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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Eru in early works


Jun 4 2014, 12:43pm

Views: 99
Eru in early works [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems Tolkien started by just trying to write his Elvish legends in homage to the actual pagan European mythologies, but found he could not do it because the results conflicted too strongly with his own deep-seated sense of religious propriety.

I think you are correct, and make a good point, about the distinction between Eru and the Valar, and [and not that you said otherwise] I also think this might have been present even in the early Book of Lost Tales, despite how the 'gods' acted, and were described within, and despite that they were to be directly identified with Northern gods, by the fairies.

For the thread in general: a translation conceit is firmly in place in The Book of Lost Tales: especially in the earliest Eriol scenario we appear to have a germanic translator who will, when hearing about the Valar, naturally make the comparison to the gods of the 'Great Lands' (but again, so might a reader who reads the Valaquenta of the 1950s). An older Tolkien makes Iluvatar the creator of beings who can be called 'gods' but are not from a theological standpoint, and be accepted by a Catholic, as Squire noted.

A younger Tolkien still makes sure, in my opinion, that E[n]ru is notably distinct. From The Book of Lost Tales II, commentary, The Fall of Gondolin

'In the present tale he [Tuor] 'heard tell of Iluvatar', the Lord for Always, who dwelleth beyond the world', and of the music of the Ainur. Knowledge of the very existence of Iluvatar was, it seems, a perogative of the Elves; long afterwards in the garden of Mar Vanwa Tyalieva (I. 49) Eriol asked Rumil: 'Who was Iluvatar? Was he of the Gods?' and Rumil answered: 'Nay, that he was not; for he made them. Iluvatar is the Lord for Always, who dwells beyond the world.'

JRR Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien commentary
Another interesting thing is the entry on Iluvatar from the very early Qenya Lexicon [although Tolkien is not consistent about this admittedly, even in his youth].

ILU (Cp. ili) ether, the slender airs among the stars.

Iluvatar (d) the name of Enu among Men.
Heavenly father.

JRRT, Qenya Lexicon

The name 'among Men'. And [same source]...

Enu God Almighty, the creator who dwells without the world

The young Tolkien also has references to the Blessed Trinity [in Christian teaching, the three persons of the one God: Father, Son and Holy Ghost] in his early nomenclature.

ION (form of Yon.) mystic name of God.
2nd Person of Blessed Trinity

(pages later)

*Sa fire, especially in temples etc. A mystic name identified with Holy Ghost.

JRRT Qenya Lexicon

Captalization as found in QL. And for [possibly] anyone wondering 'Qenya' is the correct spelling in this context

Note that Yon refers to the entry Yo, yond 'son'. Compare PME:

Ion 'mystic name of Enu'

JRRT, The Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa

All very early stuff in any case.

Subject User Time
Question about the Ainur... Faramir5 Send a private message to Faramir5 Jun 2 2014, 11:19pm
    Yes, I think CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jun 2 2014, 11:35pm
        Manw does IdrilLalaith Send a private message to IdrilLalaith Jun 3 2014, 2:19am
        Yes exactly! DaughterofLaketown Send a private message to DaughterofLaketown Jun 3 2014, 10:09pm
            Unlike Saints, however... Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Jun 4 2014, 3:40am
            The Valar Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Jun 4 2014, 11:26am
            Tolkien's Catholic pantheon squire Send a private message to squire Jun 4 2014, 11:39am
                Eru in early works Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Jun 4 2014, 12:43pm


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