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The Silmarillion and Judeo-Christian Themes

            The Silmarillion and Judeo-Christian Themes.
             Tolkien disliked topical and allegorical readings of his mythology. Although he did acknowledge that writing myth and fairytale required a certain amount of allegorical language, he said that many of his readers confuse "applicability" with "allegory." The difference, he writes, is that "the one resides in the freedom of the reader and the other in the purposed domination of the author." Tolkien was therefore well aware of the varied interpretations and understandings his audience would draw from his mythology. Therefore, his use of Norse, Druidic, Celtic, Teutonic, and Judeo-Christian themes can be seen as Tolkien's attempt to incorporate the worlds of his audience into his mythology. In a sense, Tolkien realized that acceptance of his mythology depended heavily on the common ground his work shared with the collective understanding of his readers. Therefore, the prevalence of Judeo-Christian themes in the stories of The Silmarillion can be seen as narrative devices meant to connect the understanding of the reader to the world of Tolkien's mythology. For instance, similarities between the biblical and Middle-earth creation myths, which include connections between God and Eru as well as the Valar and angels, provide the reader with an immediate point of reference to their nature. Furthermore, the strong links between Melkor and Satan foreshadow the role his character plays throughout the mythology. Similarly, in the story of "Beren and Luthien" subtle Judeo-Christian themes, including a connection to the story of Judas and the disciples, help to portray the function of prophecy and fate within Middle-earth. And finally, the Judeo-Christian ties to creation of Man in Middle Earth presents the reader a way to which to understand their own position in the mythology of Middle-earth. In essence, all of these similarities help to ease the reader out of the real world and into Middle-earth.

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