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Minas Tirith Forums » Languages of Arda » Hebraic interpretations of Tolkien languages (Page 2)
Author Topic: Hebraic interpretations of Tolkien languages
Roll of Honor Thorin
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I was interested in this at first, but I simply must conclude Eldon's theory is wrong, and in fact I question his rationale in posting it in the first place.

1) We have Tolkien's words (thank's to Albion) that prove he had no "hidden meaning." For Eldon's theory to be correct, the Oxford Professor would have either a) been a liar, or b) didn't realize his made up language could be Hebrew. Either choice is unacceptable.
2) In Appendix F of the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien specifically says that he used no Hebrew in any of his languages, people-names, or place-names. He then goes on to explain how some "Hebrew-ish" names actually came about.
3) When it comes to experts on Hebrew, I just can't make myself believe some person with a Hebrew dictionary over an Isreali. Telperion has been at this site for a long time, has always had great posts, I have always trusted his opinion, and I will continue to do so.
4) In my own opinion, the actual process of elvish sounds = ancient Hebrew sounds = modern English meaning is just so cumbersome as to be almost useless. My earlier example shows my point.
5) The "preaching" factor has been mentioned by several people, including myself. In my own opinion, I have questions about the reasons for the original post. "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck."

It's kind of a shame, because I immensely enjoy talking and reading about J.R.R. Tolkien's inspirations. There are several posts of the sort here, but I have not seen Eldon post to any of them. I have come to the regretable conclusion that this whole theory is a farce.

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Imbëar
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Bah!
I love the theory!
Even if Tolkien didn't have Hebrew in mind, and even if he wasn't channeling entranced - a fellow student of the word has taken a great deal of time to test and follow a hypo-thesis.

Eldon, I have a humble request, if you wouldn't mind?
Would you treat with some of the Dwarvish fragments, as you have done with the Elvish?
For instance, "Axes of the Dwarves!" - ?Khazad ai-menu!?
Thanks,

Imbëar

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eldon
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Thanks, Imbear, I'm glad someone appreciates my efforts = all is not lost!

Khazad ai-menu
khawsad ahee-min noo (pronounced)
chacad ay-min nuw (as spelled in Strong's)
to bow ruin-a part to dissuade (definitions)
2616 5857 4481 5106

~could be seen as a reference to the dwarves being bowed down from their work in the mines, the axes working ruin to dissuade their foes~?

Granted it's not much of a battle cry, but perhaps it loses something in translation? Telperion, can you make more of a translation from Hebrew?

I will respond later to the others when I can reread their posts-- I don't have much time now, but, Thorin, I will get around to joining in on other discussions, if I had wanted to be preachy I'd have just dropped a load of Bible verses here.

and Telperion, my computer skills are even less than my Hebrew translation skills so it'll likely take a long while before I can post what you request-- do you know of any shortcuts as to how I can do so? I don't have a scanner...

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eldon
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quote:
So to do what you have done, you need to: 1) have the correct Elvish pronounciation, 2) find the correct Hebrew word according to that pronounciation, and 3) correctly translate that word into English. One slight mistake in any of those steps would throw everything out the window.
******* that is correct, Thorin. Someone else pointed out to me that Mr. Tolkien himself wasn't always consistent with his pronunciations of Elvish, so it's not an exact science on that end.

AND my view of Hebrew is so lacking boundaries that I have less restraint in choosing ~equivalent words~ than someone who is bound by strict rules of grammar and pronunciation.

I leave it to those who know better to judge as to whether my attempts were accurate enough or not. The interpretations I presented seem coherent enough to me to make a case for their validity, but as the old saying goes, a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse!

Here's another mystery: how come when I posted a short while ago under the thread on the Imladris sketch, all the posts were available below so I could read back over them and even look at the sketch, but now in this reply box, the rest of the posts in this thread are unavailable for review?

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eldon
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From Telperion:
quote:
I don't think I understand how it is possible to translate a text based on a dictionary (as opposed to based on your own linguistic knowledge).
******* perhaps it is not possible, but if man attempted only what he thought possible, we'd have no airplanes today!

quote:
I am fluent in both 'ancient' Hebrew and 'modern' Hebrew. I can tell you that the differences are not as big as you think, actually there are very little differences. A 3000 year old Hebrew text is closer to modern hebrew than a 800 year old english text is to modern english.
******* I believe you, yet I question any scholasticism that has become so strict as to deny any changes made during the historic formation of that body of knowledge.

quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ancient Hebrew letters were pictographic in character, with each letter having meaning such that the meaning of the entire word was established --not just by an arbitrary definition ascribed to it by the scribes or priests-- but by the meaning inherent in the letters themselves. Modern Hebrew does not have this feature.

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I'm not sure what you mean. The letters of Hebrew have not changed since biblical times. We still write with the exact same letters (Aleph, Bet, Gimel and so on).

******* My Encyclopedia Americana says that "The ancient Hebrew alphabet was the same as the Phoenician. Its earliest example is in the Moabite stone of King Meshah of the 9th century BC. Later, around the 4th century BC, it was changed to the square writing and became known as Assyrian or Syrian, since it was probably adopted from the Aramean script... Later the Masoretes introduced a system of vocalization known as the Tiberian, consisting of seven vowel signs placed under the letters; and around the 12th century AD these were supplemented by three more. The Masoretes also invented a system of accents used both as punctuation marks and as notes for a chant employed in the reading of the Law in the synagogues... an important step in that revival (of the Medieval Period) was the standardization of the Hebrew text of the Bible...The Masoretes, who became very active during the 7th and 8th centuries, invented a system of vowel signs and accents and noted the various deviations in the orthography of the Biblical text."

As I noted earlier, these scholars deliberately altered the pronunciation of the name YHVH, so how can they be absolutely trusted with the other standardizations and pronunciations which they enacted?

quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"The difference between modern and ancient Hebrew is marginal."
so the promoters of modern Hebrew would have us believe.
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Promoters ??? Would have us believe ???
What are you talking about?

******* I'm speaking mostly from a theological perspective there, there are evidences of other changes made in Biblical Hebrew renderings since ancient times. Theologians aren't always honest.

quote:
I never said the Lexicon is wrong, I said I didn't understand what you concluded from it.
If it's not too much trouble, please use the 'image' UBB code to insert an image file with one of the lines you translated, say "O Orofarne, Lassemista, Carnimirie!" (treebeared). Below insert the 'cutting' of the words so that I can easily see the Hebrew words. Below that (and that's why it should be an image) write the same IN HEBREW.
Maybe that will help.

******* I will try to do so as I have time, I remembered that there is a website with Strong's Concordance online, maybe even with the Hebrew letters, but I have that link on another computer...

quote:
Have a good evening (from my side of the world anyway ).Telperion.
Thanks! May you also see better days in Israel!

eldon

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eldon
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I did a search on paleo-Hebrew and came up with this, among other links:

http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/1_intro.html

I haven't read anything but the introduction there so I can't comment on the whole site.

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Telperion
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This is very interesting, too bad I don't have time to look into it. I remember learning about this in school when I was a kid, but I never found any use for it so I simply forgot about it.
Yes, my mistake. The modern Hebrew letters are from the days the bible was written down in the dark ages - about 1500 years ago or so?
Before that there were several variations of the scripts.
But since it's only a change in the looks of the letter and not a change in the pronounciation and meaning of words (except small changes, and that's what I ment before when I said the differences are slim), I don't think it matters. I still find it hard to accept this translation. Even in your reacent post you wrote:

quote:
Khazad ai-menu
khawsad ahee-min noo (pronounced)
chacad ay-min nuw (as spelled in Strong's)
to bow ruin-a part to dissuade (definitions)

I don't see how. Besides, You really twisted the original text.

As for sending a Hebrew text, what's the problem? Go to paintbrush, scribble it down, save it (reasonable size, no more than 100Kb).
Mail it to me as an attachement. If anyone else is interested, I have the skills to post it.

PS. You only get the list of posts in the 'post reply' page if the thread has 1 page.
This thread now has 2 pages.
I think it has to do with a 80Kb page limitation, but I'm not sure.

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The one had leaves of dark green that beneath were as shining silver, and from each of his countless flowers a dew of silver light was ever falling, and the earth beneath was dappled with the shadow of his fluttering leaves. Telperion the one was called in Valinor, and Silpion, and Ninquelótë, and many other names;
The Silmarillion, "Of the Beginning of Days"

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Telperion
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Eldon,
Maybe you're just looking in the wrong place. Why go looking for Hebraic interpretations where they don't exist, when you can read a book in which they were purposefully inserted.
For example "Dune":

Bene Gesserit = "bridging sons".
Kwisatz Haderach = "A leap foreward on the road" or "A Shortcut".

Now That's Hebrew.
These are exact fits that relate to the meaning the phrases have in the book.

[ 05-03-2002, 03:22 PM: Message edited by: Telperion ]

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
The one had leaves of dark green that beneath were as shining silver, and from each of his countless flowers a dew of silver light was ever falling, and the earth beneath was dappled with the shadow of his fluttering leaves. Telperion the one was called in Valinor, and Silpion, and Ninquelótë, and many other names;
The Silmarillion, "Of the Beginning of Days"

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Roll of Honor bombadil
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Eldon, I don't mean this to be disrespectful -- you've obviously put a lot of work into this and that's to be commended. But your logic reminds me of that of the guy who wrote The Bible Codes or The Torah Code or whatever that book was called a few years ago. He said that, by rearranging the letters of the Torah and/or Bible into rectangular grids and looking for patterns, one could find startlingly accurate predictions of future world events. When his critics denounced his work as simply a bunch of coincidences, he challenged them to do the same thing with Melville's Moby Dick. Alas, one critic did! (He had a hilarious web site too -- I'll see if it's still active.) Using exactly the same methods, a university math professor found startling predictions of future events imbedded in the text of Moby Dick. This despite the fact that English -- unlike Hebrew -- has very specific vowels and it's harder to substitute your own interpretation for vowel sounds. Another critic did the same thing with Gone With The Wind. It's mathematically inevitable that such patterns will pop up in a 1000+-page work.

We know for a FACT, from his own writings and the witness of his contemporaries, that JRRT had no hidden agenda in LOTR. He wasn't trying to retell the Bible, he wasn't expressing the horror of World War I, he wasn't trying to convert people to Christianity, and he most certainly had no intention of creating some vast web of hidden connections to the Hebrew language or the history of Judaism. He just wrote a wonderful story, one that has all sorts of overtones, no doubt, but with no hidden agenda and no Hebrew code contained inside. Elvish stands alone wonderfully. So does Hebrew. Why not leave it that way? Trying to tie them together adds nothing to either.

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Imbëar
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Whatever it does, it undoubtedly expands the position or context from which/within which we perceive the Lord of the Rings.

I don't think that Eldon is pushing an agenda. I don't think he is proposing that Tolkien was pushing an agenda.

He has tested a hypothesis, and has enriched his understanding. He has not failed, so much as determined the dangers of a particular route.

For my part, I find it no accident that Sméagol's corrupted name becomes Gollum - this word-sound is too close to the Hebraic Goylem, or Golem. In studying the myth and "reality" of legendary Golem, one gains crucial insights into the concept of outside animation - a will directing, for good or ill. One begins to question the external influences or Names that shape our character, purpose, personal doubts, and despair. One might even come to better understand the destruction of the Ring. A Golem, historically, is animated to protect the magician or his attachments, or to exact revenge against/recover a stolen item from the magician's enemies. The main lesson of Golem is the backfire: the monster achieves a purpose, but then appropriately turns against the maker.

Perhaps as Sauron sent Gollum to regain the Ring, so was the destruction of the Ring inherent in his black design.

I'm not insisting upon this view: but I am insisting that this broadens your view. Even if Gollum/Golem is accidental, you certainly know more about the Golem than you did before (most people, that is).

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Imbëar

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Roll of Honor bombadil
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No, I really don't know more. I already knew all that about Gollum before reading these posts. And I'm not even the sharpest knife in the drawer!
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Imbëar
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My apologies, Bombadil!
Could you provide a list of everything you know, so as to avoid future pretentiousness on my part?

I wasn't writing that to you; I was addressing the readers, and assuming that many, many people will not have intimate knowledge of the Goylem.

Your statement strikes me as unduly gruff and dismissive. Even if you know all of the details already, I've never heard it said that a second refreshment did any mind harm. If this thread has satisfied its end for you, please direct your attention elsewhere. I am still enjoying it, and would like to not have it bogged down with discord. I am waiting for more Dwarvish examples, specifically (directed to Eldon).

In the hope that we can all move forward together,

Imbëar

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Roll of Honor bombadil
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Sorry, Imbear, if I came off as aloof or pretentious. It wasn't my intention.

What I meant was, I gained no further knowledge into the character of Gollum by reading anything in this thread. I also gained no further knowledge about Gollum by reading that his name is phonetically similar to Goylem. It's a coincidence, nothing more. It's like saying that I should learn something about Sam because he has the same first name as a minor character in the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." Sure, it's true, and sure the two characters have some similarities. But those similarities do not imply a meaningful connection, and they teach me nothing about either character.

If this simple truth offends, I apologize. But obviously many on this thread are to some extent offended by the implication that there's some connection between Tolkien and Hebrew. I suppose that what goes around, comes around.

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eldon
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Thanks, Telperion for the advice on posting Hebrew through paintbrush, I'll try it... and thanks also for the Dune recommendation, I didn't know that the author used actual Hebrew, I'll have to get around to reading the Dune series.

Bombadil, I wasn't as scientific or as complex in my approach as the author of the Bible codes book, I just looked for the nearest equivalent Hebrew words I could find.

I was amazed that they came out making some sense by expressing a common theme within the text, and even in some instances in respect to words and details of the Lord of the Rings.

As I said before, I'll leave it to those with skill in Hebrew to say whether my work is accurate enough or not.

quote:

For my part, I find it no accident that Sméagol's corrupted name becomes Gollum - this word-sound is too close to the Hebraic Goylem, or Golem...A Golem, historically, is animated to protect the magician or his attachments, or to exact revenge against/recover a stolen item from the magician's enemies.

Perhaps as Sauron sent Gollum to regain the Ring...

Imbëar, I find the above far more than coincidence also. Do you have a link or reference to the Golem character in Hebrew literature?

Thanks & I'll try to check on some other Dwarvish words as I have time.

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Roll of Honor bombadil
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quote:
I wasn't as scientific or as complex in my approach as the author of the Bible codes book, I just looked for the nearest equivalent Hebrew words I could find.

Eldon, my point in bringing up the Bible codes was that the author of that book was NOT scientific in his approach.

A scientist formulates a hypothesis, tests it, and draws conclusions from his test. The Bible code guy started with a conclusion and used coincidence to validate that conclusion. It was coincidence, nothing more, as was proven by the Moby Dick scientist I mentioned earlier.

The same can be said about Gollum/Goylem. Coincidence, nothing more. When someone has established a paper trail from Goylem to Gollum, I'll believe it.

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Roll of Honor bombadil
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Oh, and here's the link to the web site I mentioned:
Assassination foretold in Moby Dick!

To refresh memories, this is the page where a math professor found, hidden in Melville's Moby Dick, EXACTLY the same type of codes that are supposedly hidden in the text of the Bible and the Torah. It may be tough to admit, but it's coincidence, folks.

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Telperion
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That's funny bombadil!
Matrixing the letters and looking for words. Naturally, something will come up.

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eldon
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From Helm's Deep chapter 7 of book 3 in The Two Towers, Gimli cries:

Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-menu!

Baruk is word #1263 in Strong's Lexicon meaning "blessed".

(the Hebrew characters are shown in these links, but you may need to download the fonts from the site to see them onscreen)

http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?search=1263&version=kjv&type=str&submit=Find

Kheled-Zaram the Dwarves' name for Mirrormere (in The Fellowship...chapter 6 book two Lothlorien)is composed of two Hebrew words:

2465 and 2229

http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?search=2465&version=kjv&type=str&submit=Find

http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?search=2229&version=kjv&type=str&submit=Find

Thus the meaning of Kheled-Zaram from Hebrew is "the duration of the world poured out", such that Mirrormere Lake is a reflection of the time of this world, in which the crown of Durin is still seen so as yet to be reclaimed by him "when he wakes".

(That brings to mind the final words of Thorin Oakenshield from chapter 18 of The Hobbit: "...I go now to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed.")

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Imbëar
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Thank you, Eldon!
That is most fascinating.

Imbëar

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Roll of Honor bombadil
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[] [] []
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Telperion
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Well Eldon, at least now you are barking at the right tree. The Dwarvish tongue was inspired by Hebrew (unlike elvish languages). Yes, 'Baruk' is more or less 'blessed' and that probably was Tolkien's intention (It's as accurate as you can get with latin letters. The correct form of the word uses a syllable that doesn't exist in english).
That, mind you, doesn't imply that there is a hidden message in the text. Tolkien just wanted the dwarves' tongue to be somewhat semitic, and so the general "sound" of Hebrew and Dwarvish is a bit similar, and some of the words are intentionaly the same.
Its the same as taking Finnish and Welsh as the source of the Elven tongues.

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Roll of Honor Swift Asfaloth
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Oh, lighten up, bombadil-at least the Dwarvish language wasn't interpreted as "a strong and timely rebuke to this wicked generation". That being said, in my pride and obstinacy, I think I'll go running "astray and howling". Whinnying, neighing...whatever. []
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Roll of Honor bombadil
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As a matter of fact, Swift, my last post was an attempt at levity. When logic and facts don't convince people of the truth, it's the best one can do to keep one's sanity. So I say again: []
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Tolkien did not sit down to write with any of that in mind.

Invariably, motifs and archetypes comprise his tales. As an artist, the masterful recombination of these profound archetypes was Tolkien's work. The seamless tailoring of the great fabric of Arda is the power of Tolkien's myth.

If you wish to find metaphors and prophecies, you will find them. But you will not find notes or extant texts to support your ideas.

You can argue positions, even present theses on the subjects. But you must understand that this is not necessarily.

PS: The above paragraphes are actually by Imbear, written in The Ivy Bush forum for the other topic: http://www.minastirith.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=16;t=000043
I thought the words would fit perfectly well here []

Nuin

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Imbëar
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Why thank you, Nuin! A most excellent use of the good doctor's own medicine.

However, you failed to quote the meat of that post; which, was to say, that the original thoughts arising from our unique "interpretations," however biologically biased by subject position, are invaluable to all readers. Speculation is only a dangerous business to the simple or soft-minded - perhaps I over-estimate the reader, but I believe that everyone has the power to assent or dissent to the values of a text; whether the text is the doctrine proper or subsequent analyses.

Certainly, we will never "solve" Tolkien's Myth, but each new argument(angle) casts a light on a turn in the maze towards the Center.

By the responses, one might assume that Eldon were presenting a viscious or conscious attempt to mislead readers in favor of an agenda.

I do not see this agenda, but would gladly have it explained. And even if his purpose is subversion, I repeat that we are humans with minds to resist or assent. Put bluntly: "Take what you wanted, and go" - Ticks and Leeches.

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Imbëar

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