J.R.R. Tolkien and the Book of Jonah

J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy books have been popularized in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. What many don’t know is that Tolkien was an editor for the English translation of the Jerusalem Bible—translating the book of Jonah. It was the first widely accepted Roman Catholic translation of the Bible since the seventeenth century—respected for its scholarly translation from the original Hebrew and Greek into French.

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien writes of Gollum seeing the Misty Mountains for the first time: “The roots of those mountains must be roots indeed . . .” a “Tolkien-esque” line that is echoed in his later translation of Jonah 2:6 and 7: “The seaweed was wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains.”

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