Tolkien's depiction of Eru Iluvatar in the Silmarillion as coming to know the Song of the Ainur only as he hears it conflicts with ideas about the nature of divine knowledge developed by such thinkers as Ibn Sina, Maimoindes, and Thomas Aquinas--as well as with more general ideas about omniscience and eternity. Texts recently published in The Nature of Middle-earth indicate that Tolkien was aware of some of these divergences. The fact that he classifies the Ainulindalë as a "legend" in which divine thought is merely "represented" as music offers some possibilities for reconciliation with the theological tradition, but Tolkien himself does not seem to have pursued these.


A talk for “Radio la voce di Arda,” September 10, 2021, with some later observations.



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