The Instigator
wrichcirw
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
ararmer1919
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

A Possible Interpretation of Mordor of the Lord of the Rings

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2014 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,275 times Debate No: 43402
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (25)
Votes (3)

 

wrichcirw

Pro

This debate is impossible to accept. If you would like to debate this resolution, feel free to either leave a note in the comments section or PM me. This is to avoid the tendency of forfeitures on this website.


Background

I recently engaged in a discussion about Israel, and somehow a tangential line of thinking led me to muse about the Lord of the Rings (hereafter LotR) in a Jewish context. This musing made me inadvertently stumble across an exceptionally dark reading of what Mordor may represent.

I want to state that I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, and that the arguments that I will be putting forth I find to be deeply disturbing.

This is not a troll debate. The more I thought along these lines, the more disturbed I became about the content of the LotR and related works, and of course J. R. R. Tolkien himself.


Resolution


Mordor May Possibly Be Interpreted as Israel


Definitions

(from wikipedia and Merriam Webster)

Mordor - In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, Mordor was the dwelling place of Sauron, in the southeast of northwestern Middle-earth to the East of Anduin, the great river.

Possible - being something that may or may not be true or actual <possible explanation>

(opposite of "impossible")

Essentially, CON will have to argue that my interpretation is not possible.

Interpret - to explain or tell the meaning of : present in understandable terms

Israel - the land west of the River Jordan that constitutes the modern state of Israel.


Rules

My standard boiler-plate:

This will be a NO SCORING debate. I am far less concerned with the scoring mechanism of this website, and much more interested in furthering constructive dialogue on this matter. I see the scoring mechanism as being extremely politicized and subject to all manners of corruption, and also see it as an inhibitor to constructive dialogue as many people who vote simply do not want their vote challenged or discussed.

Anyone and everyone is more than welcome to make a decision on this debate, declare a victor, and leave (hopefully) an insightful RFD, I merely ask that no one score this debate.

I will make exception to the scoring of conduct. Any forfeited rounds, ad hominem attacks, or breaching of the rules of this debate will merit a conduct point against the offender. Otherwise, no scoring, thank you.




---

Burden of proof (BoP) is on PRO.

4 rounds
1st round acceptance only
2/3 rounds argument and rebuttal
4th round closing, no new arguments or sources.

5,000 character rounds.
ararmer1919

Con

Love the idea of this debate and I thank my Wrichcirw for starting it. I'm a huge fan of the LotR books (though I feel the movies were an injustice) and so this should be pretty good. I assert that the LotR trilogy is a representation of the events of WW2. Good luck to my opponent and lets do this thing.
Debate Round No. 1
wrichcirw

Pro

I thank ararmer1919 for accepting, I've read quite a few of his debates and know he's capable of making compelling arguments.

lol, I actually thought the movies (at least the extended versions) were surprisingly faithful to the books. I suppose I'm a rather visual person. =)

I want to remind CON that regardless of whether or not he forwards a case, BoP is on me, and CON must specifically refute my presentation. Even if CON successfully proves that the LotR can possibly be interpreted as a representation of the events of WWII, he still must disprove that Mordor cannot be interpreted as Israel. For this debate, I do not need to make my presentation more compelling than CON's case should he forward one...I only need to prove that my interpretation is possible.

Finally, for most of the LotR-related terminology, I'll mainly be using wikipedia and wikia (http://lotr.wikia.com...) for ease of reference, as I do not have a copy of the LotR or the Silmarillion with me at the moment.

Anyway, onto the debate!


Arguments


Mordor is Israel

To begin, here is a map of Middle Earth:




The hobbits of the Shire are in Eriador in the northwest, whereas Sauron of Mordor is in the southeast. Geographically speaking, this happens to be the general locations of England and the Middle East relative to each other, England being northwest of the Middle East.

On the southern edge of the map, Tolkien's Haradrim of Haradwaith are classified as "southern" folk, ride elephants, and have dark skin. "Harad" itself is actually the name of an Indian herb used in ayurvedic medicine (http://www.kandmool.com...). The elephant creatures in LotR are called "mumaks", which bears strong linguistic resemblance to the real-life elephant-wielding Islamic Mamluk dynasty that ruled various parts of the Middle East, Egypt, and India (http://www.britannica.com...). It is thus rather clear that Tolkien, a Brit, may have used the Indian subcontinent, a British colony, along with the surrounding Islamic regions as a template for these southern people.

What about Mordor then? It lies close to Harad. It is walled off by a gigantic mountain range on its west side, a possible reference to the Western Wall of Jerusalem, one of Israel's holiest sites (http://english.thekotel.org...). Its signature resident Sauron is preoccupied with "Oneness", i.e. the "One Ring to Rule Them All", a possible reference to the monotheistic Abrahamic religions. The Haradrim rally to Sauron's side, similar to how Islam is itself an Abrahamic religion.

What about Sauron himself? Sauron is the spiritual successor of Morgoth, the principle antagonist of the Simarillion, Tolkien's work that created the foundational myth upon which the LotR is based. Morgoth waged war against his fellow Ainur, the "holy ones" i.e. the immortals of Tolkien's fictional universe, and lost. While this may seem to be a reference to Lucifer's war against heaven in Christianity, a reading of Old Testament would also suggest that Morgoth may actually represent the Jewish nation and the Jewish God waging war against the other peoples and religions of the region. Similar to Morgoth, the Jews lost and were disenfranchised and scattered.

Sauron came to prominence in a different age, well after the fall of Morgoth. He created his signature Ring of Power in the fires of Mount Doom, similar to how the signature of Christianity, the Christian Cross, manifested as a symbol of worship on the hilltop of Golgotha. Upon creation of this Ring, Sauron's influence spread across Middle Earth, turning nearly all who associated with him under his control. Sauron would thus be the representation of the Christ, a Jew.

Morgoth and later Sauron are worshipped over the other Ainur by various fallen creatures of Middle Earth - an extremely colored yet appropriate reference to Judaism and Christianity. The God of the Old Testament was a jealous God that recognized the existence of other gods. (http://biblehub.com...)

The near-omniscient Eye of Sauron would then be the equivalent of the Holy Spirit.

All three, Morgoth, Sauron, and the Eye of Sauron, all represent one central theme and purpose, that of power and malice. The idea would then be that Tolkien is advocating the destruction of this power.

Finally, there is Gollum, or perhaps a "golem" per Jewish religion (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...). Like the golem, Gollum is "an artificial creature created by magic, often to serve its creator." Smeagol, what Gollum used to be, would have died long ago if not for the Ring's power - instead, the Ring created Gollum, who lived an unnatural, indeed in many ways an "artificial," life spanning hundreds of years beyond a hobbit's normal life-span.


Conclusion


This is an extremely anti-Semitic and anti-Christian interpretation of the LotR, however I do believe that it is substantiable by a close reading of the books.
ararmer1919

Con

It has always been speculated that the LotR series written by JR Tolkien is heavily based on real world events and locations, and for almost any interpretation of the writings they pretty much are. Even Tolkien him self admitted on several occasions to this fact . The question then that remains is what events and what locations exactly. Although Tolkien stated that while his stories were loosely based on the real world their was no specific time line or incident that he focused on. Instead it is my belief that the LotR is just a large group of references piled into one mixed and matched story. My opponent believes that the main focus here is some form of interpretation of Judaism and Christianity in a very anti-Semitic way. I also believe that the LotR is heavy with anti-Sematism my opponent asserts that the Jewish representation in the book is the land of Mordor and the darklord Sauron. I do not believe this is the case. If the Jewish people are represented by anyone in LotR they would have to be the dwarfs. I will get to this, as well as who other races, lands and certain people represent later. But first my counter arguments to my opponents opening arguments.

My opponent lays down three main points here. The first is that if you base the geography of Middle-earth as a literal representation of the real world then Mordor would be the nation of Israel. My first counter to this is that we can't take the geography of Mid-earth as a literal mirror of the real world. While it is heavily based on the real world the difference is that it isn't a geographical match.

"As for the shape of the world of the Third Age, I am afraid that was devised 'dramatically' rather than geologically, or paleontologically."

The words of Tolkien himself. While certain aspects of the real world were implemented into his fantasy world they were not cardinally placed exactly where they correspond to that of the real world. As I said earlier they are mixed and matched throughout the world. While there is some pretty close similarities they aren't placed exactly in the right dimensions. This would explain why the land of Harawaith which is obviously a representation of India is located farthest south instead of to the far east. This would also make the idea that Mordor is Israel unlikely since India lies to the east of Israel and not to the south. If this map was a direct representation of the real world then where would France and Germany be? What would the land of Forodwaith be? Or the East marches of Rhun?

Another reason this idea is unlikely is because if we did make a literally geographical representation of Mid-earth and the real world then Israel still would not be Mordor because it would not be in the right place. If you go to area 3.6 of this site https://www.google.com... then you will see "If Hobbiton and Rivendell are taken (as intended) to be at about the latitude of Oxford, then Minas Tirith, 600 miles south, is at about the latitude of Florence. The Mouths of Anduin and the ancient city of Pelargir are at about the latitude of ancient Troy." If this is true then the Mouths of Anduin, which are located Southern Gondor which is south of Mordor, would be in the real world the far western coastlines of Turkey which is north of Israel, not south, which conflicts with the idea that Mordor is Israel.

Another point he makes about Israel being Mordor is that Mordor has mountain ranges along its western side, much like the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Well Mordor also has mountain ranges going along the north and southern borders. So what of it? He also makes a suggestion that the Haradrim represent how Islam is an Abrahamic Religion which is true however doesnt really make sense since as you say the Harardrim are ready servants of the darklords while in the real world Islam, Christianity and Judaism are pretty much arch enemies constantly trying to anhialte one another.

The second point that my opponent makes is that characters such as Morgoth and Sauron represent figures such as Lucifer or Christ respectively. Honestly this one is pretty difficult to contend sense this really falls to ones perspective of the item in question. The mind sees what it wants I guess. My best crack at it would be that you cant say that Sauron is Christ since Sauron was Morgoth's servant, follower and eventually his successor who would follow in his old masters footsteps and eventually try and destroy the world. Were as in Christianity Christ and Lucifer are the exact opposites of each other, Christ being the Son of God and his servant and who would one day be destined to fight and defeat Lucifer and who was also the savior of Man, not their destroyer. And I am out of space.
Debate Round No. 2
wrichcirw

Pro

Before I begin my rebuttal, I will point out that CON has quoted Tolkien without providing sources or links to his quotation, which is plagiarism. I strongly suggest that CON correct this method of argumentation in case his sources become less clear in the future.


Rebuttal



R1) CON: "My first counter to this is that we can't take the geography of Mid-earth as a literal mirror of the real world."

CON actually argues against his own counter:

"While there is some pretty close similarities they aren't placed exactly in the right dimensions. This would explain why the land of Harawaith [sic] which is obviously a representation of India is located farthest south instead of to the far east. "

I fully agree that Haradwaith is an obvious representation of India, even though the map isn't "placed exactly in the right dimensions." Similarly, Mordor would be an obvious representation of Israel for the same reasons.

CON is attempting to reframe this debate as a "literal interpretation" of Mordor as Israel. I made no such claim in the resolution...there is no need to take my interpretation to be an exact, literal interpretation of the real world. Instead, I have framed it allegorically. This is fully within the bounds of the resolution.

CON's point is therefore a strawman.


R2) CON mistakenly claims that "Morgoth and Sauron represent figures such as Lucifer or Christ respectively". This is not my argument. I argued that Morgoth was the Old Testament God of Abraham, Sauron the Christ, and the Eye of Sauron the Holy Spirit.

Such is this interpretation of Tolkien's anti-religiosity. Under this interpretation, Tolkien would have us abandon any and all religiosity and usher in a Fourth Age of Men, divorced from the affairs of the elves, and largely divorced from the affairs of the Ainur. Truly a godless society.
(http://en.wikipedia.org...)


R3) CON: "Mordor has mountain ranges along its western side, much like the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Well Mordor also has mountain ranges going along the north and southern borders."

This is too literal an interpretation.

Just like the Western Wall was built by Jews, "Mordor was a relic of the devastating works of Morgoth, apparently formed by massive volcanic eruptions."
http://en.wikipedia.org...



R4) CON: "He also makes a suggestion that the Haradrim represent how Islam is an Abrahamic Religion which is true however... in the real world Islam, Christianity and Judaism are pretty much arch enemies constantly trying to anhialte [sic] one another. "

True as this is, I am framing Tolkien's advocacy as against all Abrahamic religiosity. Hitler's regime especially was very well-known for taking Nietzsche's "God is Dead" quotation far too literally. (http://www.humanevents.com...)

Therefore, the comparison is apt. Under this interpretation, Sauron's servants (i.e. Jews and Christians) and the Haradrim (Muslims) united together to fight against the agnostic/atheistic West. Saruman (Hitler and the Germans), while contemptuous of Sauron and his minions, nevertheless forwarded Sauron's goal of sowing chaos and destruction across Middle-Earth (i.e. Europe).

Indeed, Tolkien was clear that what followed the defeat of Sauron and the Fourth Age of Men was a mostly godless society, as principle characters that were relics of the mythic divinity of the Silmarillion sailed away to Tolkien's conception of heaven, never to intervene in the affairs of Man again.


Gollum and the Jewish Caricature


I will return again to Gollum/"golem"...Gollum is in many ways the stereotypical Jewish caricature:

"The Jewish diaspora...have been stereotyped for over 2,000 years as scapegoats for a multitude of societal problems...Jews are still stereotyped as greedy, nit-picky, stingy misers..."
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Gollum continually fondled the One Ring, made of gold, while it was in his possession. He was not at all inclined to share it, i.e. he was very, very greedy - indeed it was his greed for the Ring that killed him. He was ugly and deformed, as is the penchant for racist anti-Semitism concurrent with the age in which Tolkien was writing. He was treated poorly and despised universally, as were most Jews in Tolkien's time.


Conclusion


As I researched this resolution, the more convinced I became that this interpretation of the LotR is far stronger than what may prima facie strike most readers as at the very least extremely unconventional, especially given Tolkien's stated Catholic faith. I will at this point warn readers against committing the intentional fallacy (http://www.britannica.com...), i.e. judging a work by the intent of its author. It is easily possible that Tolkien unintentionally injected several elements of severe anti-Semitism and atheism into his principle works.

I await CON's rebuttal.
ararmer1919

Con

So I really tried lol, spent a good amount of time trying to come up with a counter argument and the more I tried the more I realized that I myself didn't believe my own arguments. Pro, in my opinion, put out a rock solid argument that I myself now find pretty much true so to continue trying to argue it would be arguing against myself as well. I still believe that a representation of WW2 is the more stronger probability however even if I did prove that it still wouldn't disprove your theory and if there is an argument that can be made to counter it I just honestly don't have the skill to see it. I believe that Pro has proven his case and I formally surrender. Hate to be beat this bad but hey when your own opinion has been changed by your opponents argument then what's a guy gona do you know? I hope this isn't a let down to my opponent but I know when Iv been beatin. And you have beatin me. If this is a disappointment then please reopen this debate for someone else to take for I would love to see what arguments they could put forth since I just can't think of one that I would believe myself. Thank you for your time Wirch and I hope I don't waste it. You put a lot of new ideas in my head and I gota say it's pretty interesting.
Debate Round No. 3
wrichcirw

Pro

lol, I thank ararmer for the graceful concession. =)

Given that the formal debate is over, I will consider both of us released from the parameters in round #1. I am now going to expand upon my analysis with more details and sources.

I have been reading Tolstoy's "The Kingdom of God is Within You" [1] and will incorporate it into my analysis.


The Duality of Religiosity


Background


IMHO the conflict in Middle Earth represents a two-sided debate that was raging in Tolkien's time surrounding one question - what was valuable about religion?


Philosophers like Nietzsche would have had Tolkien believe that religion was anachronistic - "God is Dead".


Tolstoy framed the utility of the Christian religion as being specific only to Christ's message on the Sermon on the Mount - that of non-resistance to evil by force (turn the other cheek). He also eschewed all miracles [1, chapter 3], to include even Christ's resurrection and the Book of Revelation - such was his belief in the message:

"The Book of Revelation, in reality reveals nothing" (http://tinyurl.com..., page 28-29)

Tolstoy was Gandhi's spiritual inspiration for his resistance movement in India. Gandhi changed Tolstoy's vision to allow for non-violent resistance; Tolstoy, had he been alive to witness what Gandhi accomplished, would have objected even to this level of resistance.


Tolkien was aware of India's culture and society, and so it would follow that given how much religiosity is found in the LotR and the Silmarillion, that Tolkien was more than likely keenly aware of Gandhi's religiously-thematic resistance movement in India, and thus Tolstoy's influence over him.


Allow me to demonstrate how this all comes together:


Thesis


Tolkien used the LotR to frame this debate by creating a sort of dualism of religion. Basically, Mordor may indeed be Israel, and Morgoth, Sauron, and the Eye of Sauron may represent an "Unholy Trinity" mirroring God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit...but indeed there is a mirror image of a "Holy Trinity" as well in Eru Iluvatar (the "Creator"), Gandalf (a militant, apocalyptic warrior-Christ found in Revelation), and Lady Galadriel (who was always with Frodo in spirit). Keep in mind that both Gandalf AND Sauron experienced a resurrection.


The "Unholy Trinity" would represent any and all religious amalgamations of power - the real world-equivalent would be organized religions and the nations and governments it co-opted. Sauron's One Ring of Power and the lesser rings it bound to its service would represent the religious institutions that worshiped the evil manifestation of the one "true" god of power.


1) This allegory manifests in Tolstoy's voluminous arguments against the Orthodox Church as actually perverting Christ's message of brotherly love and non-resistance to evil by force, and instead replacing it with rites and ceremonies designed to maintain the power of aristocrats like himself, utilizing conscription and force whenever necessary to do so [1, chapter 3].


2) This allegory also manifests itself in several ways in regards to the modern state of Israel:

a) As demonstrated, there are unmistakable allusions to Jerusalem in the geography of Mordor specifically.

b) The dwarves in "The Hobbit" were an early allegory of the Jewish Zionist movement (http://tinyurl.com...) - their bid for power ended up in rapacious greed, a multinational war, and a Pyrrhic victory in the death of Thorin.

c) In the LotR, Gollum/"Golem" is the linchpin of how Sauron is framed - with Gollum it becomes clear that Sauron is much more closely aligned with the Judeo-Christian tradition than Islam. Gollum would then supersede the dwarves in "The Hobbit" as representing Zionism. In Tolkien's vision, Zionism would lead to another cataclysmic world war in the future and the destruction of Israel.


The "Holy Trinity" would represent religiosity devoid of any such corporeal power. It would be Tolstoy's message of non-resistance to evil by force in a pure form.

Unlike Sauron and Saruman (Nietzsche => Hitler) who was corrupted by Sauron, Gandalf had no such proclivities to power. More than anything, Gandalf was a source of inspiration. Even when Gandalf took to the sword as Christ did in Revelations, he proved to be ineffective - it was Frodo's pity, and Bilbo's before him, that actually decided the fate of evil. Hence, Tolstoy's vision is manifested - it is through non-resistance to evil by force, through brotherly love, that evil is conquered forever.

This would frame Gandalf and "Jewishness" as a universal trait, and not specific to Zionism or any group of people.

Tolkien may also have been alluding to Gandhi's independence movement through Frodo in the LotR.


Conclusion


Whether or not you believe in my interpretation of Tolkien's message is your opinion. I now believe this interpretation is most likely what Tolkien was thinking, even if subconsciously.

I am out of room. I hope this has been quite interesting, as it was for me.

[1] http://www.gutenberg.org...
ararmer1919

Con

My hat's off to my opponent for a great debate and an excellent victory. Very enjoyable and congratulations.
Debate Round No. 4
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
Anyway, thanks for your opinion. =)

Oh, and on anti-Semitism, here's the source that got me interested in that portion specifically:

http://www.onpoptheology.com...

It was rather convincing.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
@Josh_B:

There was no real "source" that caused me to develop this resolution. I had been engaging in a thread on Israeli/Palestinian relations here (http://www.debate.org...) that somehow got me on a wild tangent of looking at the LotR in that context. I had always thought that maybe it was an Islamic connection, but realized that that would have just been me placing too much of my own subjective context into the work.

I suppose the discussion got me thinking about the foundations of Israel, and then I noted that there were some strong similarities to the formation of Mordor, especially given Tolkien's emphasis on religion and Zionism's own religious priorities. It was all sort of serendipitous.

I think I led too strongly in this debate with an anti-Semitic mindset, because my arguments in the thread dealt with Zionism as a racially motivated political movement, which then caused me to frame my arguments here in a racial context, which given "Mordor" would obviously place them in a negative context, lol.

I think I recovered by the final round when I was able to really flesh this perspective out. It's much more a religious-oriented interpretation than a racial one.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
That is a fair point about Gollum, the spelling has been changed, but not the pronunciation... I guess I just see him more as the person corrupted, than as a being made from clay.

Really like everyone else, I don't want this theory to be true, yet considering the era of the author's upbringing; such influences (even unconscious?) are hard to outright dismiss. In any case, you took a Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, and made a real and valid case out of it.

Were the resolution "Gollum represents Justin Biever" than I would disagree with the possibility, until time travel is proven a possibility. Granted J.B. hiding in that cave obsessing over a purity ring, would be more scary.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
Thanks for the vote ragnar:

1) Fully agree I should have left the part about plagiarism out...I think that was too strongly worded by me.

2) "Gollum seems doubtful, yet the obsession with gold adds a RING OF TRUTH to it..." LOL, I see what u did there...

Am I the only person that sees the Gollum thing that strongly? I mean, GOLEM? From a linguist, no less?
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
@ML:

I also just want to add that if you think that 13 dwarves speaking a Hebrew derivative (12 disciples plus one leader, incidentally) who were disenfranchised, and upon attaining a "document" (1948 British Palestine mandate) decided to reclaim their homeland by any means necessary does NOT describe the Zionist movement, then I'd have to conclude that you think that allegory and allusion do not exist.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
@ML:

I think both you and Roy are focusing on anti-Semitism specifically, and I will agree that the line is rather nebulous in this debate, especially given that it stemmed from a discussion on geopolitics and my own thesis that Zionism is racist/ethnically discriminatory.

The main focus on this debate even in the opening was on religiosity and Tolkien's framing of various religious influences of the time into specific places, themes, and characters in LotR and the Silmarillion. Given Tolkien's own religiosity, and his penchant for myth creation, I think this would make for an interpretation that, if it follows closely the source material, would be the most compelling type of interpretation of Tolkien's intent in regards to the "message" of his works.

I'd now like to ask you what you think my hypothesis is.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
"Your hypothesis certainly cannot be definitively proven false, but its likelihood is negligible in terms of other hypotheses."

I sincerely doubt that now. I find this interpretation to be the most compelling interpretation I've come across.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
"But I disagree with your earlier point as well insofar as you draw a possibly stronger connection from one instance. Tolkien was a master of linguistics and able to craft his own quasi language for the Elves."

The elven language is a derivative of Finnish, a Scandinavian language. Tolkien drew inspiration for the elves themselves from the same region. So I would say that the connection is easily justifiable. I don't understand the nature of your disagreement.

---

"From his fascination with language, and in accordance with Roy's point about the purpose of language in the novels..."

Roy's specific point is pure speculation and opinion.

---

"I find it hard to believe that Tolkien wished to demonize the Jews or at least display their dubious traits and at the same time consciously made the decision to derive the language of the dwarves from Hebrew and the language of Mordor from another language."

I did not equate Mordor to Jews, I equated it to Israel in a religious context. All Abrahamic religiosity originated from Israel. The connection with Gollum is indeed a Jewish connection, but that does not make any of the denizens of Mordor Jewish, nor does it necessitate that they speak some derivation of Hebrew.

---

"It seems more likely that he merely wished to portray the dwarves as a hardy, stout folk and that Hebrew, when spoken and read, fit that role for Tolkien. "

I thought I already referenced it... Tolkien specifically mentioned that the dwarves were allegorical of the Zionist movement. Here is another reference.

http://www.timesofisrael.com...

"The dwarves of course are quite obviously, wouldn"t you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews? Their words are Semitic, obviously, constructed to be Semitic. The hobbits are just rustic English people,"
Posted by ModerateLiberalism 3 years ago
ModerateLiberalism
But I disagree with your earlier point as well insofar as you draw a possibly stronger connection from one instance. Tolkien was a master of linguistics and able to craft his own quasi language for the Elves. From his fascination with language, and in accordance with Roy's point about the purpose of language in the novels, I find it hard to believe that Tolkien wished to demonize the Jews or at least display their dubious traits and at the same time consciously made the decision to derive the language of the dwarves from Hebrew and the language of Mordor from another language. I do not think the Gollum point is nearly strong enough to refute the fact that Tolkien, being so aware of language, could have chosen to base the language of Mordor off of Hebrew and chose instead to allocate that language base to the dwarves. It seems more likely that he merely wished to portray the dwarves as a hardy, stout folk and that Hebrew, when spoken and read, fit that role for Tolkien. Your hypothesis certainly cannot be definitively proven false, but its likelihood is negligible in terms of other hypotheses.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
@Roy,

I'll agree with you in saying that Tolkien was himself more than likely not an anti-Semite. Regardless, the way Gollum is portrayed is unmistakable. It would have to be one hell of a cosmic accident for what I cited in this debate about Gollum to have all been sheer coincidence.

Gollum may be Tolkien's way of alluding to how the best qualities of Jewishness that he was aware of would become corrupted by the allure of power.

---

Then, there's no mistaking that in multiple instances Tolkien himself is already admittedly critical of Zionism, especially in "The Hobbit".
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by joepbr 3 years ago
joepbr
wrichcirwararmer1919Tied
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a very interesting debate, and, while Con conceded at the end, his burden of proof was almost impossible to be fulfilled, since the resolution was about whether the interpretation was 'possible', and not 'most likely'. If the resolution was about the latter, Con could probably have won. Pro's theory exposed in the last round seems quite different from the one he defended throughout the debate. While the latter ends with the conclusion that Mordor is an anti-Semitic representation of Israel and the Jewish people per se, the former has Mordor as an "abstract" Israel, that is, a representation of organized religion and it's relation with power, in opposition to a more "pure" view of religiosity (the "unholy" vs "holy" trinities). While this interpretation is quite convincing, the fact that Tolkien was a fervent catholic contradicts it, unless all those references were entirely unintended, as Pro claims in some points.
Vote Placed by Josh_b 3 years ago
Josh_b
wrichcirwararmer1919Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I wasn't really sure where pro was going with this at first, but it seems legit. This is not the first time an author has made references to real life events or used fictional stories to convey a real, controversial, and philosophical message. I have heard some reference to the anti-Semitic nature but I think you point out key issues. I would like to see the link you found and do some deeper research.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
wrichcirwararmer1919Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I first of all disagree with the claim of plagiarism. Con quoting someone, was the very definition of not stealing credit for someone else's work (as much as I too would have preferred a source). I'm giving con the geography point, as such added nice layers, but did not pan out. "Morgoth was the Old Testament God of Abraham" I give to pro, in part due to con misinterpreting it; and I can definitely see the Godless Society bit as (potentially) valid. The sailed away bit adds good weight to the case. Gollum seems doubtful, yet the obsession with gold adds a ring of truth to it... Anyway, I'm not comfortable admitting this, but pro has thought out this case rather well, and it's a little more than possible (unlikely maybe, but a solid possibility). Arg to pro. Sources to pro. Conduct to con for admitting defeat. (NO SCORING DEBATE)