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Re: CHAT: Tolkien (was Re: fantasy)

From:Jeffrey Henning <jeffrey@...>
Date:Monday, November 29, 1999, 5:02
And Rosta <a.rosta@...> comunu:

> I'm aware of this eschatological/soteriological distinction between > Elves and Men, but had thought it didn't amount to a difference in > species. I know two definitions of species: (1) the ability to > interbreed and produce fertile offspring; (2) (1) + the instinct > to do so. By (1) they're the same species. By (2) it's more > debatable, I suppose, but (2) is less applicable to intelligent > beings motivated by more than instinct.
I guess I regard this as an overly scientific evaluation of species for Tolkien's work. You are quite right, Elves and Men are the same species *scientifically*, but I can't apply that. They are mythically quite distinct.
> I don't mean to be merely quibbling here: it is genuinely my > impression of JRRT's intentions that he intended the distinction > to be metaphysical rather than fundamentally biological, in contrast > to Dwarves, where their difference from other races would be > fundamentally biological.
You are right that the difference was metaphysical rather than biological. I have no idea what JRRT would say. Wait, let me check something. Well, based on the etymological connection between BMUD, "species", and REBMUD, "coined money", it is clear that Tolkien did not associate species with biology, making it safe to say the Elves and Men were separate species, in his mind. Best regards, Jeffrey Henning - Invent Your Own Language - Win $100 in the DublexGame contest! Humor marks, mark humor.