Tolkien’s dwarves are hardly the only Jews in The Hobbit

Last week, Bambi; this week, in honor of the release of The Desolation of Smaug, dwarves.

They’re Jewish, didn’t you know?

An article published Wednesday in the Times of Israel draws various parallels between Tolkien’s dwarves and Jews:

According to Tolkien scholar John Rateliff, author of a two-volume “Hobbit” history published in 2007, Tolkien drew inspiration from Hebrew texts and Jewish history when developing the dwarves. As craftsmen exiled from a bountiful homeland, the dwarves spoke both the language of their adopted nations and – among themselves – a Hebrew-influenced tongue developed by Tolkien.

Though Tolkien’s dwarves remember their traumatic past with mournful songs, most are assimilated and ambivalent about reclaiming Erebor, their lost country. Back at the Lonely Mountain, hidden somewhere beneath the dragon Smaug’s treasure mound, there’s a self-glowing “Arkenstone” gem, called “the heart of the mountain.”

The divinely inspired Arkenstone — say some observers — represents the Ark of the Covenant, with the Lonely Mountain standing in for Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

It’s not difficult to see somewhat further resemblance: short people, long beards, like to sing…

But I would suggest there’s one other character in The Hobbit who has at least as much in common with the Jewish people as do dwarves. Hint: he loves the money, and he has the claw:


Disclaimer: This post might not make sense unless you click on that very last link.


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