A mythology for England

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RobertCarter01

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Jun 3, 2004, 5:37:17 AM6/3/04
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This aspect of Tolkien interests me greatly. England has no one mythology (for
which perhaps read "obsolete ancient religion") as such, largely because it is
overwhelmingly a land of immigrants. Lots of different "peoples" have fetched
up on these shores over the past few thousand years, and the Germanic tribes
who arrived here after Roman rule collapsed were no different in that they
brought with them their own set of beliefs.

Britain (as opposed to England) on the other hand, has an ancient mythology
which pre-dates the Angles and Saxons et al., indeed it pre-dates the Romans,
and some of its remnants may be accessed, in mangled form at least, by reading
Geoffrey of Monmouth, which is part transmitted tale and part invention. Much
of it is Celtic (to use an unsatisfactory but nevertheless convenient term) in
origin, but much of it might be (must be?) from resident peoples among whom the
migrating Celts integrated. We are accustomed these days to thinking of the
Celts as Irish, Welsh, Scots, &c, people pushed out to marginal mountainous
lands on the "fringe", but for a rather longer time than the Romans held sway
here the Celts were living in the whole island. In my own fiction I've drawn on
this broader, older indigenous source, rather than the Anglo-saxon, but my
feeling is that Tolkien, being primarily an Anglo-saxonist, might well have
regarded the Geoffrey of Monmouth route as fatally contaminated so far as his
purposes were concerned.

I say this because, firstly, GoM was pretty well single-handedly the founder of
the Arthur legend, and of course if there ever existed an historical Arthur he
would have been "on the other side" i.e. the Saxons were Arthur's enemy, and
whereas a civil war would be a good setting for an author who intends to make a
point about the futility of war, if he intends, say, to make sense of his own,
real-life part in a war by working out in fiction the concept of "the just
war", then it is better to have an us-and-them kind of war in which "we" are
the good, and "they" are the evil. Straying too near to Arthur might not have
looked all that promising to Tolkien while he was wearing his novelist hat, if
indeed his experiences during the Great War were still resounding inside his
head.

Secondly, the Arthurian connection was later to become bound up with Grail
legends, which tampered with the ideas of, and were heartily disliked by, the
orthodoxy of the Roman church. Tolkien was a fairly devout adherent, so that
may have worried him. A third reason may arise in connection with the
establishment of the extraordinary line of kings rattled off by Geoffrey of
Monmouth, which is supposed to account for the first millennium BC of the
island's history. Though much was undoubtedly invented by Geoffrey, he himself
claimed, and the claims have been investigated to some degree and found to
stand up quite well, that he was drawing upon much older, authentic sources.
However, although the "Matter of Britain" is a mythic history concerning this
island, it collides at root with the Classical world - when a chap named Brutus
fled the Trojan wars and set up here after putting paid to the giants who had
been supposedly running riot up and down the place. Please correct me if I'm
wrong, but I don't hink one sees Tolkien incorporating much material from
classical sources.

A fourth and final reason why Tolkien may have avoided the GoM route is
connected with the Normans. GoM was supposedly Welsh, but he was, as it were,
working for the Normans - his version of British myth assisted the Norman
kings, who were looking to legitimize themselves as the Kings of the French had
by promoting the body of legend known as the "Matter of France" (i.e. Roland,
Charlemagne, &c.) to lend them prestige. Tolkien was never what you might call
a francophile, and I suspect his attitude to the Normans was possibly
influenced by the fact that they drew a firm line under the Anglo-saxon
overlordship of the island in 1066.

My own feeling is that no single author can simply create "a mythology" as such
by drawing on his own imagination and what little remains from the distant past
(though GoM had a pretty good stab at it!). I say this largely because a
mythology would have to have been believed in religiously (i.e. as a version of
the truth) at some time in the past. What modern writers can do, however, is to
create a dramatic story which has legend-like qualities, which in its
atmosphere and moral orientation demonstrates, or echoes, a belief system which
is rooted in a given landscape, which grows in a sort of organic way from a
stock of established legend and myth. Tolkien certainly inhabits this realm of
endeavour, though which of his works best exemplifies the process is a moot
point.

Robert Carter

P.S. Those interested in seeing one recent elaboration of Geoffrey of Monmouth
in modern fictional terms might like to peruse the history sections of my
website at www.languageofstones.com, where amongst other things I touch on
several of the issues discussed above.

Damian John Paul Brown

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Jun 3, 2004, 12:37:44 PM6/3/04
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On 03 Jun 2004 09:37:17 GMT, robertc...@aol.com (RobertCarter01)
wrote:

>Tolkien certainly inhabits this realm of
>endeavour, though which of his works best exemplifies the process is a moot
>point.
>
>Robert Carter
I would say that what was in Tolkien's mind when he wrote LOTR was the
future and not the past or History - I am just reading LOTR for the
first time and I have not seen the films, but there is a lot of
religion and politics in his writings, although they may not be seen
by all who read the books...Tolkien was a lover of Nature, and the
LOTR book seems like his protest about the Industrial Revolution that
transformed England...from a Green country to one of smog and smoke...

This is relatively modern history, and as one critic puts it "The
English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Lord of
the Rings and The Hobbit and those who are going to read them"

meaning, if we all read LOTR and understand and interpret Tolkien's
message, then the world could turn out a better place...
therefore I would say it is an Ideaology for England...

I must read on and then watch the movies, so I can talk more
truthfully about the story and underlying message...

Share Tips from Shabbydabbydoo Shares
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Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 3, 2004, 2:53:22 PM6/3/04
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Damian John Paul Brown <dam...@phpexpert.org> wrote:

> I must read on and then watch the movies, so I can talk more
> truthfully about the story and underlying message...

You only need to read the books if you want to "talk more truthfully
about the story and underlying message". Films won't help there.

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard


Michael Martinez

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Jun 3, 2004, 3:57:53 PM6/3/04
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robertc...@aol.com (RobertCarter01) wrote in message news:<20040603053717...@mb-m05.aol.com>...
>... In my own fiction I've drawn on

> this broader, older indigenous source, rather than the Anglo-saxon, but my
> feeling is that Tolkien, being primarily an Anglo-saxonist, might well have
> regarded the Geoffrey of Monmouth route as fatally contaminated so far as his
> purposes were concerned.

Tolkien was a Professor of Old English, not an Anglo-Saxonist. His
fiction draws on many sources, including THE BIBLE, THE KALEVALA,
Norse sagas, Celtic folklore and mythology, Egyptian and Mesopotamian
history and mythology, Greek mythology, Gothic and Roman history, and
even some supposed American influenced IN ADDITION TO the Anglo-Saxon
literature he loved and embraced so strongly.

And if anyone can be fairly accused of following in the footsteps of
Geoffrey of Monmouth, I would have to say J.R.R. Tolkien qualifies.
His mythology for England, THE BOOK OF LOST TALES, presupposes all
sorts of things leading up to real history. He attempted to do
exactly what Geoffrey did. But somewhere along the way, Tolkien gave
up and moved on to a more original concept.

AC

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Jun 3, 2004, 4:00:42 PM6/3/04
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On 3 Jun 2004 12:57:53 -0700,
Michael Martinez <Mic...@xenite.org> wrote:
>
> And if anyone can be fairly accused of following in the footsteps of
> Geoffrey of Monmouth, I would have to say J.R.R. Tolkien qualifies.
> His mythology for England, THE BOOK OF LOST TALES, presupposes all
> sorts of things leading up to real history. He attempted to do
> exactly what Geoffrey did. But somewhere along the way, Tolkien gave
> up and moved on to a more original concept.

Why do you keep asserting that which is so clearly not true?

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 3, 2004, 5:34:08 PM6/3/04
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Michael Martinez <Mic...@xenite.org> wrote:
> He attempted to do exactly what Geoffrey did. But somewhere
> along the way, Tolkien gave up and moved on to a more original
> concept.

In what way was the Red Book of Westmarch (I suppose that is what you
mean) a more _original_ concept? And in what way does it not "presuppose
all sorts of things leading up to real history", as you say Geoffrey of
Monmouth did with the Arthurian tales?

Flame of the West

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Jun 3, 2004, 11:47:37 PM6/3/04
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Damian John Paul Brown wrote:

> This is relatively modern history, and as one critic puts it "The
> English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Lord of
> the Rings and The Hobbit and those who are going to read them"

IIRC that critic was none other than CS Lewis.


-- FotW

Reality is for those who cannot cope with Middle-earth.

Steve Hayes

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Jun 4, 2004, 12:47:19 AM6/4/04
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On 03 Jun 2004 09:37:17 GMT, robertc...@aol.com (RobertCarter01) wrote:

Concerning this, here is something I wrote in another forum a few years ago,
and it may be relevant to this point:

-- older text begins ---

I'm not a fundi on the subject of Grail literature -- I was just mentioning it
as an example of the rapid development of Western eucharistic theology in the
period following the 1054 schism, which makes it problematic to assume that
the Orthodox and Western traditions are closer than they really are. I
personally think that soteriology, as a result of the writings of Anselm of
Canterbury, was even more divergent, and so a bigger problem today.

Nevertheless Western Eucharistic theology did undergo significant development
in that time, and the popularity of the Grail legend mirrors that concern.

I've been reading Charles Williams's description of that development, and I'd
be interested in discussing it further, but it would probably stray off topic
for the alt.religion.christian.east-orthodox group. Perhaps we could discuss
it more in the coinherence mailing list on the works of Charles Williams -
more information about it is available on:

http://www.coinherence.faithweb.com/

Williams does not trace any preceding oral tradition of the Grail legend
before the written version -- I do not see how it would be possible to do so,
but he does trace the the development in the written sources.

I have a couple of other observations, these are tentative hypotheses; you may
have evidence that shows them to be false:

(1) The Arthurian saga was written after the Norman conquest of England. I
suggest that it was written in part to legitimse that conquest by showing that
the Anglo-Saxons had themselves conquered Britain from the Romano-British in
order to create England, and that they were therefore no more legitimate than
the Normans who in turn conquered them.

(2) The Norman Conquest took place 12 years after the schism. From an Orthodox
point of view, the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Churches were Orthodox. The Norman
Conquest was in a sense therefore the conquest of Orthodoxy.

It was the Norman Archbishops of Canterbury, like Lanfranc and Anselm, whose
theological innovations widened the rift between East and West.


--
Steve Hayes
E-mail: haye...@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.geocities.com/hayesstw/stevesig.htm
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/books.htm

Larry Swain

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Jun 4, 2004, 1:00:39 AM6/4/04
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Michael Martinez wrote:

> Tolkien was a Professor of Old English, not an Anglo-Saxonist. His
> fiction draws on many sources, including THE BIBLE, THE KALEVALA,
> Norse sagas, Celtic folklore and mythology, Egyptian and Mesopotamian
> history and mythology, Greek mythology, Gothic and Roman history, and
> even some supposed American influenced IN ADDITION TO the Anglo-Saxon
> literature he loved and embraced so strongly.
>

So Michael, not that I expect you to have either the Christian charity or the courage to respond to me, what do you
see as the difference between an Anglo-Saxonists and a "professor of Old English"? And where do you see the Norse
sagas, the Bible, Celtic Folklore and Mythology (and you forgot language) Gothic, and Roman history NOT fitting
into being a "professor of Old English" or an Anglo-Saxonist?

ljs

Larry Swain

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Jun 4, 2004, 1:12:19 AM6/4/04
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Steve Hayes wrote:

> I have a couple of other observations, these are tentative hypotheses; you may
> have evidence that shows them to be false:
>
> (1) The Arthurian saga was written after the Norman conquest of England. I
> suggest that it was written in part to legitimse that conquest by showing that
> the Anglo-Saxons had themselves conquered Britain from the Romano-British in
> order to create England, and that they were therefore no more legitimate than
> the Normans who in turn conquered them.
>

No, I don't think so. a) there were Anglo-Saxons who wanted William, not Harold b)
the Anglo-Saxons were well aware that they had been invaders--read the first
chapters of Bede c) legitimacy wasn't the question--remember that not too long
before the conquest they had been ruled by Cnute and there wasn't a lot of problem
with his reign (well, there was some, but some cooperated fully. d) William did
have a claim to the throne....and it is that legitimacy that is in quiestion, not
the legitimacy of the invasion itself and e) the Normans also very quickly adopted
Anglo-Saxon saints and holy sites and regnal traditions to show continuity with the
Anglo-Saxon past, not to obliterate it. SO I don't think this a path to go down so
to speak.


>
> (2) The Norman Conquest took place 12 years after the schism. From an Orthodox
> point of view, the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Churches were Orthodox. The Norman
> Conquest was in a sense therefore the conquest of Orthodoxy.
>

Not really....William appointed his own bishops and only later did he subscribe to
the Roman position--and his son still had to assure the pope that they'd tow the
line. The Anglo-Saxon church was quite orthodox and had earlier in the century gone
through a major reform, the Benedictine Reform, that was in large part influenced by
Abbo of Fleury--Fleury is a monastery in Normandy.

ljs

Michael Martinez

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Jun 4, 2004, 2:51:15 AM6/4/04
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AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<slrncbv0ra.2ss....@alder.alberni.net>...

I don't. Why do you insist on misrepresenting the facts?

Michael Martinez

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Jun 4, 2004, 2:57:15 AM6/4/04
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"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<kPMvc.3601$mC4.36...@news-text.cableinet.net>...

> Michael Martinez <Mic...@xenite.org> wrote:
> > He attempted to do exactly what Geoffrey did. But somewhere
> > along the way, Tolkien gave up and moved on to a more original
> > concept.
>
> In what way was the Red Book of Westmarch (I suppose that is what you
> mean) a more _original_ concept?

The more original concept is the Middle-earth mythology (represented
by the Second Edition of THE HOBBIT and the first edition of THE LORD
OF THE RINGS, and all subsequent editions) as opposed to the mythology
for England (represented by THE BOOK OF LOST TALES).

> ...And in what way does it not "presuppose all sorts of things leading up to


> real history", as you say Geoffrey of Monmouth did with the Arthurian tales?

In Tolkien's mythology for England (THE BOOK OF LOST TALES), he
stipulates that events occurred IN ENGLAND and he provides a fairly
detailed pseudo-history for the Anglo-Saxons which is completely
contrived. Geoffrey's history, extending back to Brutus, draws upon
older mythologies, but he was retaining an essentially Roman
connection to Arthur's Britain anyway. It was, nonetheless, a very
contrived history.

Tolkien loved contrived histories (he apparently was very strongly
influenced by "Kyng Alisaunder", a Middle English poem which
imaginatively retells the story of Alexander the Great).

But he abandoned the concept of contriving a history for England in
favor of simply contriving an imaginary history for a previously
unmention corner the world.

Was it a completely original idea? Of course not. Tolkien was
familiar with older works such as GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, SWISS FAMILY
ROBINSON, et. al. He was following in the footsteps of a long
literary tradition in that respect.

But he dispensed with the "mythology for England" to create the
"Silmarillion mythology". That is a significant step away from what
Chaucer achieved.

the softrat

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Jun 4, 2004, 3:16:09 AM6/4/04
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On 3 Jun 2004 12:57:53 -0700, Mic...@xenite.org (Michael Martinez)
wrote:

>
>Tolkien was a Professor of Old English, not an Anglo-Saxonist.

Uh, Michael...

......they are 95% of the same thing!


the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
Mr Bullfrog says, "Time's fun, when you're having flies!"

the softrat

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Jun 4, 2004, 3:16:37 AM6/4/04
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Because that is his interpretation.

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

I don't have a solution, but I admire the problem

RobertCarter01

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Jun 4, 2004, 9:14:45 AM6/4/04
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One point I'd like to pick up is about "originality". Let's not assume that
it's necessarily an unalloyed "good thing" and that you can't have too much of
a good thing. Originality is actually a dangerous quantity, and as with spice
in cooking, one to be used rather sparingly if the dish is not to be ruined.

No creative artist remains unaware of its lower limit for long, and an
understanding of the upper limit comes only after some years experience
exercising above the lower limit!

What, I hear you cry, happens when the creative artist (or let's say the
writer) breaches the upper limit? Well, it is variously marked, but manifests
itself most readily in the reactions of a readership. First comes
disappointment, then mystification. Finally, if they have persevered that long,
the search for another book to read!

Robert Carter


Larry Swain

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Jun 4, 2004, 9:23:33 AM6/4/04
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Speaking as a professional Anglo-Saxonist who reads, researches, and
publishes on Old English literature, they are 100 per cent the same
thing. Well, ok, not quite. "Anglo-Saxonist" technically is a larger
category--the term covers art, literature, language, archaeology,
history, antrhopology etc. Tolkien of course specialized in literature
and language of the period. But that still makes him an Anglo-Saxonist
(and an expert in Old English). Michael tends, as you note, to draw too
large a difference between them.

ljs

Michael Martinez

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Jun 4, 2004, 6:52:25 PM6/4/04
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the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in message news:<7c80c0lg692j6ep4a...@4ax.com>...

> On 3 Jun 2004 12:57:53 -0700, Mic...@xenite.org (Michael Martinez)
> wrote:
> >
> >Tolkien was a Professor of Old English, not an Anglo-Saxonist.
>
> Uh, Michael...
>
> ......they are 95% of the same thing!

Mr. Swain's argument aside, when I find people using the term
"Anglo-Saxonist" today, they mean something entirely different from
what Tolkien spoke of when he discussed his profession.

He preferred "Old English" to "Anglo-Saxon" anyway, and rarely used
the term "Anglo-Saxon". And his professional interests went far
beyond the Anglo-Saxon language and literature with which he is so
closely identified today.

Several years ago, Robert Shirley put a related matter to Tom Shippey
very bluntly. He asked if Tolkien would have considered himself a
"medievalist":

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3873b6b8.0%40flint.sentex.net&output=gplain

Shippey's reply, as posted by Mr. Shirley in the news groups, was:

'Yes, I'm sure Prof T, if pressed, would have admitted to being a
medievalist. He might not have meant what some people mean by the term
nowadays (ie someone who studies "medievalism", the creation and
reflection
of ideas of the Middle Ages in the modern day). He would have meant
someone
on the right side of the split structurally built in to most UK
English
departments, medieval vs. modern, language vs. literature, or in the
case
of Leeds University (Tolkien tried to introduce the terminology to
Oxford,
but failed), A vs B (us being B). However, if you'd asked him what he
was
without suggesting a term, he'd have said he was a philologist - he
often
did. Of course he meant something different from most people by that,
but
it was a clear enough description to me, at any rate.'

I am equally sure that, if pressed, J.R.R. Tolkien would have admitted
to being an Anglo-Saxonist, if only to get out of having to argue with
someone over what he saw himself as.

Tolkien's work in Old English and Middle English literature is all but
carved in stone, and it needs very little introduction to the casual
reader today because they are bombarded with "Tolkien Anglo-Saxon
this" and "Tolkien Anglo-Saxon that".

Barely a word is written any more in tribute to his extensive
knowledge of Greek and Latin, his work on Indo-European roots, and
other professional matters (such as the Jerusalem Bible project, to
which he devoted little time but was nonetheless eminently qualified
for and very interested in) as well as his personal linguistic
interests.

I have even noticed a the downplaying of his Old Norse, Icelandic, and
Welsh and Irish sources in the past couple of years.

An entire mythology is being slowly, almost systematically constructed
by the Anglo-Saxonist community, in which Tolkien is portrayed as a
narrowly focused major player in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies --
whereas, in reality, he was a major figure in the field of Philology,
which limits itself to no single language, nor any single period (by
definition, it cannot so limit itself, for Philology focuses on the
evolution of language).

In 1925, Tolkien saw an opportunity to advance his professional
interests in both Philology and Old English and he took it by applying
for, and being awarded, the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of
Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford. He devoted the next 20 years
to that position before being elected Merton Professor of English
Language and Literature, from which he eventually retired.

Through those years, he continued to observe a broader horizon than
was presented by Old English literature (of which so little remains I
was able to read almost all of it in one year in college, some of the
poems several times). His work on Middle English seems to be given
almost as much short shrift as everything else he did, whether as a
teacher, writer, or whateverer.

We are being beaten down with Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon
and the price that Tolkien's legacy will pay if no one dares speak up
occasionally and mentions the huge gap that narrow focus leaves will
be that future generations of Tolkien readers will have no concept of
how he might have brought Prince Imrahil to look upon Eowyn's beauty,
or of how his armored, machine dragons could have stormed Gondolin, or
of how Gandalf's staff in Theoden's hall reaches all the way back to
the Iliad, or of how the Elven languages owe something to both
Indo-European and Hebrew, how his entire mythological template was
modelled on the Greek aesthetic he valued so highly.

If all we can call J.R.R. Tolkien is an Anglo-Saxonist, we are lying
about who he was, what he valued, and what he did.

I will have no part of that.

Mercedes McTaggart

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Jun 4, 2004, 7:16:57 PM6/4/04
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In message <7c80c0lg692j6ep4a...@4ax.com>, the softrat
<sof...@pobox.com> wrote

May I ask when you stopped 'rubbing owls' and why?
I am deeply concerned that the affection you hitherto lavished upon
these intelligent and remarkable creatures may be a significant factor
in their continuing decline.

Yours,
a concerned owl-lover.
--
Mercedes McTaggart
They don't know what they don't know...

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 4, 2004, 7:37:23 PM6/4/04
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Michael Martinez <Mic...@xenite.org> wrote:

<snip Shippey quote>

I was slightly confused until I realised that the following is what
Michael wrote, and not what Tom Shippey said. That was not crystal clear
in the original post, and might be misleading if read too quickly.

> I am equally sure that, if pressed, J.R.R. Tolkien would have admitted
> to being an Anglo-Saxonist, if only to get out of having to argue with
> someone over what he saw himself as.

<snip>

the softrat

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Jun 4, 2004, 9:08:28 PM6/4/04
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On Sat, 5 Jun 2004 00:16:57 +0100, Mercedes McTaggart
<me...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>In message <7c80c0lg692j6ep4a...@4ax.com>, the softrat
><sof...@pobox.com> wrote
>>On 3 Jun 2004 12:57:53 -0700, Mic...@xenite.org (Michael Martinez)
>>wrote:
>>>
>>>Tolkien was a Professor of Old English, not an Anglo-Saxonist.
>>
>>Uh, Michael...
>>
>>......they are 95% of the same thing!
>>
>>
>>the softrat
>>"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
>>mailto:sof...@pobox.com
>>--
>>Mr Bullfrog says, "Time's fun, when you're having flies!"
>
>May I ask when you stopped 'rubbing owls' and why?

That is 'much cheese through the trap'.

(I don't remember'.)

'rubbing owls' has to do with the phonetic sound of my name in some
Oriental language or other.


the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

No analogy serves. There is nothing "like" the net." (Doktor
DynaSoar Iridium)

Flame of the West

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Jun 4, 2004, 11:36:46 PM6/4/04
to
Michael Martinez wrote:

> In Tolkien's mythology for England (THE BOOK OF LOST TALES), he
> stipulates that events occurred IN ENGLAND and he provides a fairly
> detailed pseudo-history for the Anglo-Saxons which is completely
> contrived.

<snip>


> But he abandoned the concept of contriving a history for England in
> favor of simply contriving an imaginary history for a previously
> unmention corner the world.

<snip>


> But he dispensed with the "mythology for England" to create the
> "Silmarillion mythology". That is a significant step away from what
> Chaucer achieved.

Here is a clear justification for your contention that only BoLT
can be regarded as a "mythology for England." Of course, you're
welcome to classify things how you like, as are we all. But it's
clear from Letter 180 that Tolkien himself didn't see it the way
you do. I see no way to read the first paragraph other than that
he regards LotR as part of his mythology for England. At that
point, he no longer regarded it as necessary that his mythology
take place in an historical era in English history.

Flame of the West

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Jun 4, 2004, 11:47:13 PM6/4/04
to
Michael Martinez wrote:

> An entire mythology is being slowly, almost systematically constructed
> by the Anglo-Saxonist community, in which Tolkien is portrayed as a
> narrowly focused major player in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies --

This is what Sen. Hilary Rodham Clinton meant when she
spoke of the "vast Anglo-Saxon conspiracy." ;-)

Flame of the West

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Jun 5, 2004, 12:36:04 AM6/5/04
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Larry Swain wrote:

>>(2) The Norman Conquest took place 12 years after the schism. From an Orthodox
>>point of view, the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Churches were Orthodox. The Norman
>>Conquest was in a sense therefore the conquest of Orthodoxy.
>
> Not really....William appointed his own bishops and only later did he subscribe to
> the Roman position--and his son still had to assure the pope that they'd tow the
> line. The Anglo-Saxon church was quite orthodox and had earlier in the century gone
> through a major reform, the Benedictine Reform, that was in large part influenced by
> Abbo of Fleury--Fleury is a monastery in Normandy.

You seem to mean "orthodox" where Mr. Hayes means "Orthodox" as in
"Eastern Orthodox."

Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 2:16:44 AM6/5/04
to Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez wrote:

>
> Mr. Swain's argument aside, when I find people using the term
> "Anglo-Saxonist" today, they mean something entirely different from
> what Tolkien spoke of when he discussed his profession.

Michael, Michael, Michael....first, it wasn't an argument. It was a statement of fact from someone who
practices it as a profession and has followed the same essential training that Tolkien had. And just
what if I may ask do you think people (and here I'm assuming you don't mean professionals) mean when they
use the term Anglo-Saxonist? And I'll ask again so that there is no confusion, how do you see the
methodology of the philologist as a contrast to what an Anglo-Saxonist does?


> He preferred "Old English" to "Anglo-Saxon" anyway, and rarely used
> the term "Anglo-Saxon".

Yes and so? My garbageman prefers sanitation engineer, but that doesn't change the fact that he empites
my waste paper basket. And he preferred "Old English" to "Anglo-Saxon" because of his love of
language...he wanted to emphasize the language, not the peoples/culture they came from and the political
ends they might be put to. But that doesn't change the fact that that is what he was.

> And his professional interests went far
> beyond the Anglo-Saxon language and literature with which he is so
> closely identified today.

So do my garbageman's, but that doesn't change the fact that he still empites that pail. Most people
wear more than one academic hat. And some of those hats are so interrelated that it is hard to seperate
them out. For example, most Old Englishists (since we're staying away from Anglo-Saxonist) are at least
exposed if not master Old Irish and Old Norse. They must master Old English and Latin and are given a
good does of Old High German. In addition to this is a good dose of Middle English, especially the
greats, History of the languages, and so on. Many hats and many intellectual interests beyond "Old
English".

> Several years ago, Robert Shirley put a related matter to Tom Shippey
> very bluntly. He asked if Tolkien would have considered himself a
> "medievalist":

Right and do please note Shippey's careful distinction between what he views a medievalist is and what
most people think a medievalist is (someone who studies medievalism). Tolkien was and would have
assented to being the former, only grudingly to the latter (although his work has spawned a sub
specialty in medievalism).

By the way Michael, this seems a significant change of positoin for you: if I recall correctly you have
for just as many years that you have shouted NOT AN ANGLO-SAXONIST you have also shouted NOT A
MEDIEVALIST. This seems to have changed now....or do correct me.


> I am equally sure that, if pressed, J.R.R. Tolkien would have admitted
> to being an Anglo-Saxonist, if only to get out of having to argue with
> someone over what he saw himself as.

Ah, shucks, Michael. Though once again, not even Tolkien would see philology and studies of
"Anglo-Saxon" as exclusive: the very chair he held was created to honor someone who had compiled and
written THE dictionary for Old English that is still the standard today, and it is chock full of other
information on cognates, derivatives, roots, etc. In fact, Bosworth called it an Anglo-Saxon Dictionary.

>
> Barely a word is written any more in tribute to his extensive
> knowledge of Greek and Latin, his work on Indo-European roots, and
> other professional matters (such as the Jerusalem Bible project, to
> which he devoted little time but was nonetheless eminently qualified
> for and very interested in) as well as his personal linguistic
> interests.

Depends very much who you read I suppose. If one sticks to the popular book shelf, I suppose that might
be true....which is more the fault of ignorance of those literatures I think than anything else. As for
his Greek and Latin, it is interesting that he abandoned those languages so early in his career for his
first love. What do you make of Carpenter's take on his early academic career? What work on
Indo-European roots do you speak of? Most of what he did work on in this area were on words from Old
English, Old Norse, etc. We've already established what he did on the JB which wasn't as much as has
been claimed for him. And there are whole societies devoted to the study of his languages (personal
linguistic interests I presume?)/ So not sure where you're coming from here, ol chap.

>
> An entire mythology is being slowly, almost systematically constructed
> by the Anglo-Saxonist community,

Really now? And just whom do you know in the Anglo-Saxonist community? YOu've already demonstrated a
decided ignorance of what it is, so you'll pardon me if I choose to examine things from the perspective
of a) who Tolkien's teachers were b) what Tolkien himself taught c) Tolkien's publications as a
professional scholar (note that the Middle English text Ancrene Riwle is one that is closest to Old
English, an edition of which Tolkien published), d) and what is contained in his notes and papers. Did
he know Welsh? Sure. Did he ever publish on it or on its literature or lecture on it? Not really...he
did teach Welsh once that I've discovered but not after moving to Oxford. Did he teach Old English?
Yep....for 40 years. Kind of puts things in a bit of perspective, don't you think?


> in which Tolkien is portrayed as a
> narrowly focused major player in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies --

I don't know about "narrowly focused", don't know anyone who would claim that. But he was a major player
in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies, and to some degree still is. His essay on Beowulf while dated now
still remains the single most important essay on the poem.


>
> whereas, in reality, he was a major figure in the field of Philology,

Again, how is this different from Anglo-Saxon studies? An Anglo-Saxonist engages in philology
constantly, particularly literature and language folk like me. And lest you forget, philologist or no,
Tolkien's degree was in English. Philology is a way to study those things.

>
> which limits itself to no single language, nor any single period (by
> definition, it cannot so limit itself, for Philology focuses on the
> evolution of language).

Ok, for the moment. But you also leave a false impression. No one can be expert in all periods and all
languages. Language, as Tolkien will tell you, is not a static thing, but belongs to the people who
speak it and so as they change in time so does the language. Philologists do specialize, like it or not,
and Tolkien's specialization happened to be Germanic languages and Latin and Greek. Not modern Greek or
Iranian, good ol' fashioned classical Greek.

>
> In 1925, Tolkien saw an opportunity to advance his professional
> interests in both Philology and Old English and he took it by applying
> for, and being awarded, the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of
> Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford.

He took it because that was what he was qualified for. He would never have been hired to teach French or
even Greek or Chienese, philologist notwithstanding. His specialty was Old English and Middle English
and brought with him expertise in Latin, Old Norse, and Welsh.

> Through those years, he continued to observe a broader horizon than
> was presented by Old English literature (of which so little remains I
> was able to read almost all of it in one year in college, some of the
> poems several times).

Uh, no, no. You may have read one of the modern translations of Old English verse in a semester, but you
certainly didn't read it in Old English and I doubt that you read much if any prose.


> His work on Middle English seems to be given
> almost as much short shrift as everything else he did, whether as a
> teacher, writer, or whateverer.

By whom? His edition of Ancrene Riwle is important, his popular Sir Gawain/Pearl/Sir Orfeo book
continues to be repinted, his work with E. V. Gordon on Pearl has only recenlty been redone as these
things are from time to time, his glossary in the OHEL Fourteenth Century Literature volume is still
extremely useful and again only recently surpassed by the Middle English Dictionary. And so on...So
who's forgetting or giving short shrift?

>
> We are being beaten down with Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon
> and the price that Tolkien's legacy will pay if no one dares speak up
> occasionally and mentions the huge gap that narrow focus leaves will
> be that future generations of Tolkien readers will have no concept of
> how he might have brought Prince Imrahil to look upon Eowyn's beauty,
> or of how his armored, machine dragons could have stormed Gondolin, or
> of how Gandalf's staff in Theoden's hall reaches all the way back to
> the Iliad, or of how the Elven languages owe something to both
> Indo-European and Hebrew, how his entire mythological template was
> modelled on the Greek aesthetic he valued so highly.

Straw man argument.

>
> If all we can call J.R.R. Tolkien is an Anglo-Saxonist, we are lying
> about who he was, what he valued, and what he did.

I know of no one who does this. A number of places mention his chair(s) and go no further, but that is
hardly the same as saying that they him as ONLY an Anglo-Saxonist.

>
> I will have no part of that.

But you will have a part in spreading other untruths? Interesting Michael, interesting.

ljs


Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 2:16:55 AM6/5/04
to Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez wrote:

>
> Mr. Swain's argument aside, when I find people using the term
> "Anglo-Saxonist" today, they mean something entirely different from
> what Tolkien spoke of when he discussed his profession.

Michael, Michael, Michael....first, it wasn't an argument. It was a statement of fact from someone who


practices it as a profession and has followed the same essential training that Tolkien had. And just
what if I may ask do you think people (and here I'm assuming you don't mean professionals) mean when they
use the term Anglo-Saxonist? And I'll ask again so that there is no confusion, how do you see the
methodology of the philologist as a contrast to what an Anglo-Saxonist does?

> He preferred "Old English" to "Anglo-Saxon" anyway, and rarely used
> the term "Anglo-Saxon".

Yes and so? My garbageman prefers sanitation engineer, but that doesn't change the fact that he empites


my waste paper basket. And he preferred "Old English" to "Anglo-Saxon" because of his love of
language...he wanted to emphasize the language, not the peoples/culture they came from and the political
ends they might be put to. But that doesn't change the fact that that is what he was.

> And his professional interests went far


> beyond the Anglo-Saxon language and literature with which he is so
> closely identified today.

So do my garbageman's, but that doesn't change the fact that he still empites that pail. Most people


wear more than one academic hat. And some of those hats are so interrelated that it is hard to seperate
them out. For example, most Old Englishists (since we're staying away from Anglo-Saxonist) are at least
exposed if not master Old Irish and Old Norse. They must master Old English and Latin and are given a
good does of Old High German. In addition to this is a good dose of Middle English, especially the
greats, History of the languages, and so on. Many hats and many intellectual interests beyond "Old
English".

> Several years ago, Robert Shirley put a related matter to Tom Shippey


> very bluntly. He asked if Tolkien would have considered himself a
> "medievalist":

Right and do please note Shippey's careful distinction between what he views a medievalist is and what


most people think a medievalist is (someone who studies medievalism). Tolkien was and would have
assented to being the former, only grudingly to the latter (although his work has spawned a sub
specialty in medievalism).

By the way Michael, this seems a significant change of positoin for you: if I recall correctly you have
for just as many years that you have shouted NOT AN ANGLO-SAXONIST you have also shouted NOT A
MEDIEVALIST. This seems to have changed now....or do correct me.

> I am equally sure that, if pressed, J.R.R. Tolkien would have admitted
> to being an Anglo-Saxonist, if only to get out of having to argue with
> someone over what he saw himself as.

Ah, shucks, Michael. Though once again, not even Tolkien would see philology and studies of


"Anglo-Saxon" as exclusive: the very chair he held was created to honor someone who had compiled and
written THE dictionary for Old English that is still the standard today, and it is chock full of other
information on cognates, derivatives, roots, etc. In fact, Bosworth called it an Anglo-Saxon Dictionary.

>


> Barely a word is written any more in tribute to his extensive
> knowledge of Greek and Latin, his work on Indo-European roots, and
> other professional matters (such as the Jerusalem Bible project, to
> which he devoted little time but was nonetheless eminently qualified
> for and very interested in) as well as his personal linguistic
> interests.

Depends very much who you read I suppose. If one sticks to the popular book shelf, I suppose that might


be true....which is more the fault of ignorance of those literatures I think than anything else. As for
his Greek and Latin, it is interesting that he abandoned those languages so early in his career for his
first love. What do you make of Carpenter's take on his early academic career? What work on
Indo-European roots do you speak of? Most of what he did work on in this area were on words from Old
English, Old Norse, etc. We've already established what he did on the JB which wasn't as much as has
been claimed for him. And there are whole societies devoted to the study of his languages (personal
linguistic interests I presume?)/ So not sure where you're coming from here, ol chap.

>


> An entire mythology is being slowly, almost systematically constructed
> by the Anglo-Saxonist community,

Really now? And just whom do you know in the Anglo-Saxonist community? YOu've already demonstrated a


decided ignorance of what it is, so you'll pardon me if I choose to examine things from the perspective
of a) who Tolkien's teachers were b) what Tolkien himself taught c) Tolkien's publications as a
professional scholar (note that the Middle English text Ancrene Riwle is one that is closest to Old
English, an edition of which Tolkien published), d) and what is contained in his notes and papers. Did
he know Welsh? Sure. Did he ever publish on it or on its literature or lecture on it? Not really...he
did teach Welsh once that I've discovered but not after moving to Oxford. Did he teach Old English?
Yep....for 40 years. Kind of puts things in a bit of perspective, don't you think?

> in which Tolkien is portrayed as a
> narrowly focused major player in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies --

I don't know about "narrowly focused", don't know anyone who would claim that. But he was a major player


in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies, and to some degree still is. His essay on Beowulf while dated now
still remains the single most important essay on the poem.


>


> whereas, in reality, he was a major figure in the field of Philology,

Again, how is this different from Anglo-Saxon studies? An Anglo-Saxonist engages in philology


constantly, particularly literature and language folk like me. And lest you forget, philologist or no,
Tolkien's degree was in English. Philology is a way to study those things.

>


> which limits itself to no single language, nor any single period (by
> definition, it cannot so limit itself, for Philology focuses on the
> evolution of language).

Ok, for the moment. But you also leave a false impression. No one can be expert in all periods and all


languages. Language, as Tolkien will tell you, is not a static thing, but belongs to the people who
speak it and so as they change in time so does the language. Philologists do specialize, like it or not,
and Tolkien's specialization happened to be Germanic languages and Latin and Greek. Not modern Greek or
Iranian, good ol' fashioned classical Greek.

>


> In 1925, Tolkien saw an opportunity to advance his professional
> interests in both Philology and Old English and he took it by applying
> for, and being awarded, the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of
> Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford.

He took it because that was what he was qualified for. He would never have been hired to teach French or


even Greek or Chienese, philologist notwithstanding. His specialty was Old English and Middle English
and brought with him expertise in Latin, Old Norse, and Welsh.

> Through those years, he continued to observe a broader horizon than


> was presented by Old English literature (of which so little remains I
> was able to read almost all of it in one year in college, some of the
> poems several times).

Uh, no, no. You may have read one of the modern translations of Old English verse in a semester, but you


certainly didn't read it in Old English and I doubt that you read much if any prose.

> His work on Middle English seems to be given
> almost as much short shrift as everything else he did, whether as a
> teacher, writer, or whateverer.

By whom? His edition of Ancrene Riwle is important, his popular Sir Gawain/Pearl/Sir Orfeo book


continues to be repinted, his work with E. V. Gordon on Pearl has only recenlty been redone as these
things are from time to time, his glossary in the OHEL Fourteenth Century Literature volume is still
extremely useful and again only recently surpassed by the Middle English Dictionary. And so on...So
who's forgetting or giving short shrift?

>


> We are being beaten down with Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon
> and the price that Tolkien's legacy will pay if no one dares speak up
> occasionally and mentions the huge gap that narrow focus leaves will
> be that future generations of Tolkien readers will have no concept of
> how he might have brought Prince Imrahil to look upon Eowyn's beauty,
> or of how his armored, machine dragons could have stormed Gondolin, or
> of how Gandalf's staff in Theoden's hall reaches all the way back to
> the Iliad, or of how the Elven languages owe something to both
> Indo-European and Hebrew, how his entire mythological template was
> modelled on the Greek aesthetic he valued so highly.

Straw man argument.

>
> If all we can call J.R.R. Tolkien is an Anglo-Saxonist, we are lying
> about who he was, what he valued, and what he did.

I know of no one who does this. A number of places mention his chair(s) and go no further, but that is


hardly the same as saying that they him as ONLY an Anglo-Saxonist.

>


> I will have no part of that.

But you will have a part in spreading other untruths? Interesting Michael, interesting.

ljs


Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 2:17:50 AM6/5/04
to Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez wrote:

>
> Mr. Swain's argument aside, when I find people using the term
> "Anglo-Saxonist" today, they mean something entirely different from
> what Tolkien spoke of when he discussed his profession.

Michael, Michael, Michael....first, it wasn't an argument. It was a statement of fact from someone who


practices it as a profession and has followed the same essential training that Tolkien had. And just
what if I may ask do you think people (and here I'm assuming you don't mean professionals) mean when they
use the term Anglo-Saxonist? And I'll ask again so that there is no confusion, how do you see the
methodology of the philologist as a contrast to what an Anglo-Saxonist does?

> He preferred "Old English" to "Anglo-Saxon" anyway, and rarely used
> the term "Anglo-Saxon".

Yes and so? My garbageman prefers sanitation engineer, but that doesn't change the fact that he empites


my waste paper basket. And he preferred "Old English" to "Anglo-Saxon" because of his love of
language...he wanted to emphasize the language, not the peoples/culture they came from and the political
ends they might be put to. But that doesn't change the fact that that is what he was.

> And his professional interests went far


> beyond the Anglo-Saxon language and literature with which he is so
> closely identified today.

So do my garbageman's, but that doesn't change the fact that he still empites that pail. Most people


wear more than one academic hat. And some of those hats are so interrelated that it is hard to seperate
them out. For example, most Old Englishists (since we're staying away from Anglo-Saxonist) are at least
exposed if not master Old Irish and Old Norse. They must master Old English and Latin and are given a
good does of Old High German. In addition to this is a good dose of Middle English, especially the
greats, History of the languages, and so on. Many hats and many intellectual interests beyond "Old
English".

> Several years ago, Robert Shirley put a related matter to Tom Shippey


> very bluntly. He asked if Tolkien would have considered himself a
> "medievalist":

Right and do please note Shippey's careful distinction between what he views a medievalist is and what


most people think a medievalist is (someone who studies medievalism). Tolkien was and would have
assented to being the former, only grudingly to the latter (although his work has spawned a sub
specialty in medievalism).

By the way Michael, this seems a significant change of positoin for you: if I recall correctly you have
for just as many years that you have shouted NOT AN ANGLO-SAXONIST you have also shouted NOT A
MEDIEVALIST. This seems to have changed now....or do correct me.

> I am equally sure that, if pressed, J.R.R. Tolkien would have admitted
> to being an Anglo-Saxonist, if only to get out of having to argue with
> someone over what he saw himself as.

Ah, shucks, Michael. Though once again, not even Tolkien would see philology and studies of


"Anglo-Saxon" as exclusive: the very chair he held was created to honor someone who had compiled and
written THE dictionary for Old English that is still the standard today, and it is chock full of other
information on cognates, derivatives, roots, etc. In fact, Bosworth called it an Anglo-Saxon Dictionary.

>


> Barely a word is written any more in tribute to his extensive
> knowledge of Greek and Latin, his work on Indo-European roots, and
> other professional matters (such as the Jerusalem Bible project, to
> which he devoted little time but was nonetheless eminently qualified
> for and very interested in) as well as his personal linguistic
> interests.

Depends very much who you read I suppose. If one sticks to the popular book shelf, I suppose that might


be true....which is more the fault of ignorance of those literatures I think than anything else. As for
his Greek and Latin, it is interesting that he abandoned those languages so early in his career for his
first love. What do you make of Carpenter's take on his early academic career? What work on
Indo-European roots do you speak of? Most of what he did work on in this area were on words from Old
English, Old Norse, etc. We've already established what he did on the JB which wasn't as much as has
been claimed for him. And there are whole societies devoted to the study of his languages (personal
linguistic interests I presume?)/ So not sure where you're coming from here, ol chap.

>


> An entire mythology is being slowly, almost systematically constructed
> by the Anglo-Saxonist community,

Really now? And just whom do you know in the Anglo-Saxonist community? YOu've already demonstrated a


decided ignorance of what it is, so you'll pardon me if I choose to examine things from the perspective
of a) who Tolkien's teachers were b) what Tolkien himself taught c) Tolkien's publications as a
professional scholar (note that the Middle English text Ancrene Riwle is one that is closest to Old
English, an edition of which Tolkien published), d) and what is contained in his notes and papers. Did
he know Welsh? Sure. Did he ever publish on it or on its literature or lecture on it? Not really...he
did teach Welsh once that I've discovered but not after moving to Oxford. Did he teach Old English?
Yep....for 40 years. Kind of puts things in a bit of perspective, don't you think?

> in which Tolkien is portrayed as a
> narrowly focused major player in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies --

I don't know about "narrowly focused", don't know anyone who would claim that. But he was a major player


in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies, and to some degree still is. His essay on Beowulf while dated now
still remains the single most important essay on the poem.


>


> whereas, in reality, he was a major figure in the field of Philology,

Again, how is this different from Anglo-Saxon studies? An Anglo-Saxonist engages in philology


constantly, particularly literature and language folk like me. And lest you forget, philologist or no,
Tolkien's degree was in English. Philology is a way to study those things.

>


> which limits itself to no single language, nor any single period (by
> definition, it cannot so limit itself, for Philology focuses on the
> evolution of language).

Ok, for the moment. But you also leave a false impression. No one can be expert in all periods and all


languages. Language, as Tolkien will tell you, is not a static thing, but belongs to the people who
speak it and so as they change in time so does the language. Philologists do specialize, like it or not,
and Tolkien's specialization happened to be Germanic languages and Latin and Greek. Not modern Greek or
Iranian, good ol' fashioned classical Greek.

>


> In 1925, Tolkien saw an opportunity to advance his professional
> interests in both Philology and Old English and he took it by applying
> for, and being awarded, the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of
> Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford.

He took it because that was what he was qualified for. He would never have been hired to teach French or


even Greek or Chienese, philologist notwithstanding. His specialty was Old English and Middle English
and brought with him expertise in Latin, Old Norse, and Welsh.

> Through those years, he continued to observe a broader horizon than


> was presented by Old English literature (of which so little remains I
> was able to read almost all of it in one year in college, some of the
> poems several times).

Uh, no, no. You may have read one of the modern translations of Old English verse in a semester, but you


certainly didn't read it in Old English and I doubt that you read much if any prose.

> His work on Middle English seems to be given
> almost as much short shrift as everything else he did, whether as a
> teacher, writer, or whateverer.

By whom? His edition of Ancrene Riwle is important, his popular Sir Gawain/Pearl/Sir Orfeo book


continues to be repinted, his work with E. V. Gordon on Pearl has only recenlty been redone as these
things are from time to time, his glossary in the OHEL Fourteenth Century Literature volume is still
extremely useful and again only recently surpassed by the Middle English Dictionary. And so on...So
who's forgetting or giving short shrift?

>


> We are being beaten down with Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon
> and the price that Tolkien's legacy will pay if no one dares speak up
> occasionally and mentions the huge gap that narrow focus leaves will
> be that future generations of Tolkien readers will have no concept of
> how he might have brought Prince Imrahil to look upon Eowyn's beauty,
> or of how his armored, machine dragons could have stormed Gondolin, or
> of how Gandalf's staff in Theoden's hall reaches all the way back to
> the Iliad, or of how the Elven languages owe something to both
> Indo-European and Hebrew, how his entire mythological template was
> modelled on the Greek aesthetic he valued so highly.

Straw man argument.

>
> If all we can call J.R.R. Tolkien is an Anglo-Saxonist, we are lying
> about who he was, what he valued, and what he did.

I know of no one who does this. A number of places mention his chair(s) and go no further, but that is


hardly the same as saying that they him as ONLY an Anglo-Saxonist.

>


> I will have no part of that.

But you will have a part in spreading other untruths? Interesting Michael, interesting.

ljs


Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 2:18:24 AM6/5/04
to

Michael Martinez wrote:

>
> Mr. Swain's argument aside, when I find people using the term
> "Anglo-Saxonist" today, they mean something entirely different from
> what Tolkien spoke of when he discussed his profession.

Michael, Michael, Michael....first, it wasn't an argument. It was a statement of fact from someone who


practices it as a profession and has followed the same essential training that Tolkien had. And just
what if I may ask do you think people (and here I'm assuming you don't mean professionals) mean when they
use the term Anglo-Saxonist? And I'll ask again so that there is no confusion, how do you see the
methodology of the philologist as a contrast to what an Anglo-Saxonist does?

> He preferred "Old English" to "Anglo-Saxon" anyway, and rarely used
> the term "Anglo-Saxon".

Yes and so? My garbageman prefers sanitation engineer, but that doesn't change the fact that he empites


my waste paper basket. And he preferred "Old English" to "Anglo-Saxon" because of his love of
language...he wanted to emphasize the language, not the peoples/culture they came from and the political
ends they might be put to. But that doesn't change the fact that that is what he was.

> And his professional interests went far


> beyond the Anglo-Saxon language and literature with which he is so
> closely identified today.

So do my garbageman's, but that doesn't change the fact that he still empites that pail. Most people


wear more than one academic hat. And some of those hats are so interrelated that it is hard to seperate
them out. For example, most Old Englishists (since we're staying away from Anglo-Saxonist) are at least
exposed if not master Old Irish and Old Norse. They must master Old English and Latin and are given a
good does of Old High German. In addition to this is a good dose of Middle English, especially the
greats, History of the languages, and so on. Many hats and many intellectual interests beyond "Old
English".

> Several years ago, Robert Shirley put a related matter to Tom Shippey


> very bluntly. He asked if Tolkien would have considered himself a
> "medievalist":

Right and do please note Shippey's careful distinction between what he views a medievalist is and what


most people think a medievalist is (someone who studies medievalism). Tolkien was and would have
assented to being the former, only grudingly to the latter (although his work has spawned a sub
specialty in medievalism).

By the way Michael, this seems a significant change of positoin for you: if I recall correctly you have
for just as many years that you have shouted NOT AN ANGLO-SAXONIST you have also shouted NOT A
MEDIEVALIST. This seems to have changed now....or do correct me.

> I am equally sure that, if pressed, J.R.R. Tolkien would have admitted
> to being an Anglo-Saxonist, if only to get out of having to argue with
> someone over what he saw himself as.

Ah, shucks, Michael. Though once again, not even Tolkien would see philology and studies of


"Anglo-Saxon" as exclusive: the very chair he held was created to honor someone who had compiled and
written THE dictionary for Old English that is still the standard today, and it is chock full of other
information on cognates, derivatives, roots, etc. In fact, Bosworth called it an Anglo-Saxon Dictionary.

>


> Barely a word is written any more in tribute to his extensive
> knowledge of Greek and Latin, his work on Indo-European roots, and
> other professional matters (such as the Jerusalem Bible project, to
> which he devoted little time but was nonetheless eminently qualified
> for and very interested in) as well as his personal linguistic
> interests.

Depends very much who you read I suppose. If one sticks to the popular book shelf, I suppose that might


be true....which is more the fault of ignorance of those literatures I think than anything else. As for
his Greek and Latin, it is interesting that he abandoned those languages so early in his career for his
first love. What do you make of Carpenter's take on his early academic career? What work on
Indo-European roots do you speak of? Most of what he did work on in this area were on words from Old
English, Old Norse, etc. We've already established what he did on the JB which wasn't as much as has
been claimed for him. And there are whole societies devoted to the study of his languages (personal
linguistic interests I presume?)/ So not sure where you're coming from here, ol chap.

>


> An entire mythology is being slowly, almost systematically constructed
> by the Anglo-Saxonist community,

Really now? And just whom do you know in the Anglo-Saxonist community? YOu've already demonstrated a


decided ignorance of what it is, so you'll pardon me if I choose to examine things from the perspective
of a) who Tolkien's teachers were b) what Tolkien himself taught c) Tolkien's publications as a
professional scholar (note that the Middle English text Ancrene Riwle is one that is closest to Old
English, an edition of which Tolkien published), d) and what is contained in his notes and papers. Did
he know Welsh? Sure. Did he ever publish on it or on its literature or lecture on it? Not really...he
did teach Welsh once that I've discovered but not after moving to Oxford. Did he teach Old English?
Yep....for 40 years. Kind of puts things in a bit of perspective, don't you think?

> in which Tolkien is portrayed as a
> narrowly focused major player in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies --

I don't know about "narrowly focused", don't know anyone who would claim that. But he was a major player


in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies, and to some degree still is. His essay on Beowulf while dated now
still remains the single most important essay on the poem.


>


> whereas, in reality, he was a major figure in the field of Philology,

Again, how is this different from Anglo-Saxon studies? An Anglo-Saxonist engages in philology


constantly, particularly literature and language folk like me. And lest you forget, philologist or no,
Tolkien's degree was in English. Philology is a way to study those things.

>


> which limits itself to no single language, nor any single period (by
> definition, it cannot so limit itself, for Philology focuses on the
> evolution of language).

Ok, for the moment. But you also leave a false impression. No one can be expert in all periods and all


languages. Language, as Tolkien will tell you, is not a static thing, but belongs to the people who
speak it and so as they change in time so does the language. Philologists do specialize, like it or not,
and Tolkien's specialization happened to be Germanic languages and Latin and Greek. Not modern Greek or
Iranian, good ol' fashioned classical Greek.

>


> In 1925, Tolkien saw an opportunity to advance his professional
> interests in both Philology and Old English and he took it by applying
> for, and being awarded, the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of
> Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford.

He took it because that was what he was qualified for. He would never have been hired to teach French or


even Greek or Chienese, philologist notwithstanding. His specialty was Old English and Middle English
and brought with him expertise in Latin, Old Norse, and Welsh.

> Through those years, he continued to observe a broader horizon than


> was presented by Old English literature (of which so little remains I
> was able to read almost all of it in one year in college, some of the
> poems several times).

Uh, no, no. You may have read one of the modern translations of Old English verse in a semester, but you


certainly didn't read it in Old English and I doubt that you read much if any prose.

> His work on Middle English seems to be given
> almost as much short shrift as everything else he did, whether as a
> teacher, writer, or whateverer.

By whom? His edition of Ancrene Riwle is important, his popular Sir Gawain/Pearl/Sir Orfeo book


continues to be repinted, his work with E. V. Gordon on Pearl has only recenlty been redone as these
things are from time to time, his glossary in the OHEL Fourteenth Century Literature volume is still
extremely useful and again only recently surpassed by the Middle English Dictionary. And so on...So
who's forgetting or giving short shrift?

>


> We are being beaten down with Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon
> and the price that Tolkien's legacy will pay if no one dares speak up
> occasionally and mentions the huge gap that narrow focus leaves will
> be that future generations of Tolkien readers will have no concept of
> how he might have brought Prince Imrahil to look upon Eowyn's beauty,
> or of how his armored, machine dragons could have stormed Gondolin, or
> of how Gandalf's staff in Theoden's hall reaches all the way back to
> the Iliad, or of how the Elven languages owe something to both
> Indo-European and Hebrew, how his entire mythological template was
> modelled on the Greek aesthetic he valued so highly.

Straw man argument.

>
> If all we can call J.R.R. Tolkien is an Anglo-Saxonist, we are lying
> about who he was, what he valued, and what he did.

I know of no one who does this. A number of places mention his chair(s) and go no further, but that is


hardly the same as saying that they him as ONLY an Anglo-Saxonist.

>


> I will have no part of that.

But you will have a part in spreading other untruths? Interesting Michael, interesting.

ljs


Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 2:35:55 AM6/5/04
to
Thanks for the clarification, but that makes him even more in the wrong then. By the time
of the Norman Conquest the Irish church had long, long before (and calling it the Irish
church is problematic) conformed to Roman practice. Most of the Anglo-Saxon churches had
been Roman in the first place, considering Gregory the Great as the apostle of the
English, and certainly by the mid-eleventh century after the Benedictine Reform and Edward
teh Confessor, there was really no hint of anything other than Roman Christianity.
And just where did Byzantium (the center of Greek Orthodoxy at the time) consider the
English and Irish churches as "Orthodox"? The creed both were reciting was the one with
the filioque clause.

ljs

Michael Martinez

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 3:18:00 AM6/5/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<TI7wc.248$St2.3...@news-text.cableinet.net>...

I did leave extra lines between Shippey's words and mine (his were
surrounded by quotes, anyway), and the Shippey citation was not
properly formatted. However, I probably should have inserted some
sort of demarcation line, as I have occasionally done in the past.

Michael Martinez

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 3:19:39 AM6/5/04
to
the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in message news:<2e80c0pedqn5m5mht...@4ax.com>...

> On 3 Jun 2004 20:00:42 GMT, AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> >On 3 Jun 2004 12:57:53 -0700,
> >Michael Martinez <Mic...@xenite.org> wrote:
> >>
> >> And if anyone can be fairly accused of following in the footsteps of
> >> Geoffrey of Monmouth, I would have to say J.R.R. Tolkien qualifies.
> >> His mythology for England, THE BOOK OF LOST TALES, presupposes all
> >> sorts of things leading up to real history. He attempted to do
> >> exactly what Geoffrey did. But somewhere along the way, Tolkien gave
> >> up and moved on to a more original concept.
> >
> >Why do you keep asserting that which is so clearly not true?
>
> Because that is his interpretation.

You sadly wish it was.

However, feel free to post a complete, relevant citation from
Christopher Tolkien which states anything to the contrary.

Steve Hayes

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 4:14:46 AM6/5/04
to
On Sat, 05 Jun 2004 01:35:55 -0500, Larry Swain <thes...@sbcglobal.net>
wrote:

>Thanks for the clarification, but that makes him even more in the wrong then. By the time
>of the Norman Conquest the Irish church had long, long before (and calling it the Irish
>church is problematic) conformed to Roman practice. Most of the Anglo-Saxon churches had
>been Roman in the first place, considering Gregory the Great as the apostle of the
>English, and certainly by the mid-eleventh century after the Benedictine Reform and Edward
>teh Confessor, there was really no hint of anything other than Roman Christianity.
>And just where did Byzantium (the center of Greek Orthodoxy at the time) consider the
>English and Irish churches as "Orthodox"? The creed both were reciting was the one with
>the filioque clause.

It was the post-Conquest bishop, Anslelm, who wrote "Cur Deus homo?" which
marked the biggest and most significant divergence from Orthodox theology.

But the central point I was making was that the Grail cycle fitted well with
the developments in Eucharistic theology that were taking place n the West at
the time.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 5:34:50 AM6/5/04
to
Larry Swain <thes...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Michael Martinez wrote:

<snip interesting stuff [to some] about Tolkien's profession>

I know next to nothing about this stuff, but the discussion here does
seem to bring up stuff that Tolkien talked about in his valedictory
address when retiring from his chair at Oxford University. I've just
read that essay, and it might be worth rereading for Tolkien's views on
Philology and Literature (Lang. and Lit.), which might possibly have
some bearing on this discussion.

Christopher


--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 11:18:11 AM6/5/04
to
Christopher,

Thanks very much for the reference. Where is this talk published? I'd
love to read it.

Part of the problem here is a) Michael is taking Tolkien out of context b)
is taking Tolkien's reservations concerning the term Anglo-Saxon as an
indication that Tolkien therefore can not be called an Anglo-Saxonist
(someone who studies the Anglo-Saxon period of England roughly dated from
450-1100 whether that be language, literature, history, archaeology,
anthropology, art, architecture etc) which is a non-sequitur. c) the
Tolkien was a philologist and so therefore is not an Anglo-Saxonist or
medievalist (which Michael in this discussion has backed off somewhat
grudgingly admitting finally after years of debate that Tolkien might
grudingly be called a medievalist or anglo-saxonist but only grudingly)
but being a philologist (as I am also to an extent) is not somehow
exclusive of being a medievalist and anglo-saxonist. In fact, since
Tolkien's contributions to Indo-European philology dealt mostly with
Germanic languages which (except for Gothic) can only be studied in texts
from the medieval period, he was all the more a medievalist. e) Michael is
right that it is good to remember that Tolkien wasn't ONLY interested in
Old English and Old Norse etc. He is wrong in giving equal weight to all
the other areas...if we simply look at where Tolkien spent his professional
time the weight is clearly on the side of Old and Middle English and other
Germanic lanuguages and literatures--i e. Germanic philology, language and
lit are the bread and butter of the Anglo-Saxonist, all of whom have at
least some exposure to this as this is what the field comprises, and then
one may specialize in a sub field (such as the relationship of lang and lit
of OE and ON). He had a great background in Latin and Greek but so far as
I can find never taught either language, never wrote an article on Latin or
Greek linguistic issues, didn't contribute greatly to Romance linguistics
and so on. So where do we place the weight? Certainly not equally on all
the things Michael lists, though it is good to keep those things in mind.
I also wonder where the claim stems from that these things are forgotten or
passed over in Tolkien criticism. Not among those I know and read.

ljs

Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 11:26:47 AM6/5/04
to

Steve Hayes wrote:

>
> It was the post-Conquest bishop, Anslelm, who wrote "Cur Deus homo?" which
> marked the biggest and most significant divergence from Orthodox theology.
>

What are you reading as "Orthodox" theology? Have you not read Aelfric? Hardly an Orthodox
theologian. Or Bede if we go to the beginning of the period? Anglo-Saxon England's church was
Roman through and through and proud of it. As I said, the creed for example that exists both
in Latin and in Old English from manuscripts of the period includes the filioque clause, one of
the key differences between Roman and Byzantium. So I have to wonder where your
characterization of the church in England as Orthodox comes from and on what points, what are
your sources and so on.

>
> But the central point I was making was that the Grail cycle fitted well with
> the developments in Eucharistic theology that were taking place n the West at
> the time.
>

Sure, I don't disagree with the overall point. I do disagree with the characterization of the
Anglo-Saxon church as Orthodox vs. Roman and the Norman conquest bringing in Roman practice,
the conquest of Orthodoxy in the West.

ljs

Steve Hayes

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 2:02:03 PM6/5/04
to
On Sat, 05 Jun 2004 10:26:47 -0500, Larry Swain <thes...@sbcglobal.net>
wrote:

>
>


>Steve Hayes wrote:
>
>>
>> It was the post-Conquest bishop, Anslelm, who wrote "Cur Deus homo?" which
>> marked the biggest and most significant divergence from Orthodox theology.
>>
>
>What are you reading as "Orthodox" theology? Have you not read Aelfric? Hardly an Orthodox
>theologian. Or Bede if we go to the beginning of the period? Anglo-Saxon England's church was
>Roman through and through and proud of it. As I said, the creed for example that exists both
>in Latin and in Old English from manuscripts of the period includes the filioque clause, one of
>the key differences between Roman and Byzantium. So I have to wonder where your
>characterization of the church in England as Orthodox comes from and on what points, what are
>your sources and so on.

Rome itself was regarded as Orthodox until 1054. Bede lived long before then

>> But the central point I was making was that the Grail cycle fitted well with
>> the developments in Eucharistic theology that were taking place n the West at
>> the time.
>
>Sure, I don't disagree with the overall point. I do disagree with the characterization of the
>Anglo-Saxon church as Orthodox vs. Roman and the Norman conquest bringing in Roman practice,
>the conquest of Orthodoxy in the West.

But, tp reiterate, it was Andelm, and Archbishop appointed by the Normans,
whose work marked a radical break with Orthodox theology. And his theology
spread even to Rome.

Anselm's theology was based on the the medieval code of chivalry, which was
also evident in the Arthurian cycle of Geoffrey of Monmouth and other writers.


Were the ideals of chivalry equally present among the pre-conquest
Anglo-Saxons? And can you suggest suitable sources of that if it was so?

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 5, 2004, 5:25:25 PM6/5/04
to
Larry Swain <thes...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Thanks very much for the reference. Where is this talk published?
> I'd love to read it.

My copy is in the collection of Tolkien essays titled: 'The Monster and
the Critics and Other Essays' (J.R.R Tolkien, edited by Christopher
Tolkien, first published in the UK in 1983). My copy is the
HarperCollins 1997 PB edition, ISBN 0 261 10263 X.

The essays are:

Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
On Translating Beowulf
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
On Fairy-Stories
English and Welsh
A Secret Vice
Valedictory Address

It is this last one that I was recommending for this discussion. It had
been published previously in 1979 in 'J.R.R. Tolkien, Scholar and
Storyteller', edited by Mary Salu and Robert T. Farrell, Cornell
University Press. However, Christopher Tolkien provided a version
incorporating changes made by JRRT.

Don't be put off by the opening rant about research, the later bits are
much more interesting. Tolkien does discuss the need for wide learning
as opposed to narrow specialisation. In particular he says:

"we now have on our hands one thousand and two hundred years of recorded
English letters, a long unbroken line, indivisible, no part of which can
without loss be ignored." and also: "So-called Anglo-Saxon cannot be
regarded merely as a root, it is already in flower". And he also talks
about the need to study the history of a language as well as the history
of the people speaking the language.

Actually, flicking through that essay, it was a lot more about the
Lang./Lit. divide than I remembered, so maybe not as relevant to the
Anglo-Saxonist part of your debate, but very relevant to what Tolkien
thought a philologist should be doing.

Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 1:41:42 AM6/6/04
to

Steve Hayes wrote:

>
> Rome itself was regarded as Orthodox until 1054. Bede lived long before then
>

And? You failed to address a single question I asked. And who considered Rome Orthodox until 1054?
Where did you get that idea? There are so many differences between Rome and Byzantium between
700-1100--one, and only one small, example is the iconoclast controversy and its theological and
political aftermath is something that never touched Rome, ever. Had some significant impact in
Byzantium and the East though. I'm sorry, but your position here is simply historically wrong.


> But, tp reiterate, it was Andelm, and Archbishop appointed by the Normans,
> whose work marked a radical break with Orthodox theology. And his theology
> spread even to Rome.

Reiteration doesn't make it true. All over the West there are theologians who works are not in
agreement with Orthodox theology, even in Anglo-Saxon England. The whole system of penance for
example that developed in the West, begun by the Irish and the Anglo-Saxons has nothing comparable
in the Orthodox tradition at the time. Nothing at all.

>
>
> Anselm's theology was based on the the medieval code of chivalry, which was
> also evident in the Arthurian cycle of Geoffrey of Monmouth and other writers.

How do you get from Cur Deus Homo? to chivalry? How do you proceed from the Ontological argument to
chivalry? How do we go from the substitionary theory of atonement to chivalry? And whose
chivalry? Different authors have different ideas of what that means. Geoffrey has no Arthurian
cycle, he has some stories about an Arthur and the cup of Christ that he includes in his work. Its
not a cycle. And he doesn't comment on its theology, but on it historicity.


>
>
> Were the ideals of chivalry equally present among the pre-conquest
> Anglo-Saxons? And can you suggest suitable sources of that if it was so?
>

Ah, and this reveals the logical fallacy under which you are operating. You equate chivalry with
non-Orthodox theology as if a) it were the only non-Orthodox theology b) as if chivalry were the
seperating point between the Eastern church and the Western and c) and you ask for an anachronistic
reading. These are all false premises: there are significant differences between East and West
that makes the West, including the Anglo-Saxons and Irish, unOrthodox, and chivalry certainly wasn't
the sticking point. One of the sticky points was the phrase in the creed that the Holy Spirit
proceeded from the Father and the Son---a phrase first introduced at the Council of Toledo in the
500s and quickly caught on in the West, never and always rejected in the East....the point of
contention in fac t in 1054.


>
> --

Michael Martinez

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 2:40:15 AM6/6/04
to
Flame of the West <jsol...@comcast.net> wrote in message news:<KZKdnV0JYMY...@comcast.com>...

> Michael Martinez wrote:
>
> > In Tolkien's mythology for England (THE BOOK OF LOST TALES), he
> > stipulates that events occurred IN ENGLAND and he provides a fairly
> > detailed pseudo-history for the Anglo-Saxons which is completely
> > contrived.
> <snip>
> > But he abandoned the concept of contriving a history for England in
> > favor of simply contriving an imaginary history for a previously
> > unmention corner the world.
> <snip>
> > But he dispensed with the "mythology for England" to create the
> > "Silmarillion mythology". That is a significant step away from what
> > Chaucer achieved.
>
> Here is a clear justification for your contention that only BoLT
> can be regarded as a "mythology for England." Of course, you're
> welcome to classify things how you like, as are we all. But it's
> clear from Letter 180 that Tolkien himself didn't see it the way
> you do.

No, all that is clear from Letter 180 is that Tolkien had sense enough
to realize that it was better to conflate the facts for convenience,
rather than risk a long, drawn-out correspondence which would have
achieved nothing.

You don't have to accept reality. I never insisted that you should.

Son of John Leo

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 6:02:35 AM6/6/04
to
On Sun, 06 Jun 2004 00:41:42 -0500, Larry Swain
<thes...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:


>Ah, and this reveals the logical fallacy under which you are operating. You equate chivalry with
>non-Orthodox theology as if a) it were the only non-Orthodox theology b) as if chivalry were the
>seperating point between the Eastern church and the Western and c) and you ask for an anachronistic
>reading. These are all false premises: there are significant differences between East and West
>that makes the West, including the Anglo-Saxons and Irish, unOrthodox, and chivalry certainly wasn't
>the sticking point. One of the sticky points was the phrase in the creed that the Holy Spirit
>proceeded from the Father and the Son---a phrase first introduced at the Council of Toledo in the
>500s and quickly caught on in the West, never and always rejected in the East....the point of
>contention in fac t in 1054.

read Revelation both of you and stiop this futile arguing - worry
about the future, not the past

Share Tips from Shabbydabbydoo Shares
All Markets covered - www.phpexpert.org/sharetips/

Flame of the West

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 7:24:51 AM6/6/04
to
Michael Martinez wrote:

>>Here is a clear justification for your contention that only BoLT
>>can be regarded as a "mythology for England." Of course, you're
>>welcome to classify things how you like, as are we all. But it's
>>clear from Letter 180 that Tolkien himself didn't see it the way
>>you do.
>
> No, all that is clear from Letter 180 is that Tolkien had sense enough
> to realize that it was better to conflate the facts for convenience,
> rather than risk a long, drawn-out correspondence which would have
> achieved nothing.

But why would he bring up the subject at all if it were so
complex that he couldn't explain it without either getting
into a long discussion or messing with the facts? He could
easily have accepted Mr. Thompson's praise without making
reference to a mythology for England (actually he said a
mythology for the English). If he did *not* regard LotR
as part of the mythology for the English, why is the
reference even there?

Chris Kern

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 8:32:27 AM6/6/04
to
On 5 Jun 2004 23:40:15 -0700, Mic...@xenite.org (Michael Martinez)
posted the following:

>No, all that is clear from Letter 180 is that Tolkien had sense enough
>to realize that it was better to conflate the facts for convenience,
>rather than risk a long, drawn-out correspondence which would have
>achieved nothing.

What cite from the letter can you provide where he states that he is
conflating the facts? You are fond of writing "The author's world
begins and ends with the author's words" (and variations), so I'd like
to see your proof that JRRT is simplifying things.

-Chris

Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 9:03:25 AM6/6/04
to
Mic...@xenite.org (Michael Martinez) wrote in message news:<3b26e128.04060...@posting.google.com>...

> No, all that is clear from Letter 180 is that Tolkien had sense enough
> to realize that it was better to conflate the facts for convenience,
> rather than risk a long, drawn-out correspondence which would have
> achieved nothing.

So... you finally accept Tolkien's obvious inclusion of LotR into the
'mythology for England' in Letter #180, but now you say that he was
simply saying so 'for convenience' and it wasn't really true?

Can you let us know which of Tolkien's other statements he didn't
really mean? Just so we can all know when to ignore what he said.

Steve Hayes

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 10:27:43 AM6/6/04
to
On Sun, 06 Jun 2004 00:41:42 -0500, Larry Swain <thes...@sbcglobal.net>
wrote:

>
>


>Steve Hayes wrote:
>
>>
>> Rome itself was regarded as Orthodox until 1054. Bede lived long before then
>>
>
>And? You failed to address a single question I asked. And who considered Rome Orthodox until 1054?
>Where did you get that idea? There are so many differences between Rome and Byzantium between
>700-1100--one, and only one small, example is the iconoclast controversy and its theological and
>political aftermath is something that never touched Rome, ever. Had some significant impact in
>Byzantium and the East though. I'm sorry, but your position here is simply historically wrong.

Can you show the relevance of your questions to King Arthur and the Grail
stories? Where does Bede mention them?

>> But, tp reiterate, it was Andelm, and Archbishop appointed by the Normans,
>> whose work marked a radical break with Orthodox theology. And his theology
>> spread even to Rome.
>
>Reiteration doesn't make it true. All over the West there are theologians who works are not in
>agreement with Orthodox theology, even in Anglo-Saxon England. The whole system of penance for
>example that developed in the West, begun by the Irish and the Anglo-Saxons has nothing comparable
>in the Orthodox tradition at the time. Nothing at all.

>> Anselm's theology was based on the the medieval code of chivalry, which was
>> also evident in the Arthurian cycle of Geoffrey of Monmouth and other writers.
>
>How do you get from Cur Deus Homo? to chivalry? How do you proceed from the Ontological argument to
>chivalry? How do we go from the substitionary theory of atonement to chivalry? And whose
>chivalry? Different authors have different ideas of what that means. Geoffrey has no Arthurian
>cycle, he has some stories about an Arthur and the cup of Christ that he includes in his work. Its
>not a cycle. And he doesn't comment on its theology, but on it historicity.

It's the other war round. Anselm got from the private law of his own place and
period, based on "satisfaction of honour" to "Cur Dueus homo?"

He was doing what modern Western theologians call "contextualisation".

But, as I said before, the question raised by Robert Carter01 was to do with
the King Arthur stories, and the Grail, and I suggested that it might be
connected with the changing Eucharistic theology in the West at that time.

>> Were the ideals of chivalry equally present among the pre-conquest
>> Anglo-Saxons? And can you suggest suitable sources of that if it was so?
>>
>
>Ah, and this reveals the logical fallacy under which you are operating. You equate chivalry with
>non-Orthodox theology as if a) it were the only non-Orthodox theology b) as if chivalry were the
>seperating point between the Eastern church and the Western and c) and you ask for an anachronistic
>reading. These are all false premises: there are significant differences between East and West
>that makes the West, including the Anglo-Saxons and Irish, unOrthodox, and chivalry certainly wasn't
>the sticking point. One of the sticky points was the phrase in the creed that the Holy Spirit
>proceeded from the Father and the Son---a phrase first introduced at the Council of Toledo in the
>500s and quickly caught on in the West, never and always rejected in the East....the point of
>contention in fac t in 1054.

And this reveals the logical fallacy unwe which you are operating: the straw
man.

I do not equate chivalry with non-Orthodox theology. Please don't tell me what
I think.

If you want to discus it and exchange information and opinions, let's
continue.

If you want a pissing contest, include me out.

Michael Martinez

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 11:07:06 AM6/6/04
to
Larry Swain <thes...@sbcglobal.net> wrote in message news:<40C16557...@sbcglobal.net>...

> Michael Martinez wrote:
>
> >
> > Mr. Swain's argument aside, when I find people using the term
> > "Anglo-Saxonist" today, they mean something entirely different from
> > what Tolkien spoke of when he discussed his profession.
>
> Michael, Michael, Michael....first, it wasn't an argument. It was a statement
> of fact from someone who practices it as a profession and has followed the
> same essential training that Tolkien had.

So, you were raised by a Roman Catholic priest and studied all those
languages, too, did you? Well, I'm impressed. But, argument,
statement. Same thing. Tolkien (a philologist) would have understood
that. "Argument" doesn't always mean what you seem to have taken it
for.

> > An entire mythology is being slowly, almost systematically constructed
> > by the Anglo-Saxonist community,
>
> Really now? And just whom do you know in the Anglo-Saxonist community?
> YOu've already demonstrated a decided ignorance of what it is,

Larry, Larry, Larry,

I'll be brief. You've been trying to fight me for months, dogging me
from forum to forum. Now that you have brought the cause to the flame
groups, I am sure you will find plenty of friends here in Conrad,
Solinas, Softrat, and the ilk.

Enjoy yourself.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 11:08:37 AM6/6/04
to

Would you say that a draft letter (which is what Letter 180 is) is less
reliable than a letter that was actually sent? Maybe Humphrey Carpenter
and Christopher Tolkien (who put the Letters book together) say
something about the status of draft letters and why they chose to
include them?

Note that sometimes 'draft' might mean a copy retained by Tolkien, and
that the actual letter, written out neatly after the draft was completed
(or not), may have been sent, but that Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien
were unable to locate the original. The actual letter sent, might then
have been _different_ from the draft, as Tolkien was infamous for making
alterations. This is explained better in the Introduction to 'Letters'.

Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 1:50:29 PM6/6/04
to

Michael Martinez wrote:

> So, you were raised by a Roman Catholic priest and studied all those
> languages, too, did you? Well, I'm impressed.

As a matter of fact I was raised Roman Catholic, went to Catholic school, began to learn Latin from
a priest, have several family members who have given their lives to the church including an aunt
who gave her life saving some children in Bolivia during one of the coups. I'd say I have a pretty
strong Catholic connection and again, essentially (not precisely) the same as Tolkien's. And yes,
I've studied all those languages, care to see my college, master's and PhD transcripts, be happy to
fax them to you so that you can see for yourself that I have: Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Old English,
Old Irish, Old Norse, German, French, under my belt. I'm currently working on Old Welsh, have just
read the Heliand in Old German, and have worked in Gothic. In addition, I've taken an independent
study (ok, it was 20 plus years ago now) in Akkadian and Ugaritic and one of my linguistics
professors was very big into Turkish so we spent a good deal of our Phonology and Morphology
classes using examples from Turkish which occasionally I call to mind when lecturing myself. So
I'm delighted that you're impressed. I have yet to learn Welsh and look into Finnish, but I'll get
there. I have a deep and abiding interest in language you see, spawned in part by Tolkien whose
works I read at the right time in my life.


> But, argument, statement. Same thing. Tolkien (a philologist) would have understood
> that.

Really now. Well, the Oxford English Dictionary, you remember that little book that Tolkien worked
on, defines statement as "Something that is stated; an allegation, declaration" and argument as "A
connected series of statements or reasons intended to establish a position (and, hence, to refute
the opposite); a process of reasoning; argumentation." Certainly they are related and close in
that arguments are composed of statements, but they are hardly the same thing.

>>"Argument" doesn't always mean what you seem to have taken it for.

Perhaps not, but it certainly isn't a synonym for "statement" either. What I gave in that previous
is a statement of fact.

>
> > > An entire mythology is being slowly, almost systematically constructed
> > > by the Anglo-Saxonist community,
> >
> > Really now? And just whom do you know in the Anglo-Saxonist community?
> > YOu've already demonstrated a decided ignorance of what it is,
>
> Larry, Larry, Larry,
>
> I'll be brief. You've been trying to fight me for months, dogging me
> from forum to forum. Now that you have brought the cause to the flame
> groups, I am sure you will find plenty of friends here in Conrad,
> Solinas, Softrat, and the ilk.
>
> Enjoy yourself.

Michael, I don't want to fight you. There are times I think you're wrong, as very clearly you are
on this issue. I'll correct that when I may (always taking the chance that I may be proven
wrong). Other times I think you've got it spot on, and if you were a nicer person would actually
help you out. But you seem to regard anyone who disagrees with you as beneath you and somehow out
to get you. As for "dogging" you from forum to forum that's plain riduculous. I've been an off
and on subscriber to Mythlore since 1982 (mostly off I confess, the spirit is willing, the wallet
is weak) and when I found out we have a discussion group, I joined. In fact, I tried to join
before back in the mid 90s but they were then on a proprietary system that I ddn't subscribe to
(can't recall the name of it now, but it was once the hottest thing in discussion groups way back
then, I'ms ure you'll have a good laugh at me). I was delighted to find out they moved it to Yahoo
Groups. Hardly dogging you. As for the "flame groups" as you call them, I've been on and off on
newsgroups since 1986, and first started subscribing to rec.arts.books.tolkien in 1994 and was
pretty steady until mid 1996. I check in occasionally as I have time and mostly lurk and see what
the discussions are, and during the summers I have time to take part. Again, hardly dogging you
Did it occur to you that since we have some of the same interests and obviously both know how to
use a computer that our paths might cross frequently? I'm sure there's a forum or two you belong
to that I don't, and I know that there are a few Tolkien things that I subscribe to you that you
don't. Again, hardly dogging you. It might surprise you Michael, but I do have a life that does
not involve hunting you out. I'll engage you as I find you, and if you make outlandish statements
like Tolkien wasn't an Anglo-Saxonist or intimate that philology and Anglo-Saxon studies are
inimical to each other and exclusive, or that the Ring speaks on the slopes of Mount Doom or that
Tolkien translated the book of Job (or Jonah) from Hebrew for the Jerusalem Bible--all of them
incorrect, I'll say something. It doesn't matter to me that you haven't answered me directly for
years, I don't know why. I've never insulted you that I recall, yes, I think you are wrong in the
way you read things sometimes, yes I think you sometimes use fallacious tactics (whether
consciously or not) in your debates, and yes I've called you on those things. But at least in my
book those aren't personal. And if I have insulted you personally, I've written in the past to
apologize, even asked your forgiveness Michael. I don't know if you read my emails or not, but you
chose the antagonistic relationship, I didn't. I offered you olive branches dude, and still do.
Doesn't mean I'm always going to agree with you, but I sure don't want constant antagonism and
hatred that seems to flow from your keyboard.

Now off the personal stuff, and back to Tolkien. You've made statements that I've asked you to
back up and other statements that I do not believe to be true. And I've asked you questions. You
can choose to ignore them, but there they are. We can discuss Tolkien if you like, and if all goes
well, we might actually teach one another something...that's the nature of a good
disucssion/statement/argument. So I invite you to engage the topic, not the person.

Best Regards Michael, and I do mean that,

Larry Swain


Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 2:13:51 PM6/6/04
to

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

>
> My copy is in the collection of Tolkien essays titled: 'The Monster and
> the Critics and Other Essays' (J.R.R Tolkien, edited by Christopher
> Tolkien, first published in the UK in 1983). My copy is the
> HarperCollins 1997 PB edition, ISBN 0 261 10263 X.

Oh yeah! I have a copy of this, I'd forgotten about that essay. I think
you're right though, it has more to do with Tolkien's lifelong concern with
the structures of the university English dept (Lang vs Lit) than some of the
things that I'm attempting to discuss with Michael.

>
>
> The essays are:
>
> Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
> On Translating Beowulf
> Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
> On Fairy-Stories
> English and Welsh
> A Secret Vice
> Valedictory Address
>
> It is this last one that I was recommending for this discussion. It had
> been published previously in 1979 in 'J.R.R. Tolkien, Scholar and
> Storyteller', edited by Mary Salu and Robert T. Farrell, Cornell
> University Press. However, Christopher Tolkien provided a version
> incorporating changes made by JRRT.
>
> Don't be put off by the opening rant about research, the later bits are
> much more interesting. Tolkien does discuss the need for wide learning
> as opposed to narrow specialisation. In particular he says:

I agree. I have to say that as an "Old Englishist" I am far better prepared
and have been called on to teach a wide array of literature outside my field
that my colleagues in more modern literatures are unprepared to teach. One
can not make the connections between A and H without knowing something about
B-G.
As an example, I had a student recently who took one of my classes in which
we read the Odyssey in translation, the next semester she took a class on
Joyce and she was the only person in the class including my colleague the
professor who had read the Odyssey--kind of important background if one is
going to read Joyce's Ulysses. I was dismayed.

>
>
> "we now have on our hands one thousand and two hundred years of recorded
> English letters, a long unbroken line, indivisible, no part of which can
> without loss be ignored." and also: "So-called Anglo-Saxon cannot be
> regarded merely as a root, it is already in flower". And he also talks
> about the need to study the history of a language as well as the history
> of the people speaking the language.
>

Praise be! Completely agree. (Old English is the language, Anglo-Saxons
are the folks), Old English is not the root, though that is exactly what
almost every department treats it as. But by th etime we get a written
language, they already have a long history in England and an even longer
history on the continent to which they refer from time to time...as Tolkien
says, it is already in full flower.


>
> Actually, flicking through that essay, it was a lot more about the
> Lang./Lit. divide than I remembered, so maybe not as relevant to the
> Anglo-Saxonist part of your debate, but very relevant to what Tolkien
> thought a philologist should be doing.

Thanks for reminding us of it nonetheless,

Larry

Steve Hayes

unread,
Jun 6, 2004, 9:39:19 PM6/6/04
to
On Sat, 05 Jun 2004 10:26:47 -0500, Larry Swain <thes...@sbcglobal.net>
wrote:

>Steve Hayes wrote:

>> It was the post-Conquest bishop, Anslelm, who wrote "Cur Deus homo?" which
>> marked the biggest and most significant divergence from Orthodox theology.
>>
>
>What are you reading as "Orthodox" theology? Have you not read Aelfric? Hardly an Orthodox
>theologian. Or Bede if we go to the beginning of the period? Anglo-Saxon England's church was
>Roman through and through and proud of it. As I said, the creed for example that exists both
>in Latin and in Old English from manuscripts of the period includes the filioque clause, one of
>the key differences between Roman and Byzantium. So I have to wonder where your
>characterization of the church in England as Orthodox comes from and on what points, what are
>your sources and so on.

For the record, since this is before the period we were originally discussing,
the "filioque" was introduced in Rome itself some time after 1000.

"Byzantium" is an anachronism, a term introduced by tendentious Western
historians with an axe to grind. The city was then called Constaninople, and
it, and its church, regarded themselves as Roman. They would have been post
surprised to discover that some people of a later age regarded them as not
Roman but "Byzantine". Those who promoted the "filioque" were Franks. The
schism of 1054 was caused by ignorant Frankish legates from the Pope of Rome
excomunicating the Patriarch of Constantinople for allegedly removing the
"filioque" from the Symbol of Faith. Such was their ignorance that they were
not aware that it was not originally part of the Symbol of Faith, but had been
added by the Council of Toledo.

Until 1054 the Churches of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and
Jerusalem were in communion with each other, and were part of what the Symbol
of Faith refers to as the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church". Thus any
who were in communion with the bishops of any of those cities were regarded as
being part of the Orthodox Church.

The spat in 1054 was originally between Rome and Constantinople only.
Alexandria, for example, was still in communion with Rome, and indeed with
Canterbury and York.

Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem eventually aligned themselves with
Constantinople, and as time went on the schism became more difficult to heal.
What had originally been a rather silly misunderstanding developed into a real
theological and cultural divide, which was not only about the filioque.

My point, which was a hypothesis, was that one of the things that made it more
difficult to heal the schism was Anselm's soteriology, which became widespread
in the West, but was hardly heard of in the East, partly because of the schism
of 1054. Another, which I have not mentioned before, but which may be
relevant, is the Crusades, which began at the same time.

The other point, which is more germane to this thread, was that there were
changes in Western Eucharistic theology at about this time (11th-12th
centuries) which may have been related to the Grail stories that became
popular at the same time. I really cannot see the relevance of Bede or Aelfric
to this.

This can be illustrated by a coment from an Orthodox theologian:

"The uniqueness of secularism, its difference from the great
heresies of the patristic age, is that the latter were provoked
by the encounter of Christianity with Hellenism, whereas the for-
mer is the result of a "breakdown" within Christianity itself, of
its own deep metamorphosis... At the end of the twelfth century a
Latin theologian, Berengarius of Tours, was condemned for his
teaching on the Eucharist. He maintained that because the
presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements is "mystical" or
"symbolic," it is not real. The Lateran Council which condemned
him - and here is for me the crux of the matter - simply reversed
the formula. It proclaimed that since Christ's presence in the
Eucharist is real, it is not "mystical." What is decisive here is
precisely the disconnection and the opposition of the two terms
verum and mystice, the acceptance, on both sides, that they are
mutually exclusive. Western theology thus declared that that
which is "mystical" or "symbolic" is not real, whereas that which
is "real" is not symbolic. This was, in fact, the collapse of the
fundamental Christian mysterion, the antinomical "holding
together" of the reality of the symbol, and of the symbolism of
reality. It was the collapse of the fundamental Christian under-
standing of creation in terms of its fundamental sacramentality.
And since then, Christian thought, in Scholasticism and beyond
it, never ceased to oppose these terms, to reject, implicitly or
explicitly, the "symbolic realism" and the "realistic symbolism"
of the Christian world view" (Schmemann 1988:128),

Among the Inklings, the theme of the Grail was taken up most by Charles
Williams, and hardly at all by Tolkien. Williams also made his own
contribution to the Arthurian cycle, and Lewis did in a smaller way (eg Merlin
in "That hideous strength") but Tolkien hardly at all. But, as others have
pinted out, these may be more a mythology for Britain than for England.

I also find it interesting that Lewis, in "The lion, the witch and the
wardrobe", appears to support the soteriology that Anselm rejected.

Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 7, 2004, 1:04:28 AM6/7/04
to

Steve Hayes wrote:

> On Sat, 05 Jun 2004 10:26:47 -0500, L
>

> >Steve Hayes wrote:
>
> For the record, since this is before the period we were originally discussing,
> the "filioque" was introduced in Rome itself some time after 1000.

Probably under Benedict VIII, but do remember that Leo IX approved of it in the ninth century, and
Photius in the 870s created a nice little schism with ROME over it, claiming that the clause showed
Rome's overstepping its bounds, as he thought it had in not supporting him for the Partiarchy over
his rival Ignatius.

> "Byzantium" is an anachronism, a term introduced by tendentious Western
> historians with an axe to grind. The city was then called Constaninople, and
> it, and its church, regarded themselves as Roman. They would have been post
> surprised to discover that some people of a later age regarded them as not
> Roman but "Byzantine".

I see this is a sore spot. But let me point out that for example Gildas the Wise says that the
Roman British Celts are the New Israel, but that didn't make them Jews. Or the rulers of Kiev once
claimed themselves to be the Third Rome, but that didn't make it so, did it?

> Those who promoted the "filioque" were Franks. The
> schism of 1054 was caused by ignorant Frankish legates from the Pope of Rome
> excomunicating the Patriarch of Constantinople for allegedly removing the
> "filioque" from the Symbol of Faith. Such was their ignorance that they were
> not aware that it was not originally part of the Symbol of Faith, but had been
> added by the Council of Toledo.

Filioque predates the Franks. It starts with Augustine, and is added to the creed at Council of
Toledo in 447. No this wasn't an ecumenical council, but nonetheless, one can not claim it was a
recent issue. It is further promulgated when the Visiogoths finally convert from being Arian to the
Roman brand of Christianity at the third synod of Toledo in 589. The Franks are busy in France and
haven't become much of a force yet. And I don't disagree that the Schism of 1054 lacked the benefit
of our hindsight and historical knowledge and ability to read multiple languages--an ability that
few had in 1054.


>
>
> Until 1054 the Churches of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and
> Jerusalem were in communion with each other, and were part of what the Symbol
> of Faith refers to as the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church". Thus any
> who were in communion with the bishops of any of those cities were regarded as
> being part of the Orthodox Church.

I see, so basically you're defining the Orthodox church simply by the acceptance or rejection of the
filioque clause--those who do not have it or reject it are Orthodox and those who accept it are
not. The problem I have with this is that it ignores pretty much all other theological, political,
and practical (things that are in "praxis") differences between East and West.

>
>
> The spat in 1054 was originally between Rome and Constantinople only.
> Alexandria, for example, was still in communion with Rome, and indeed with
> Canterbury and York.
>

Considering that the church in Alexandria in the eleventh century had probably not heard of
Canterbury and York, only in the most mystical way could one say that they were "in communion." But
more to the point, as I'm now saying for the third time, the Old English Creed, the creed as recited
in the Anglo-Saxon church which you claimed was considered Orthodox contains the filioque clause.
By your definition, this means it is not Orthodox. The same is true of the Irish church of the same
period.

>
> The other point, which is more germane to this thread, was that there were
> changes in Western Eucharistic theology at about this time (11th-12th
> centuries) which may have been related to the Grail stories that became
> popular at the same time. I really cannot see the relevance of Bede or Aelfric
> to this.
>

Because they are not. I invite you to reread the thread and the posts where I have reacted to you.
I have had one point, one point only that you seem not to grasp. In your discussion on this you
claimed that the Irish and Anglo-Saxon churches were "Orthodox" and I have been at some pains to get
you to realize that this is not true. That is where Bede and Aelfric come in. Awake yet?

<snippage of stuff not related to this subthread>

ljs

Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 7, 2004, 1:12:36 AM6/7/04
to
I misreported a fact down there. Where it says Leo IX, it should be Leo III of the early ninth
century--the same one that Charlemagne reinstated.

Michael Martinez

unread,
Jun 7, 2004, 1:13:24 AM6/7/04
to
Larry Swain <thes...@sbcglobal.net> wrote in message news:<40C35965...@sbcglobal.net>...

> Michael Martinez wrote:
>
> > So, you were raised by a Roman Catholic priest and studied all those
> > languages, too, did you? Well, I'm impressed.
>
> I'd say I have a pretty strong Catholic connection and again, essentially
> (not precisely) the same as Tolkien's.

Not precisely?

Then all your swaggering is for nought.

Now, run along and play with yourself. I'm not going to walk into
your trap THAT easily.

Michael Martinez

unread,
Jun 7, 2004, 1:18:57 AM6/7/04
to
Flame of the West <jsol...@comcast.net> wrote in message news:<y-ydnWmwe88...@comcast.com>...

> Michael Martinez wrote:
>
> >>Here is a clear justification for your contention that only BoLT
> >>can be regarded as a "mythology for England." Of course, you're
> >>welcome to classify things how you like, as are we all. But it's
> >>clear from Letter 180 that Tolkien himself didn't see it the way
> >>you do.
> >
> > No, all that is clear from Letter 180 is that Tolkien had sense enough
> > to realize that it was better to conflate the facts for convenience,
> > rather than risk a long, drawn-out correspondence which would have
> > achieved nothing.
>
> But why would he bring up the subject at all if it were so
> complex that he couldn't explain it without either getting
> into a long discussion or messing with the facts?

One of the passages I ALMOST cited was where Christopher explained how
both he and his father used "Silmarillion" to refer to different
things (including, on some occasions, ALL of the texts, from THE BOOK
OF LOST TALES up through whatever note JRRT happened to be scribbling
at any given moment).

However, it occurred to me that, since you folks are having trouble
accepting the basic, straight-forward facts, the complex abstractions
would be even further beyond your grasp.

And this is all because you are simply being belligerent. It's not
because you don't understand what I've been saying. It's that you
strictly want to argue me into a corner (which you aren't capable of
doing because you're too lazy to crack open the books yourself).

So, why not start over again with an open mind, if it's possible for
you to redeem yourself.

That doesn't mean you have to agree with me on anything. I am only
suggesting you discard (or temporarily set aside) your preconceived
notions and READ THE BOOKS FOR YOURSELF.

It is obvious that you have gotten all your opinions by reading
Conrad's impaired citations. It's also obvious that, since you've
been practicing the anti-MM religion for several years, you're as
unlikely to accept the truth from me as to come to my next Christmas
party.

But if you sit down with the books, read them from cover to cover (as
I have), and then go back and look for these specific points, you'll
stand a good chance for forgetting all the bullshit you've absorbed
and seeing the texts as they really are for the first time in your
life.

You still might not agree with me, but at least you would be arriving
at your opinion on your own.

I suspect you would find that to be both a maturing and a liberating
exercise.

Michael Martinez

unread,
Jun 7, 2004, 1:20:47 AM6/7/04
to
Chris Kern <chris...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<tk36c0pqu4kfg42re...@4ax.com>...

> On 5 Jun 2004 23:40:15 -0700, Mic...@xenite.org (Michael Martinez)
> posted the following:
>
> >No, all that is clear from Letter 180 is that Tolkien had sense enough
> >to realize that it was better to conflate the facts for convenience,
> >rather than risk a long, drawn-out correspondence which would have
> >achieved nothing.
>
> What cite from the letter can you provide where he states that he is
> conflating the facts?

What cite from the letter can you provide where he states he is NOT
conflating the facts?

Better yet, why don't you just post all the facts here in about as
much text as Tolkien used to write that letter. That would prove
beyond all possible argument that he wasn't conflating the facts.

Wouldn't it?

And if there are really so few facts, well, then, even YOU should be
able to find them.

I look forward to either of your two reasonable citations.

Larry Swain

unread,
Jun 7, 2004, 10:24:36 AM6/7/04
to

Michael Martinez wrote:

> Larry Swain <thes...@sbcglobal.net> wrote in message news:<40C35965...@sbcglobal.net>...
> > Michael Martinez wrote:
> >
> > > So, you were raised by a Roman Catholic priest and studied all those
> > > languages, too, did you? Well, I'm impressed.
> >
> > I'd say I have a pretty strong Catholic connection and again, essentially
> > (not precisely) the same as Tolkien's.
>
> Not precisely?
>
> Then all your swaggering is for nought.

And there's your problem Michael. You don't even recognize an honest attempt at peacemaking when
it comes up and hits you on the head. Once again you choose the adversarial relationship come hell
or high water. AH well, its no skin at all off my nose.

As for my statements of fact regarding my own career and how closely it matches Tolkien's, if it is
for all naught since it doesn't absolutely mirror Tolkien's, doesn't this mean we should disregard
everything you say since your background is something less than an exact match to Tolkien's too?
And since you're not even a philologist, unlike myself, shouldn't you NOT be making statements
about it, or about the field of Anglo-Saxon studies and Tolkien's involvement since you are neither
an Old English expert nor have an education to match Tolkien's? Seems to me that yes you should
keep quiet and apologize across the Net for continually repeating your errors. But of course, that
will never happen.

>
>
> Now, run along and play with yourself. I'm not going to walk into
> your trap THAT easily.

Ah, I'm cut to the quick!! Such a juvenile comment, Michael. I'd expect a much better insult
coming from a man with your experience in flame wars. As for a trap, it wasn't. It was a honest
attempt to discuss things on which we disagree in an open and adult manner if you could mangage
it. Apparently you can not. The only trap here is the one in your own mind, and you are already
trapped there; there is nothing I need do or even could. Your choice.

So, back to Tolkien......you've stated in the past that Tolkien is not an Anglo-Saxonist and not a
medievalist. Is not your statements earlier in this thread a change in your position wherein you
allow that Tolkien would, albeit grudingly, admit to being a medievalist and Anglo-Saxonist? And
where do you see, what are your sources, that his philological interests and training is NOT
something that all Anglo-Saxonists and Old English specialists receive, that many such specialists
continue to work in philology of Germanic languages, and that being an Anglo-Saxonist is somehow
NOT being a philologist? And I've asked before and will ask again about your claim that people are
overlooking or forgetting Tolkien's interests in Old Norse and Welsh and other matters. I'll keep
asking. I expect you will not answer, because I think deep down you know I'm right and are unable
to admit it or to provide a basis for your comments.

Best Regards Michael,

ljs

Michael Martinez

unread,
Jun 7, 2004, 3:40:37 PM6/7/04