Saturday, January 21, 2023

Numenor, Flood, Babel

First, Tolkien Geek gives his answer:

The Drowning of Numenor and the Goodness of Eru Iluvatar: Theodicy in Middle-Earth
Tolkien Lore, 16 Jan. 2023

Then my comments:

0:45 To me, reading Akallabêth was the perfect meditation on the goodness of God in the Flood of Noah.

For instance, every Numenorean (or pre-Flood man) was not planning to do evil himself. But those who weren't were all the time thinking of the next hit or last hit by those who were.

I e, they were kind of innocent but they were no longer innocent about existence, and therefore very unhappy.

3:11 "I love discussing this kind of stuff too"

A case for another channel?

Tolkien Lore
Don’t tempt me 😂

4:11 One position proposed by certain Catholics in the late 19th C (which I don't agree with) is, the Flood was regional and wiped up all of mankind, but not all of the fauna in Australia or South America or North America, where men were not living.

One of the reasons to disagree with it has come about since Tolkien had found his positions, namely carbon dating. With an old world (the priest who pushed this theory in Paris was day-age theorist + with parts of land on earth not covered, the geologic layers would imply an old earth), the men in Oz or in Clovis, Curry County, would already have arrived if so before the Flood.

But more conservative Catholics arguably believed the Flood wiped out all actual men, not just those of an area. The latter has obviously also been proposed.

8:04 I would take specifically Miriel as a case study - basically innocent, but trapped into some kind of tacit complicity with those who clearly weren't.

17:50 No. We are not.

And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times,

Take two sentences separately.

And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth,

That is the wickedness of some men.

and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times,

This goes both for perpetrators and more or less innocent victims, and is applicable to all.

Note, I am reading Akallabêth into Genesis here.

Big difference though.

In Genesis, arguably they had ran out of places to run away to and make an innocent and happy life in - except the place where the Ark was built.

20:21 Going with a Biblical chronology of more or less LXX type.

Peleg was born Anno Mundi 2643. However, if one used Anno Diluvii (at least one doesn't abbreviate it, for an obvious reason), it would be 401. It's more to the point he was born 401 years after the 8 people on the Ark. This is the year in which God shows Himself as a hugely greater conlanger than Tolkien (why wouldn't God be that). So, 401 years are clearly not enough for a thoroughly complete divergence.

20:36 Quibble. Does the tower or only the top of it go all the way into Heaven ...?

With all of the tower, it suggests a skyscraper. Both LXX and Vulgate say the top goes into Heaven - sounds like a three step rocket.

20:50 Actually, if you read the text, Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed.

Doesn't say "unless" ... My take is, they weren't stopped. Only postponed to when the technology was adequate - and the project could show its futility.

Now that we have rocketry, we are very well aware we are not going to colonise galaxies or get to any "planet B" ...

21:14 "That part is not made explicit."

By contrast, it is made explicit where we know this was the intention of God - Genesis 3:22.

22:33 Josephus attributes another reason to Nimrod - not trusting the promise of God by the rainbow.

God didn't drown in the Flood, so God's place doesn't get flooded. I do think Nimrod was more evil than this ultimately, but I think this is exactly how he sold it.

26:21 I think there was some level of post-Flood and pre-Babel warfare.

I think this happened a bit like Ramayana recalls it ... with Nimrod featuring as Hanuman, still fairly good, trying to protect his brother Regma (Rama!) from a malefactor abducting his wife ...

Also, the Babelic civilisation was kind of a replica of the Nodian one, and that started out as a one world collaboration and ended up in wars.

So, no. God didn't cause wars, more like actually delay wars, by the language split up.

26:33 We've found ways to translate languages - yes, but that took some time of trial and error after 2556 BC.

Right when Peleg was born, everyone was as monoglot as when they all spoke the same language.

Language learning is a technique, and it took time before it was perfected.

28:46 It's not just a calculation that God, being omniscient is knowledgeable enough to be able to make, but also one which, being lord of life and death, since giver of life, is morally allowed to apply after making it.

Even if Miriel had been knowledgeable enough to calculate that Numenor needed sinking, she knew she was not allowed to sink it. By the way, I think she was, and that's why she cried out to Eru to ask Him to sink it.

31:15 Assuming the ToB was meant to be built as skyscraper on Harran plain rather than take off from Göbekli Tepe, I think a pyramid with that plain as base would still be very far from the mountains already rising after the Flood, like Alps or Himalayas.

I think God didn't try to ultimately prevent the project, but to make them wait until it was possible for a small portion of mankind (back then it was drafting millions!) to succeed and see how pointless the success was. Which was seen after Armstrong (at least in the common story) set foot on the moon. He might still have believed in colonising galaxies, scientists since then have shown his Nimrod like hope wrong.

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