimes re-imagined history.

Especially when it comes to Tolkien.

Bork
15-04-2010, 23:02
Very interesting topic, blew my mind (a little bit at least;) ). While the inspiration from Jewish history is no doubt significant that´s not the only inspiration.
The short bearded blokes who live underground and is good with metalwork is most certainly taken from nordic mythology (sorry for bringing up religion again, but any discussion on dwarf origins would be incomplete with out it). Many of the names are lifted more or less directly; Durin and Dvalin where making swords in Hervarars saga, Thorin, Bivur, Bovur, Bombur is mentioned in Völuspá as is Gandalf (I actually thought he was a dwarf to first time I read The Hobbit).

Sorry if this is common knowledge and I am just ranting to the choir...

Condottiere
16-04-2010, 02:48
It's like Chaos Dwarves, the form is the short generic Fantasy guys, with an evil twist, but the imagery relies heavily from Assyrian sources and probably the industrial revolution.

DrDogmeat
18-04-2010, 10:58
Dwarves arn't jews but have you seen Chaos Dwarves, they look like sterotypical jews from nazi properganda and people wonder why GW don't still sell them.

Arnizipal
18-04-2010, 11:26
They're Assyrians actually. Take a look at this statue (http://www.allempires.com/empires/assyria/assyria_statue.jpg) for example.

DrDogmeat
18-04-2010, 11:46
They're Assyrians actually. Take a look at this statue (http://www.allempires.com/empires/assyria/assyria_statue.jpg) for example.
Ok they do have a lot of similarities, but I don't see the obscene noses.

I'm not saying they're supposed to be jews am I? thats ridiculous, they may have intended them to look like some Assyrians but thats not the point, they still look like those weird propaganda posters.

GodlessM
22-04-2010, 02:19
Dwarves arn't jews but have you seen Chaos Dwarves, they look like sterotypical jews from nazi properganda and people wonder why GW don't still sell them.

Two things;

1) It's propaganda, not properganda.

2) I've seen just about all the well known Nazi films and have yet to see a Jew with a huge hat.

DrDogmeat
22-04-2010, 10:57
Two things;

1) It's propaganda, not properganda.

2) I've seen just about all the well known Nazi films and have yet to see a Jew with a huge hat.

First of all, "New D.ELF W20 D1 L4". Nice one.

Second of all, propaganda posters and no they don't have big hats....