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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:25 pm 
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https://daily.jstor.org/the-question-of ... n-beowulf/

I know Tolkien and race is a sensitive and sometimes overdone topic, but this article takes a different angle on it than the usual so I thought it would be worth discussing. First of all, I don't know enough about the relevant scholarship to fully evaluate this article's claims, but I will put a couple of critiques here.

First of all, I'm not sure why the author is drawing a connection from "the curse of Ham" to Cain to show that Tolkien racialized Grendel. Ham is not a "descendant of Cain" and they have little to with each other besides both being characters in the first section of Genesis. It seems she's just jumping between points and getting her biblical references mixed up? And Grendel is associated with Cain in the original text, it's not something Tolkien added...Really not sure what's going on there.

Also, if you're going to say "he upheld the English empire's white supremacy" you should also note what Tolkien said about the British empire, eg: “I know nothing about British or American imperialism in the Far East that does not fill me with regret and disgust.” (letter 100) If you want to argue he was still influenced by the Empire from his culture despite this, fine, but I don't think it's fair to make this accusation while ignoring his actual views on the subject (which the author may well be unaware of).


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:01 am 
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Wow, this is a lot to unpack without a scholarly level of knowledge, which I do not have. I can make a few comments/observations, however.

The article claims, "He (Tolkien) was born and raised in South Africa." Tolkien was indeed born in South Africa, but he returned to England at the age of 3. His mother had been raised in England and only lived in South Africa for about 4 years, so I'm not sure how much one could attribute a South African bias/mind-set as a factor to his ideas of race. I am not denying that cultural racism could be an issue, but I am not sure how much Tolkien was influenced by that due to his time in South Africa.

As for the 'descendant of Cain' and Ham connection, I tried to find out the religion of Dr. Dorothy Kim (the author of the piece) to see if that might inform her view. I could not find anything so I'm ??? I found this on Wikipedia under Curse and mark of Cain:

Quote:
Curse of Ham
The Curse of Cain was often conflated with the Curse of Ham. According to the Bible, Ham discovered his father Noah drunk and naked in his tent, but instead of honoring his father by covering his nakedness, he ran and told his brothers about it. Because of this, Noah cursed Ham's son, Canaan by saying that he was to be "a servant of servants". (Genesis 9:20-27) One interpretation of this passage states that Ham married a descendant of Cain, who was black, so that the descendants of Canaan were both marked with black skin and cursed to be servants of servants. While there is no indication in the Bible of Ham's wife descending from Cain, this interpretation was used to justify slavery and it was particularly popular in North America during the Atlantic slave trade.[26][27]

Modern scholars now believe that the Canaanites are of Semitic origin, and therefore unrelated to black Africans.
Latter-day Saints
Main articles: Black people in Mormon doctrine, Black people and early Mormonism, Black people and Mormonism, and Black Mormons

Mormonism began during the height of Protestant acceptance of the curse of Cain doctrine in North America, as well as the even more popular curse of Ham doctrine. Like many North Americans,[26][27] Mormons of the 19th century commonly assumed that black Africans had Cain's "mark" of black skin,[28] and Ham's curse to be servants of servants.[29] While Joseph Smith indicated his belief in the curse of Ham theory in a parenthetical reference as early as 1831.[30] In the Pearl of Great Price, considered scripture in the LDS movement, Enoch talks about shunning the descendants of Cain and that they had black skin[31]: "And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them." (Moses 7:22)

As related by Abraham O. Smoot after his death, Apostle David W. Patten said he encountered a black man in Paris, Tennessee, who said that he was Cain. The account states that Cain had earnestly sought death but was denied it, and that his mission was to destroy the souls of men.[32][33]:85 The recollection of Patten's story is quoted in Apostle Spencer W. Kimball's The Miracle of Forgiveness.

The Old Testament student manual, which is published by the Church and is the manual currently used to teach the Old Testament in LDS Institutes, teaches that Ham's wife was a descendant of Cain:

Therefore, although Ham himself had the right to the priesthood, Canaan, his son, did not. Ham had married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain (Abraham 1:21–24), and so his sons were denied the priesthood.[34]


I also followed the links in the article regarding Hall and Lavezzo to see if I could further understand the connections she was trying to make but none of them proved of use and left me more than a bit confused.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:02 am 
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My initial impression is not positive, but I will take some time to look at it more closely before I comment at any length.

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