Monday, February 9, 2015

Time Traveling, the Bible, and Tolkien

For years, I have wanted to read the Bible from cover to cover.  (Why do I want to read the Bible? I have no idea.) I am finally doing it. 

Or, at least, I'm taking an honest crack at it. I reserve the right to quit the Bible and reread the Harry Potter series at any time. 

I am only midway through Genesis which means I have a loooooooooooong way to go, but I have already made one major discovery: time traveling exists.

Hear me out.

Genesis is filled with tons of lineages.  Shem begat Arpachshad begat Shelah begat Ebet.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy is also filled with tons of boring passages about who begat whom and whose sword was the shiniest.  Both Genesis and the Lord of the Rings are far more interesting if you skip all the lineage crap.

Then there are the names.  Genesis is peopled with the likes of Arpachshad, Shelah and Ebet and don't forget Peleg, Reu, Serug and Nahor.  (Gen. 11:10-32).  The Lord of the Rings is filled with characters named Gimli, Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf.  One could probably turn this into an excellent drinking game: Genesis or LOTR? You are given a name and have to guess which book it is from.  If you miss, drink. Good luck staying sober with this one.

Shall I continue?  I shall.

Everyone in Genesis lived for a long ass time.  Let's go back to Shem and Co.  Shem fathered Arpachshad when he was 100 and then lived another 500 years. Arpachshad fathered Shelah when he was 35 and lived another 403 years.  What sort of crazy yogurt were they eating back then?  And where can I get some?

(I remember a high school teacher giving some boring explanation for all these centuries-old patriarchs, but I prefer my crazy yogurt theory.)

The elves and dwarves of Middle Earth were also eating the crazy yogurt and living for centuries on end!

And then, we must address the writing styles. This is how Genesis is written: boring lineage, boring lineage, boring lineage, FLOOD!, boring lineage, boring lineage...  This is how LOTR is written: boring lineage, boring lineage, boring stuff about swords, BATTLE!, swords, lineage, swords...

How can we explain these similarities?  Time traveling.

Tolkien obviously time traveled back to the Biblical era and wrote the Book of Genesis.  Then he returned to the modern era and penned the Middle Earth books.  I suppose an argument could be made that Tolkien wrote about hobbits first, but I think that would be a shitty argument. The LOTR is the work of a much more experienced writer (although it is still the work of a writer with a tendency to take really interesting stuff and  make it boring.)

Of course, I am still reading Genesis, the first book of the Bible.  Further reading might suggest Tolkien wrote other parts of the Bible  as well. Stay tuned...