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"Strange and free"—On Some Aspects of the Nature of Elves and Men

"Strange and free"—On Some Aspects of the Nature of Elves and Men THOMAS FORNET-PONSE n her recent article on fate and free will in Middle-earth, Verlyn Flieger highlights the character of these concepts as being human interpretations of phenomena--and not facts that are easily demonstrable. In view of human interpretation of reality and history, her statement seems very convincing: What emerges in Tolkien's depiction of Eä, the "World that Is," is a picture of the confusing state of affairs in the world that really `is,' a state of affairs as it appears to us humans, an uncertain, unreliable, untidy, constantly swinging balance between fate and human effort, between the Music and the Task. (Flieger, Music 176) It is exactly this confusing state of affairs in our world that poses the challenges for philosophy and theology when they are addressing the question of freedom and determinism, fate or providence. Therefore, even if--as Flieger further states--Tolkien did not attempt to solve this problem but to show the world as he saw it (what is probable), this does not mean that a coherent philosophical or theological interpretation of it cannot be applied successfully to Tolkien's sub-creation--or emerge from it. Rather, Tolkien's non-simplifying depiction of this problem may help to clarify some of the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Tolkien Studies West Virginia University Press

"Strange and free"—On Some Aspects of the Nature of Elves and Men

Tolkien Studies , Volume 7 (1) – Aug 25, 2010

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West Virginia University Press
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Abstract

THOMAS FORNET-PONSE n her recent article on fate and free will in Middle-earth, Verlyn Flieger highlights the character of these concepts as being human interpretations of phenomena--and not facts that are easily demonstrable. In view of human interpretation of reality and history, her statement seems very convincing: What emerges in Tolkien's depiction of Eä, the "World that Is," is a picture of the confusing state of affairs in the world that really `is,' a state of affairs as it appears to us humans, an uncertain, unreliable, untidy, constantly swinging balance between fate and human effort, between the Music and the Task. (Flieger, Music 176) It is exactly this confusing state of affairs in our world that poses the challenges for philosophy and theology when they are addressing the question of freedom and determinism, fate or providence. Therefore, even if--as Flieger further states--Tolkien did not attempt to solve this problem but to show the world as he saw it (what is probable), this does not mean that a coherent philosophical or theological interpretation of it cannot be applied successfully to Tolkien's sub-creation--or emerge from it. Rather, Tolkien's non-simplifying depiction of this problem may help to clarify some of the

Journal

Tolkien StudiesWest Virginia University Press

Published: Aug 25, 2010

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