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Old 01-20-2010, 01:04 PM   #8
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
Ibrīnišilpathānezel's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
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The Rohirrim do have some knowledge of the Valar; I believe that Bema is their name for Orome.

This is a subject that I've seen come up in every Tolkien group I've ever known. For myself, I think that the lack of what one might call common religious trappings (temples, rituals, etc.) gives the story a feeling of being within those events that later times would remember in ways that we call "religious." Think, for instance, of religion as practiced by Abraham versus that same religion practiced during the time of Christ. HUGE difference.

Tolkien did have this to say on the subject (letter 153):

There are thus no temples or 'churches' or fanes in this 'world' among the 'good' peoples. They had little or no 'religion' in the sense of worship. For help they may call on a Vala (as Elbereth), as a Catholic might call on a Saint, though no doubt knowing in theory as well as he that the power of the Vala was limited and derivative. But this is a 'primitive age': and these folk might be said to view the Valar as child view their parents or immediate adult superiors, and though they know they are subjects of the King he does not live in their country nor have there any dwelling. I do not think the Hobbits practiced any form of worship or prayer (unless through exceptional contact with the Elves). The Numenoreans (and others of that branch of Humanity, that fought against Morgoth, even if they elected to remain in Middle-earth and did not go to Numenor: such as the Rohirrim) were pure monotheists. But there was no temple in Numenor (until Sauron introduced the cult of Morgoth). The top of the Mountain, the Meneltarma or Pillar of Heaven, was dedicated to Eru, the One, and there at any time privately, and at certain times publicly, God was invoked, praised, and adored: an imitation of the Valar and the Mountain of Aman. But Numenor fell and was destroyed and the Mountain engulfed, and there was no substitute. Among the exiles, remnants of the Faithful who had not adopted the false religion nor taken part in the rebellion, religion as divine worship (though perhaps not as philosophy and metaphysics) seems to have played a small part; though a glimpse of it is caught in Faramir's remark on 'grace at meat.'
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