Gandalf and Saruman In this new TORn Library piece, our newest feature writer Gibbelins examines the difference between skill and knowledge and whether the former has an unjustly sullied reputation in Middle-earth as a result of the rash and self-seeking acts of craftsmen such as Saruman and Fëanor.

Two paths of Wisdom

by Gibbelins

The concepts I wish to discuss are best expressed with the Quenya roots ‘curu-‘ and ‘nolo-‘, but I will try not to subject you to the Elvish for the entire essay. Both of these roots have at times been translated as ‘wisdom’, and yet they represent different sides of wisdom and different inclinations. I’ll use the English glosses ‘skill’ and ‘knowledge’ as reasonable approximations. The contrast between the two ideas is, I think, fundamental to Tolkien’s understanding of how to live righteously. Continue reading “On Tolkien’s two paths of wisdom”

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