MiddleEarthBlog: The Hobbit or Reclaiming Jerusalem


Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Hobbit or Reclaiming Jerusalem

  Rather a strange title but one I feel is relevant to the novel THE HOBBIT. I know Professor Tolkien despised allegory in any form but I am using some of his own statements to back up my reason for the strange title of the piece.Let me also state up front that this article is not meant to be anti-Semitic and if it offends anyone i apologize as that is not my intent that being said let us continue. Are you familiar with the term Diaspora, it's meaning is roughly a scattering of the people.There are many examples of this in the history of the world, for example the tribes of Africa scattered by the advent of slavery and their being carried off to different lands also the Native American tribes forced to leave their homelands in the American south and east and moved to reservations in Oklahoma, the trail of tears. For the Jewish people the First Daspora began with the Babylonian exile in 586BC and several more Diaspora thereafter which resulted in a great scattering of the Jewish people to the four corners of the world. Though they were scattered they managed to hang on to their traditions and beliefs and for many there was always a great longing to return to their homeland and reclaim what they felt was their birthright.Jerusalem was of course the capital of that land they desired to return to someday. So what does this have to do with THE HOBBIT. Professor Tolkien in his own words stated that he looked upon the Dwarfs of his story as being Jewish like in many ways. The Dwarfs had been seperated from their homelands ( Moria, The Lonely Mountains etc... ) by circumstances ( Dragons, Balrogs) and forced to live in new lands, In these new lands they held to ancient traditions and lived in colonies together ( Ghettoes) where they became great craftsman and prospered. Even though they lived amongst other peoples they held close to their own communities and only mingled with others for trading purposes.Tolkien stated in a letter "I do think of the 'Dwarves' like Jews: at once native and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue.Did he mean this as an affront to Jewry I really don't believe so. Though Tolkien was a devout Catholic I don't believe that he was stained with anti-semitism which had been so prevalent in European society for centuries. One could argue that the Dwarfs greed and desire for gold might be looked on as an example of Euro-Christian perception of Jewish people and that was truly the prevailing feeling of the time but I feel that the gold is more a symbol of not lost monetary treasure but as a symbol of the truly great lost treasure the Dwarven ( Jewish ) homeland and isn't it interesting that the great lost treasure of the Lonely Mountains is called the Arkenstone ( Ark of the covenant )? THE HOBBIT is a wonderful story and I certainly don't mean to say that it is anything but that. I'm just offering a different twist on the story. Even though Professor Tolkien felt as i stated earlier that he despised allegory. I as a mere mortal seem to find it everywhere in his stories.Maybe that is part of the fun of reading Tolkien. I would ask for his forgiveness.Therefore the Dwarfs trip to return and reclaim their ancient homelands in the Lonely mountains not a little unlike the Jewish people returning to Israel post World War II and reclaiming what they felt to be their homeland and couldn't the lonely mountains or Moria for that matter be seen as Jerusalem . I will let you the reader decide that for yourself. These are but my perceptions, faulty maybe, filled with errors usually but my perceptions none the less. But no harm intended.

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