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Thread: Morgoth Satan and the Holy Bible...

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Hello RomereX,
was your thesis devoted only to the question of Satan or to other parallels between Silmarillion and the Holy Bible?
Hello again RomereX, good to see you here. Smile Smilie
Welcome to the forum, RomereX.

I'm not up on the Silmarillion, so the others will have to take you on. Have fun. Smile Smilie
Sorry to admit that I am more familliar with the Sil than with the bible, so I dont know if I can help with comparisons. Would be interested to know some of them though. Since Tolkien was a catholic, the correlations are probably not just coincidental.

Question: Are you finished your thesis? If so, I think it is a little late for this forum to be of any benefit to it. Why post now and not before you finished? Big Smile Smilie
Well yes there are similarities between the works of Tolkien and the Bible. However, they are not to be interpreted as direct references (that was something Tolkien much disliked in a story) but rather as "truths" that'll always come back no matter which world you look in you'll always have your Satan and always have your good God...
Yes and no, Iago (welcome!)
For me, the most important parallel between Tolkien's vision of the history and the Bible is the notion of history as a Fall... in contrast to the theories of evolution (for instance) which represent the history in terms of Progress.
Absolutely Eryan but then again it is (IMHO) to be seen as the "truth" Tolkien believed in that the world starts of good and then goes down...

This is why Tolkien dissliked the Arthurian tales:

Quote:
"(i)t is involved in, and explicitly contains the Christian religion. For reasons which I will not elaborate, that seems to me fatal. Myth and fairy- story must, as all art, reflect and contain in solution elements of moral and religious truth (or error), but not explicit, not in the known form of the primary 'real' world."

[Edited on 13/3/2002 by iago]
It's an interesting idea.. Having only read it once, i can't really say. But the stories had to be influenced by tolkiens life.. how could they not, its only natural, everything you do reflects a little of you in it.. so, if he was catholic, then i imagine there are some similarities, whether he meant for there to be or not...


on the other hand, if you really think about it, if you want to, you can convince your self of anything, and see anything in it.. If you want to believe there are similarities, then i guarantee you will find things to support it!
Yes, Gimli, those are storys from JRRT's life, Beren and Tinuviel, or maybe Aragorn and Arwen (looking in general his works) could be conected to his mariage: an elf and a human (races taken as religions), ded's disagreament, She is always older than He is...
But what cinnection it has with the Bible? My opinion is that if u wanna call Tolkien's works a Bible, RomereX, it can be called like that just in case u wanna say it is saint to his fan(atic)s (like i olso am, but i'm not religious, so i don't call anything holly or saint).... Well i sometimes say "F* Iluvatar" with all respect....
ok. i've read that a dozen times now... im still lost.. I dont think anyone said that the book is a bible or anything.. we were talking about the connections in them... the likenesses..Similarities... as in metaphors... im not sure what Saints have to do with it...


Sorry.. not trying to be rude.. but i have no idea what you were talking about there.. please clarify....
I read an article in The New Yorker a few weeks ago concerning Tolkien's Catholism, it said that Tolkien was quoted as saying (in a letter to a friend) that the lotr was a highly cathloic work but Tolkien had tried to wipe out all refrences because he felt that his work would be critisized and taken differently for this reason, not for what it was. Also i agree that the biggest trend (that corresponds to Judo-Christian tradition, morals, history as recorded in scripture) is this concept of decline, and this is especially seen in the Simarlilon, most likly because it covers most all of Tolkiens history.
I just got a book yesterday called Finding God in Lord of the Rings... Ill let you know what it says.. sounded interesting.. and they did a good job at the begining of saying that they are in no way saying this is what Tolkien ment, they admit that he never wanted it to be considered one, and stated that they feel that he prolly didnt intend it to be in any sort of way a religions book. they are just showing how his christian life could have rubbed off in the book.. with example.. im only a few pages in, but its pretty interesting reading.
Sorry to disappoint you, but if based on any holy mythology, the Silmarillion is based on Celtic mythology. If you care to go to your local library and care to read any text book you will discover this. The only possible bible the Silmarillion could even be based on is the Irish bible as this was modified to take in Celtic mythology in order to convert the local populace.
Actually, I've read all of the Bible, and much of the Simarillion. Tolkien was a Christian, and, of course, had a distinctly Christian worldview. I was struck by many f the parallels btween the two both in implied morality and in the grand themes of sin and fallen humanity (or Elfmanity).

Morgoth greedily wants power, so he descends to Middle Eath, where he decieves the populace for his own nefarious ends. He cannot create, as Eru does, but he can distort the creation. Satan also cannot create, but turns the fallen angels who follow him into an army of demons.

Mankind and Elfenkind are often the victims of the evil machinations of Morgoth, and are tricked by him, led to their own destruction. The world, once a place of innocent bliss, falls under the spell of evil, and those who attempt to undo evil by its own means are themselves corrupted. This too, echoes the Biblical tale of the fall ad redemption.

Tolkien removed any too-obvious parallels to Christianity, fearing that his tale would have less appeal otherwise. He wanted to make a entertaining story which would appeal to all, yet he put a powerul, allegorical theme throughout- one which resonates with great moral and theological truths.
Right you are, Tabitheriel. Welcome to our forum. Happy Elf Smilie

The morality and parallels are there but only in the background because Tolkien disliked allegory and didn't want any religious controversy getting in the way of his story.
Well if you read the correct un-abridged version of the Bible like the one with Adam's first wife Lilith you will find that Satan was cast out of heaven for putting humans before Jehovah.
I have not read the Bible very much, so I don't know how much I can contribute to this conversation Wink Smilie ...but I thought it was an interesting topic.
Quote:
Well yes there are similarities between the works of Tolkien and the Bible. However, they are not to be interpreted as direct references (that was something Tolkien much disliked in a story) but rather as "truths" that'll always come back no matter which world you look in you'll always have your Satan and always have your good God...

I really like this Iago. I also noticed the theme of the Fall which several other people have mentioned. I just have to ask though: aren't the themes of a 'Satan' and a 'good God' present in all mythologies? The theme of the Fall, innocence vs. experience and redemption, I don't believe this only a Christian theme. Humans everywhere have thought these things because in our beginings we all have the same needs that need to be satisfied. Mythology and religion (which is I think mythology on another level) are ways to satisfy these things and so common themes are found in myths and religions. Tolkien, being a Catholic, probably did mean these parellells in a Christian way, but that does not mean that they were not present elsewhere as I'm sure other readers in other cultures will appreciate.
I liked your quote about the Arthurian legends Iago, I think it expresses Tolkien's balance between Christianity and mythology.
Could you explain more about the Celtic mythology and the Irish Bible Ross, I find that interesting.
Quote:

Well if you read the correct un-abridged version of the Bible like the one with Adam's first wife Lilith you will find that Satan was cast out of heaven for putting humans before Jehovah.


That is incorrect.

This is NOT the original unabridged version of the bible as you say. It is the bible fused with mythologies and paganistic beliefs.
Guess what? I have been thinking about this kind of quetions long and hard....ok, maybe not that long and hard Big Smile Smilie but I would like to just say it is impossible to write a story without references to anything related to our life and what we know. It is almost impossible. Why do you think we are able to relate to stories, songs, poems or other literary works? They are created by humans who depend on their experience, imagination and everyday life to come out with it. Therefore, in my opinion there is only one philsophy in this world, the philsophy of life! We can't possibly write or create anything we have not seen before or believed in!
Proof 1: Why do you think most aliens are humanoid? (Created in movies or books industries) It is because we have constant exposure to it and are unable to think outside of it! Even if there are aliens that aren't humanoids, don't you think that they look vaguely familiar to the animals on Earth? Why can't we have aliens in the universe that are not of soilid matter but be instead of liquid or gaseous matter?
Speculation: Which leads to this speculation, why are we unable to solve the problems of our universe and time? This is because what we are exposed to are only the tip of the iceberg the universe have to offer us and we have not fully appreciate them.
Proof 2: Don't you find that poems are mostly on what is going on around us in the world and not about the depths of unknown? We never have any poems dealing with the unknown, unless it is the frustration of dealing with the unknown and whatsoever.
Speculation 2: Have you ever wondered why are there feelings in us that cannot be described with words? Are they really indescribeable or just a new sensation that we have not put into words?
Proof 3: Stories are always said to be appealing to us as it gives us a revenue to escape. But is it really a form of escape or just a moment to fully appreciate a person's life experiences within the book, no matter how subtle to make us think like him and feel like him...thus making us humbled.
Speculation 3: Do we really need biiks to survive? Definately not! But the role of books is not for survival but instead in understanding one's position and to fully set your mind thinking without the trouble of going through an experience that you might never want to go through!
So yes! J R R Tolkien's The Silmarillion is very similar to The Holy Bible just as his experiences are similar to his books! Why do you think that writers say that they have left a part of themselves in the book? Wink Smilie
Quote:
This is NOT the original unabridged version of the bible as you say. It is the bible fused with mythologies and paganistic beliefs.


I'm sory it is the origonal version and still exists in the Torah, which I think you will find the bible is a ddescendent of. Being that Judaism isn't a pagan belief system ie. they don't worship the Sun or the moon, I think you will find it is quite right.


Quote:
Could you explain more about the Celtic mythology and the Irish Bible Ross, I find that interesting.


Certainly, The celtic peoples of the British Isles were a hardy people to convert to christianity especially in Ireland, so when St Patrick went over there and started to fuse the celtic belief structures into christianity, hence Satan now being represented as a goat like beast instead of an angel, this scism in the christian belief structure actually was so different that at one point the Catholic church actually had to pope's one in the Vatican and one in Ireland. This lead to many problems so in the end they unified into one church again with the pope based in the vatican but it meant that they had to adopt many of the celtic belief structures into the religous sytem. The Galic speaking catholic people of the British Isles still in alot of places follow the Irish churches Bible!
Quote:

I'm sory it is the origonal version and still exists in the Torah, which I think you will find the bible is a ddescendent of. Being that Judaism isn't a pagan belief system ie. they don't worship the Sun or the moon, I think you will find it is quite right.


This came a little late, but I thought I should still correctthis misconception.

The legend of Lilith does not exist in the Torah. It exists rather in the Midrash, which is a collection of Hebrew legends, and the Talmud, which is a Hebrew text written by rabbis as a type of written interpretations of oral traditions associated with the Torah.

The rabbis drew from a wealth of mythology provided by their Mesopotamian neighbors, primarily the Canaanites, the Sumerians, and the Greeks. Each of these cultures has, in their respective pantheons, a goddess who fits the basic description of Lilith.
Right you are, Erkenbrand; I would only add that the Talmud dates from the time of the Babylonian Captivity and was heavily influenced by Persian mythology, just as Zoroastrianism, which arose, at least according to its adherents, at around the same time has Jewish influences. Personally, I think this is a rich field of inquiry, if we're careful to observe site rules. The final statement on whether the Silmarillion has ties to the Bible is Tolkiens.
Moderator Smilie When re-opening long since buried threads, please observe our rules about religious discussion. Religious discussion is only permitted here if it bears direct significance to a Tolkien discussion. Neither of the above two posts have anything at all to do with Middle Earth at all as they are just discussing real world religion (although I suspect Erkenbrand's post was written before we implimented the "no-religion" rule).

Being a multi-cultural site, we found religious and political discussions invariably led to upsets, so with good reason chose to ban such discussions from this forum. If I continue to find such posts I will begin deleting them without warning.
Moderator Smilie

If we all have to look so long and hard to find or make connections, perhaps they simply are not there.  We know that Tolkien was a religious man,  however religious men of his time, would never have used God or religion in such a way as would it not have been sacrilegious ?

I'm an atheist, however I've read the bible and really don't find many similarities at all between it and any of Tolkiens works.  I find more similarities with Celtic, Greek, Germanic and Roman stories of antiquity than with anything Christian.

Being religious myself, I share the point of Brego on this. I do not believe that a religious person would imply the REAL GOD in a book out of religious practice.

In another threads we have began discussions about influences and although there can be found some point in the idea of Morgoth resembling the Satan in history and behavior, still Sauron's goal is more like Satan's and different than Morgoth's regarding the living and the Earth. I would rather stay in ME and not involve matters of Christianity or any other real religion in that reference, for it brings no better understanding of Tolkien works whatsoever. It is the Master who said- allegory and implicated external references has never been a goal of his works. And I intend to believe him.

If anyone is seriously interested in this thread, I have soooo much more to say on this topic now.  However, I fear that the connection between the LOTR, and The Sil. and the Bible might be far too inflamatory a topic for a public forum. What is the Council's thoughts on this?

I don't have a problem with this. It can be moderated if and when it needs to be.

Well, having at least studied seriously the Letters, it seems to me that our professor, being deeply Catholic and revering God to the depths of his soul, would never make a work, pretend or real that in any way offended God or contradicted the basic tenants of his belief, because that would be sacriligeous, and it is forbidden in Holy Scripture. There is a scripture that says that whatever we do , from the least to the greatest in every area of our lives we must do it unto God.

So, although Professor Tolkien wrote the story around his love for and his desire to have a platform to show off as it were his love of language and utilize the languages he himself created, still he would be careful not to make his subworld in any way against what he believed to be absolute truth. That is my belief, I am too Catholic and Jewish and I will leaveit at that, saying that being a writer myself I also subscribe to that rule and then do as I wish within those perimeters.

It seems to me Vir and I discussed this some time ago in another thread.  Here are some pertinent quotes from a paper of mine.

Tolkien deliberately avoided direct allegory in his stories, so it is a great mistake to make too many sweeping statements interpreting the plotline in this manner.  "Diametrically opposed to Lewis's appreciation and use of allegory was Tolkien, who said that, 'I dislike allegory whenever I smell it'" [Daniel Grotta-Kurska, J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect ofMiddle-earth (New York: Warner Books, 1976), p. 144].  We may say more accurately that there were certainly Catholic types or symbols in Lord of the Rings which Tolkien used in his own way to illustrate the theme.

"Tolkien privately admitted ...that 'Gandalf is an angel'" [Grotta-Kurska, p. 139].

    "Elves and Men are represented as biologically akin in this 'history,' because Elves are certain aspects of Men and their talents and desires, incarnated in my little world.  They have certain freedoms and powers we should like to have, and the beauty and peril and sorrow of the possession these things is exhibited in them..." [Humphrey Carpenter, Ed., The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), p. 189].

    “Tolkien is not a philosopher or a theologian but a literary artist who thinks.  Consequently he is not content merely to narrate a bare series of events but surrounds each high point of the action in The Lord of the Rings with convictions and opinions expressed by the participants as to its possible place in some larger plan under execution by greater hands than theirs.  Their speculations on such a topic could easily lead to the familiar vexing, futile debates on predestination, foreknowledge, contingent futures, free will, and the rest of the thorny thicket.  Tolkien, however, refuses to weigh down his story by letting his people think or talk like professionals in these areas…(T)hey eschew technical terms and discuss each crisis not as an intellectual problem but as a stern occasion demanding concrete choices and chances.  Being thoughtful people, though, they say quite enough in the process to give a good idea of the kind of order in which they believe and the nature of the planner operating through it...”

     “Tolkien uses several techniques to attain the desired balances.  For one thing he never speaks about these matters as author, and thereby avoids authorial certitudes.  His characters may be certain, or virtually so, that a providential order is at work but they are never sure of its final outcome, or exactly how it operates.  Witness Gandalf, who is positive that the Ring was ‘meant’ to fall into the hands of the West but not what its future is to be after that, and who guesses that Gollum has a part yet to play but knows not whether it is for good or ill.  Witness also Gildor, who intuits a supervening purpose in his meeting with the hobbits but confesses his ignorance of its aims.  And Bombadil, who, while intimating that his rescue of Frodo was not coincidence, regards himself as ultimately outside the contending forces in the War of the Ring” [Paul H. Kocher, Master of Middle-earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972), pp. 34, 39].

Many more quotes can be produced that prove Tolkien to have very much included his faith in his writing.

Gandalf

 

 

 
 
 

Brilliant. You tower much above me in all this dear Gandalf and it is a pleasure to learn from you.

I've been a little slow in getting back to this thread because I wanted to give some serious thought to how I would approach this topic.

It would be very easy to pick at the eyes of LOTR or The Sil and compare to various Biblical motifs – and we could spend years doing so – but I'm not sure that it would be all that useful.

I am more interested in what I personally call 'The Signal'.

My fascination with the LOTR became hooked on one thing. Not the reading – although that has always been fun – but the experience of reading LOTR. What I am talking about is difficult to pin down. It's like something glimpsed out of the corner of one's eye. Gone so quick you are not sure if it was really there or not. Until you glimpse it again. At its clearest point, it is as if someone's gaze falls on you from afar and pierces your heart. Another way of describing it is like something that only becomes visible when you learn to adjust your focus and then it leaps out at you, like a magic eye picture. Or something that regards you calmly through the text as if waiting for you to do something. Or a radio signal waiting for something that is capable of receiving it.

I have always wondered if anyone else has had this experience with LOTR or any of Tolkien's works. 

(Slightly edited by Amarië. And I believe this now removed bit was what caused most controversy, so keep that in mind when reading following posts. Happy Elf Smilie )

Allyssa,

I am not sure this idea is proper to this thread or even to this site.  I am quite sure Tolkien would not approve of this use of Scripture or of LOTR.

Gandalf

I assure you Gandalf, that LOTR has been widely accepted as a 'literary icon' for some time. This is not just empty flattery, but means what it literally says. The LOTR operates much like the pictorial icons seen in many Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. The Roman Catholic church does permit the use of icons in worship or prayer and also recognises LOTR as a classic of literature. The churches that are likely to have any difficulty with this are the protestant evangelicals who tend to shy away from all things that might possibly lead to idolatry. I think it is quite safe and even useful to use icons as long as God remains the focus and not the thing itself. Some people may have difficulty with this. I agree that Tolkien would not approve of idolatry, but that is not what is happening here. Hence, the focus is drawn through the work not on it. It is unclear if it was Tolkien's intention to create an icon, but it certainly is what he has ended up with. After many years of studying Tolkien, I would argue that this is why the work holds so much fascination.

But if the council feels that my posts are unsuitable, they will of course edit as they see fit, which they are perfectly entitled to do. :-)

I am not talking about idolatry.  I am talking about using Tolkien's work in a manner which he would never approve of.  Yes, he wrote a masterpiece that can be considered an icon.  And yes, the Catholic Church uses literature and art in her worship--something Tolkien was very keen on.  But this does not mean that Tolkien's iconic work can be used in this manner.  Tolkien made a very telling statement in one of his letters, when fans from the US were waking him with phone calls at ungodly hours.  He said (I'm paraphrasing) that young people were far too involved in doing things based on his books that he himself would never partake of.  So an icon, yes.  A channel to some other dimension, no.

Gandalf

That is very interesting Alyssa and Gandalf, howeve am quite certain Grondy would have put a stop to such a discussion.

However, what if, having thrown this out anyone who is interested can contact you by the means which our forum holds.

And, please council, make it clear our position on this, anyone? I am quite positive we are not to discuss religion as such or politics as such at all on this site, but I am not certain, I have not been here more than a couple of or three years and never concerned myself much with the rules unless I accidently broke one and then Grondy would correct me

This thread would not exist at all if religion were completely forbidden to discussion.  I believe we are allowed to discuss religion insofar as it was used by Tolkien.  This is what I was speaking to in my post. 

Gandalf

I'll be honest and say that I have been meaning to come back to this thread when I wasn't so sleepy or distracted, so I would be better equipped to decide what to do. But I keep forgetting or getting distracted. So sorry... Sad Smilie

  I'm all for speaking about opinions on how one would grasp the professor's works in one's own way, but we have to be careful on what other people may feel on reading strong opinions on religion, we have to remember the family friendly limits we have here.

  Allyssa, it's quite refreshing to see active forum posts and I'm sure your words have truth in them, but it may cause arguments, hence why we have the rule.  I would like to encourage more discussion though, maybe dialing the religious side down, as there is no harm in spotting comparisons and using them.  Good vs evil, the wise one who sacrifices himself to save others, even the fight to end all fights, are what make a good read.  You can't have a decent novel without good vs bad.  So please, don't be disheartened, we are all here to enjoy eachother's words Smile Smilie

  From what I can gather about your post, I would refer to it as an absolute joy of reading such fine words. I have had such an occasion happened many times during reading them all.  All chapters bring something brilliant and I wish I could forget and read again to have that same feeling.  You do come across new things each time you read, but I find that if you leave it for a couple of years and read again, you nearly forget everything and the feelings come back!  It's marvelous what reading words can do for you in life Big Smile Smilie

I'm not sure should I even write this reply, but here I go.

I'm not very religious, and am still looking for my own path, but it won't be the path of christianity, and that's certain.

But, I still have a lot of respect towards other people with even more differing religions.

The Professor certainly was inspired by his beliefs while he wrote, and I can understand why, 'cause I seek for inspiration from the nature, and I also consider it to be one of the main sources of my own personal beliefs.

- Oerath.

Well I guess this is a fairly old thread but I believe that I am familiar with this subject since I wrote my finishing paper (for my undergraduate degree) on the similarities between the everyday world and Tolkien's secondary world (mainly giving references from Silmarillion) as well. Well, first of all, it is impossible to consider the author as a separate entity from the world we live in. Because what we read is already a re-writing of something else (I'm not talking about Tolkien specifically here). Therefore I agree that Tolkien was inspired by the character of Satan from the Holy Bible and probably from Paradise Lost of Milton. However I believe that it is not correct to consider him making direct references to Bible and Bible only. He is mainly inspired by the Nordic mythology for instance. Still, whatever he did, the outcome was something fantastic, which is what we agree on no matter what. It is always enjoyable to try and trace such similarities between the primary and the secondary worlds. I plan to write my graduate thesis on Tolkien's works again, probably on The Lord of the Rings this time (with a touch of feminist theory). I'm sure this site will be a perfect secondary source with your valuable ideasSmile Smilie  

The story of Satan is reflected in Morgoth.  Not because it is allegory, but because the story of evil is always the same, it operates in the same way.  But other great posts have talked about this.

I think the most important place in Middle-Earth writings to see reflective themes with the Bible is the Akallebeth.  Particularly Numenor's slip into Satanism, and Sauron's assistance.  In the ancient tradition, Set, Saturn, and Satanic (Sauron?)rituals involved human sacrifices, Molechian sacrifices.  Sauron drives the Numenoreans to this exact thing, which is a recurring theme in the Bible, especially in deteriorating societies (Solomon, in his old age, saw his wisdom fail as he built a Molechian temple, an affront to God).

Ar-Pharazon's Numenor is a classical Satanic Babylon, with the ruling class playing the people off against each other , in the Kings Men and the Faithful, with the bloodthirsty and treacherous group always being the largest.  This gradually turns into societal supported human sacrifice, the ultimate form of mass control, a society where everyone fears to be considered a traitor, or terrorist, or whatever.  A snitch culture, devoid of reason and wisdom, worshipping power and propaganda, where even the rulers who benefit are literately insane.  And of course, as always, the priest class dominates everything behind the scenes (Sauron, naturally).  

A brutal, trample or be trampled society.  Devoid of God's reason and laws (God several times forbid human sacrifice, or Molech, and the sacrifice of Jesus was supposed to be the end of that for good, as well as the end of symbolism and mystery religions controlled by the priest class.  Notice how there is no church or other symbol when Numenor was at its height of happiness)  

This is the definition of Satanism

It is impossible to separate faith, religion etc from real life as these beliefs have existed forever on this earth. And it is absolutely impossible to extricate the devout religious Catholic beliefs of JRR Tolkien from his works, out of the abundance of the heart truly overflows and makes the heart speak , that very thing is what often hangs a crminal in the end.

We are not on this family sight allowed to get into religious dialogue  in a way that is trying to preach to others and convert or cause dissension, therefore only in what the professor believed and how he applied it to his canon, knowingly or unknowingly can we discuss, just as we would discuss how a building was made by a certain builder-what tools and equipment he used and the materials he used and from where they came. To ask people to never mention religion, in this case the belief in the Judeo Christian God and Creator is to cease to discuss most of Tolkien's work. However, as he himself mentioned no churches or organized religion in his work or blatantly preached as did his dear friend Jack(C.S. Lewis) neither must we.

I think the above post is brilliant , sort of a connect the dots through out history

So let us just confine our 'religious thought to the author's use of it only) and we should come out alright.

Thank you for the response Leelee.  I haven't decided yet if I am a Christian, but Tolkien's understanding of the faith may certainly influence one's decision.  No one appreciates preaching, however.

Overall, I just think the ME writings are great, descriptive (rather than prescriptive) chronicles on the success and failure of nations.