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Round 7:The Guild of Scholar's Hall vs. The Guild of Ost-in-Edhil

Maedhros

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At first I was a little undecided on the topic, but with a day of thinking about it, I'm ok with it. Let me have a little chat with our team, then I will make the first post.
 

Ithrynluin

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And is the OiE comfortable with the topic? It would be prudent to provide any comments before the debate commences.
 

FoolOfATook

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And the sooner the OiE made their opinions known about the topic, the better. Like, within the next twenty-four hours...
 

Arvedui

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I will contact the rest of the team.
If you don't hear anything more from us in course of the day (sunday), it's a go.
 

Ancalagon

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Was Iluvatar sufficiently involved in Arda, or was there more that could have been done on his part?
I must say, I am a little perplexed by the vagueness of the question. If this relates to the entire History of Arda, then I feel it is an immeasurable and impossible task, for both sides. If it relates to moments of 'devine intervention' then how do you quantify or qualify such interventions, if indeed they even exist? Even for those scholars who have debated Eru's influence in Arda previously, it has ever proved inconclusive.
I like the scope of the question, I guess I am just a little uncertain how it may be judged, for who among any of us is qualified to decide whether Eru was sufficiently involved or not?

Is every document produced by Tolkien fair game in this debate?
 

Ithrynluin

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I pretty much left it vague on purpose, just to see which possibility each team would go for. Perhaps this was not a good thing?

Is every document produced by Tolkien fair game in this debate?
Of course. Isn't that always the case?

Anc, if you feel that this topic is too overwhelming and your team would not want to debate it, please say so. Another topic will be suggested then.
 

Ancalagon

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Rather like a philosophical question, it is not that it is overwhelming, but simply difficult to quantify. I certainly can debate the question, just like any other, but my fear is that it would appear to be something from the same ilk as 'do Balrogs have wings?' and I wonder if any of us are truly qualified to answer it. However, as I said, I would be happy to give it a shot.
 

Gil-Galad

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Ok I think this topic is really a philosophical one;but having in mind the participators from the both teams I believe it will be a great pleasure for me to host the debate and see some of the most honoured members of the forum debating about such topic.

If there are still any complains the topic could be changed to this one:Who was the best ruler prior to the War of the Ring, Théoden or Denethor?
 

Gothmog

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Like Anc. I am happy to have a go at the question already on the table. Should prove interesting both for debating and judging. :)
 

Gil-Galad

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I hope that both teams will enjoy the debate.


Was Iluvatar sufficiently involved in Arda, or was there more that could have been done on his part?

The one week period starts right after the first post is published.
 

Maedhros

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Arda Healed

Was IlĂșvatar sufficiently involved in Arda, or was there more that could have been done on his part?
IlĂșvatar was sufficiently involved in Arda. Why is that? It is because IlĂșvatar is God and he can't be wrong. Simple.

As we all know, IlĂșvatar delegated the ruling of Arda to the Valar. There are 3 concepts that involve Arda:
Arda Unmarred.
Arda Marred.
Arda Healed.
From Morgoth's Ring: Myths Transformed
But even the Elves had the notion that this would not be so: that the end of Men would somehow be bound up with the end of history, or as they called it 'Arda Marred' (Arda Sahta), and the achievement of 'Arda Healed' (Arda Envinyanta). (They do not seem to have been clear or precise - how should they be! - whether Arda Envinyanta was a permanent state of achievement, which could therefore only be enjoyed 'outside Time', as it were: surveying the Tale as an englobed whole; or a state of unmarred bliss within Time and in a 'place' that was in some sense a lineal and historical descent of our world or 'Arda Marred'. They seem often to have meant both. 'Arda Unmarred' did not actually exist, but remained in thought - Arda without Melkor, or rather without the effects of his becoming evil; but is the source from which all ideas of order and perfection are derived. 'Arda Healed' is thus both the completion of the 'Tale of Arda' which has taken up all the deeds of Melkor, but must according to the promise of IlĂșvatar be seen to be good; and also a state of redress and bliss beyond the 'circles of the world'.)
Arda Unmarred is Arda without the evil influence of Melkor. It exists only in concept.
Arda Marred is the Arda that actually existed with the influence of Melkor.
Arda Healed is Arda Marred that was healed by the Ainur and the Children of IlĂșvatar in the End of Days.

Arda was created as an habitation for the Children of IlĂșvatar. The Ainur were the creators of Arda by the themes, and the Children were the inhabitants. IlĂșvatar, by letting the Valar handle Melkor, made Arda a better place in the end. You see, Arda Healed, will be greater than Arda Unmarred.

An interesting thing is that the Valar (ManwĂ«) had the resource of consulting with Eru, as ManwĂ« did in the NĂșmenĂłrean revolt. Eru’s intervention was unwarranted because ManwĂ« did his will.
From Ósanwe-kenta
Nay, Manwë was wiser; or being ever open to Eru he did His will, which is more than wisdom. He was ever open because he had nothing to conceal, no thought that it was harmful for any to know, if they could comprehend it. Indeed Melkor knew his will without questioning it; and he knew that Manwë was bound by the commands and injunctions of Eru, and would do this or abstain from that in accordance with them, always
We as readers may think that the Valar (ManwĂ«) were foolish to free Melkor after his imprisonment in Mandos, but ManwĂ« did the right thing. The greatness of IlĂșvatar comes from the fact that he works through his creations. It will be ultimately the Ainur and the Children of IlĂșvatar that will make Arda a better place in the end.
 

Snaga

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A quick request from a judge to Maedhros: can give a fuller citation for that 2nd quote please. Thanks:)
 

baragund

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To support my esteemed colleague Maedhros, I offer the references from the Ainulindale in the published Silmarillion that describe the greatest music ever will be made before Iluvatar by the combined choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Iluvatar after the end of days. That is when the "...themes of Iluvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent in their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Iluvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased."

Then, of course, is the famous admonishment of Iluvatar to Melkor when he says "...no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."

This supports the Scholar's position that Iluvatar intended Melkor to subject Arda to all of his trials and tribulations. And the reason for this is that Arda Healed will be a superior 'product' to Arda Unmarred.

I think a valid parallel can be drawn between the versions of Arda and human nature. Consider two hypothetical people who begin life equal in all aspects. The first person goes through life with absolutely zero conflicts, stresses, or antagonisms, a life of unmarred bliss. The second suffers all of the pain and suffering along with the joys typical of real life and, one way or another, works his way through life's issues like we all do. At the end of the day, who do you think will be the stronger, wiser and better rounded person? You can bet it will be the second, the one who fought his way through the hard knocks.
 

Maedhros

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Clarification

A quick request from a judge to Maedhros: can give a fuller citation for that 2nd quote please. Thanks
I think that this raises an interesting point. I can't control what the judges have read. Some may feel confortable or not with quotes from works they haven't read.
I will ask the judges that if they or my opponents can't prove that my quotes are bogus, that they be taken as true. If I am making them up, it will be easy to prove that.
I will not make fuller citations that I need to.
 

Maedhros

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I had a little chat with Snaga before I posted the clarification. I'm ok with his concern, and we cleared up the situation.
It was meant as a general clarification.
 

Arvedui

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Re: Arda Healed

Originally posted by Maedhros
IlĂșvatar was sufficiently involved in Arda. Why is that? It is because IlĂșvatar is God and he can't be wrong. Simple.
That is just funny.
How can anyone debate against such a statement: "IlĂșvatar is God. A God can't be wrong. Therefore, IlĂșvatar was sufficiently involved in Arda."

And of course baragund throws in the inevitable quote:
no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined
Again, a statement and a quote that should shut all doors on any further discourse on the topic raised.
They probably hoped...

But! Those statements can only be valid if it was IlĂșvatar himself that wrote the mythology. And that is not the fact. The mythology that we call The Silmarillion was written by JRR Tolkien, and put together by his son. Let me quote Prof. Tolkien to make it clear why I emphasize this point:
What really happens, is that the story-maker proves a succesful "sub-creator". He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is "true" : it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed. You are then out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive Secondary World from the outside.
Might not sound like much, until he continues:
Every writer making a secondary world wishes in some measure to be a real maker, or hopes that he is drawing on reality: hopes that the peculiar quality of this secondary world (if not all the details) are derived from Reality, or are flowing into it.
Quotes taken from the Andrew Lang Lecture, delivered at St Andrews on 8 March 1939.

Therefore: God is only perfect because the Sub-creator (ie. Tolkien) writes the way he does, and because the Scholars believe that what is written is that IlĂșvatar is flawless.

But he is not, and one of his major flaws, is his lack of involvement in Arda.
One part of this is because of his 'delegation of Authority' to the Valar.
From Morgoth's Ring: 'The Converse of Manwe and Eru':
Eru answered: Have I not given to the Valar the rule of Arda, and power over all the substance thereof, to shape it at their will under My will?
When he did this, IlĂșvatar trusted that the Valar would rule over Arda the exact way he wanted it to be run. But this did not happen:
Eru 'accepted and ratified the position' - though making it plain to Manwe that the Valar should have contested Melkor's domination of Middle-earth far earlier, and that they had lacked estel: they should have trusted that in a legitimate war Eru would not have permitted Melkor so greatly to damage Arda that the Children could not come, or could not inhabit it
Quote taken from the same piece of writing.

And Eru's absence from Arda caused other grieves as well. FromMorgoth's Ring: Myths Transformed; Notes on motives in the Silmarillion:
Sauron had not served Morgoth, even in his last stages, without becoming infected by his lust for destruction, and his hatred of God (which must end in nihilism). Sauron could not, of course, be a 'sincere' atheist. Though one of the minor spirits created before the world, he knew Eru, according to his measure. He probably deluded himself with the notion that the Valar (including Melkor) having failed, Eru had simply abandoned Ea, or at any rate Arda, and would not concern himself with it any more
So even Sauron believes that IlĂșvatar doesn't care anymore. That does say a lot about the sufficiency of the involvement of IlĂșvatar.
 

Feanorian

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Therefore: God is only perfect because the Sub-creator (ie. Tolkien) writes the way he does, and because the Scholars believe that what is written is that IlĂșvatar is flawless.
What then are we debating? Are we debating something that happened outside or inside of this secondary world? Obviously it being the latter. This point is invalid because we are not debating something outside of Arda even the debate question itself says "Was Iluvatar sufficently involved in Arda" or something to that effect. This point is invalid.

I believe you also contradict yourself here:
Eru answered: Have I not given to the Valar the rule of Arda, and power over all the substance thereof, to shape it at their will under My will?
You do this by failing to provide context. Look at the lines above:
Eru Answered: Let the houseless be re-housed!
Manwe answered: How shall this be done?
Eru answered: Let the body that was destroyed be re-made. Or let the naked fea be re-born as a child
What then has Eru just done? He has involved himself with Arda once again. This point I also propose to be invalid.
 
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baragund

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Arvedui stakes a very lawyerly position in that one of the Scholar's positions, being the infallibility of Iluvatar, should somehow be considered void because of the point of view of the author of the stories. This is a dangerous position to take on two levels:

1. If statements from the texts are to be considered invalid because the author is JRRT, and not Iluvatar himself, what does this do to the fundamental manner in which all of the debates in this tournament have been conducted? Always, we state our positions and back them up with logical reasoning and, most importantly, passages from the texts to support our positions. Are our worthy opponents from Ost-in-Edhil suggesting that the texts are meaningless because JRRT wrote them and not Iluvatar? If that is the case then I have to wonder what we are doing here?? :confused:

2. The point of view of the author in and of itself can be subject to debate. The Silmarillion is the history of Middle Earth through the end of the First Age as recorded by the Elves. The events of the Ainulindale were recorded by the Eldalie as told to them by the Valar. Not unlike the manner in which The Bible and The Koran, The Book of Mormon, etc. were written.

Keep in mind this is a work of fiction (although I wonder if some folk in this forum believe otherwise:) ). I think Arvedui's position may be more applicable to writings of non-fiction.

Besides, I read through the quotes Arvedui provided three times, and I'm not really sure how one is to conclude that Tolkien did not intend Iluvatar to be the omipotent and omniscient God that he is. The quotes tell me simply how an author needs to create a subordinate world in his writing in order to be believable.

The other main thrust of our worthy opponent's opening post is that the Valar, as instruments of Iluvatar, was not involved in Arda. I would have to disagree and point out the following passages from the end of the Ainulindale the published Silmarillion:

Thus began the first battle of the Valar with Melkor for the dominion of Arda ... Yet it is told among the Eldar that the Valar endeavoured ever, in despite of Melkor, to rule the Earth and to prepare it for the coming of the Firstborn; and they built lands and Melkor destroyed them; valleys they delved and Melkor raised them up; mountains they carved and Melkor threw them down; seas they hollowed and Melkor spilled them... And yet their labor was not all in vain; and though nowhere and in no work was their will and purpose wholly fulfilled, and all things were in hue and shape other than the Valar had at first intended, slowly nonetheless the Earth was fashioned and made firm. And thus the habitation of the Children of Iluvatar established at the last in the Deeps of Time and amidst the innumerable stars.

That sounds to me like some pretty extensive intervention on the part of the Valar! They kept after it and kept after it until the Children could come and they could inhabit Arda.
 

Arvedui

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The question we are debating is:
Was Iluvatar sufficiently involved in Arda, or was there more that could have been done on his part?
It was not if IlĂșvatar was involved in Arda.

Therefore I state that he was not, using the quotes given in the previous post to show that:
A) IlĂșvatar handed over the responsibilities for running Arda to the Valar. The quote that Feanorian thinks is a contradiction, is no more than a quote from to actually prove once more what Maedhros stated in his opening statement:
As we all know, IlĂșvatar delegated the ruling of Arda to the Valar.
B) That the Valar was not sufficiently involved in Arda, as is said by IlĂșvatar:
though making it plain to Manwe that the Valar should have contested Melkor's domination of Middle-earth far earlier
C) That this caused Sauron to believe that IlĂșvatar didn't care about Arda anymore:
He (Sauron) probably deluded himself with the notion that the Valar (including Melkor) having failed, Eru had simply abandoned Ea, or at any rate Arda, and would not concern himself with it any more
And we all know what came from that, didn't we?

Now that both sides obviously agree that IlĂșvatar handed over the responsibility of day-to-day management of Arda to the Valar, then we must also have a look at what the Valar did. Also from Notes on motives in the Silmarillion:
The Valar 'fade' and become more impotent, precisely in proportion as the shape and constitution of things becomes more defined and settled. The longer the Past, the more nearly defined the Future, and the less room for important change (untrammelled action, on a physical plane, that is not destructive in purpose). The Past, once 'achieved', has become part of the 'Music in being'. Only Eru may or can alter the 'Music'. The last major effort, of this demiurgic kind, made by the Valar was the lifting up of the range of the Pelori to a great height. It is possible to view this as, if not an actually bad action, at least as a mistaken one.
Even their lastdemiurgic kind of action was at the best a mistaken one. Why?
Thus the 'Hiding of Valinor' came near to countering Morgoth's possessiveness by a rival possessiveness, setting up a private domain of light and bliss against one of darkness and domination: a palace and a pleasaunce (well-fenced) against a fortress and a dungeon.
While all this happened, where was IlĂșvatar? Not sufficiently involved with Arda, thats for sure.
 

Arvedui

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Originally posted by baragund
Keep in mind this is a work of fiction (although I wonder if some folk in this forum believe otherwise:) ). ]U]I think Arvedui's position may be more applicable to writings of non-fiction.[/U]
Well, you might think what you want, but I follow what the author himself was talking about.
The topic of the Andrew Lang Lecture was Fairy-stories...
If you look closer at the date given, you will also notice that this was given when Tolkien was busy writing The Lord of the Rings. The lecture is given some space in Humphrey Carpenter's Biography, and I quote from that:
He made a good many points in the lecture, perhaps too many for an entirely cogent argument. But at the end he asserted in powerful terms that there is no higher function for man than the 'sub-creation' of a Secondary World such as he was already making in The Lord of the Rings, and he gave expression to his hope that in one sense this story and the whole of his related mythology might be found to be 'true'.
He hoped that they might be found to be 'true.'
Are our worthy opponents from Ost-in-Edhil suggesting that the texts are meaningless because JRRT wrote them and not Iluvatar?
I think there is quite a long way between asking questions about the flawlessness of IlĂșvatar, and stating that the whole mass of texts are meaningless. And to think that this was written by the same person that thought some people on the forum might believe that Tolkien's works are not mere fiction... (see the opening quote)
If statements from the texts are to be considered invalid because the author is JRRT, and not Iluvatar himself, what does this do to the fundamental manner in which all of the debates in this tournament have been conducted?
Just about the same as entering the quote that you did in the beginning:
no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined
 

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