Wizards and a defense of Gandalf
The word wizard is one of many words used to describe a "magician" (in fact, in an attempt to get a history of the word on Wikipedia, it redirected to the article on "magician"). But, a dictionary gave the history. It is a native English word coming from the word "wise". So, "wizard" merely means a wise person.

Now, the archetype of a wizard is older man, beard, robes, hat, staff and some sort of power. There are many stories from many cultures (in this case, lets stick to European) which have what we could call a wizard (and the term may be used in translations). Some fictional settings, either deliberate or cultural, may use the term more precisely leading one to believe it to be a precise term by nature.

Now, the reason why this is a separate thread, it is too long and is another topic inspired by another thread posting:

(09-29-2010, 01:23 PM)Iolanthe Wrote: Angels are real. I assume you aren't really asking me if they use magic, because you know that I know that they don't. The angels in the bible are not comparable to fictional, wizardlike characters in a fictional story. Claiming that they are is potentially harmful, and exactly the kind of thing I'm objecting to.

The wizard most of us seem to know these days is from The Lord of the Rings, a fantasy series by a Catholic writer.

For those unfamiliar with how he is seen, the films based on those novels represents him in a way consistent with the written descriptions: http://www.google.com/images?client=oper...=en&tab=wi

In the story, he is called a "wizard" (which, in the sense of being wise, is true). In the background of the story, Gandalf is:

Quote:In Valinor, Gandalf was known as Olórin.[16] As recounted in the "Valaquenta" in The Silmarillion,[17] he was one of the Maiar of Valinor, specifically, of the people of the Vala Manwë; and was said to be the wisest of the Maiar. He lived in the gardens of Irmo under the tutelage of Nienna, the patron of mercy. When the Valar decided to send the order of the Wizards to Middle-earth in order to counsel and assist all those who opposed Sauron, Olórin was proposed by Manwë. Olórin initially begged to be excused as he feared he lacked the strength to face Sauron.

Forsaking Tolkien's terms, God created spiritual beings (Ainur, which had ranks and subsets, one of which was Maiar, Sauron is also one of these), some rebelled against God (led by Melkor, later renamed Morgoth). They try to destroy man (God's creation), some angels are sent to aid men in the battle against the evil angels. They cannot interefere with free will and offer console most often, but they can fight as men because they have the appearance of men. When confronted with other Ainur, they will use some of their power to defeat them, but it is mostly dependent on the will of the Ainur involved (Balrog are Ainur too) in commanding each other. So, the "spells" of Gandalf and the other Ainur are commands. Commands to stay still. Commands to flee. Commands for other beings to assist, etc.

Now, for a Catholic reality: this concept is not fictional.

Here is an example:

Exodus 7:11-12 Wrote:And Pharao called the wise men and the magicians: and they also by Egyptian enchantments and certain secrets did in like manner. And they every one cast down their rods, and they were turned into serpents: but Aaron's rod devoured their rods.

This is recorded as a fact, not as fiction.

Moses and Aaron performed many signs in this struggle against the Pharaoh, all of which involve doing something with their hands or staff (holding up, throwing down, hitting, etc) and usually involved speaking. Occasionally, another object would be used, such as the Bronze Serpent.

Although heathens performed one of the acts, there was a key difference: Moses and Aaron did it by God's command, not by their own will. Moses and Aaron willfully were servants to God. The magicians they encountered obtained power through ignorance of the origins. They "commanded" demons to do what they wanted, which God allowed (sometimes...they failed in replicating some of the things Moses and Aaron later did). They did not command demons, but were seduced by them and servants to demons.

The general definition of magic I used was before was:
Quote:the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces

(part of a standard dictionary entry). This would make the word fit to many things which we would not normally call magic.  We could further refine it to restrict it to "seemingly supernatural power from sources other than God" because clearly, we do not use "magic" to refer to God's power and the external effects of "magic" can replicate God's power superficially. Manipulating the elements or doing some things can be done through various means. Some things which would be magic in the past can be done purely by technology know, such as recording light and sound or flying.

Now for appearances:

Moses and Aaron at this time were in their 80s. They probably had white hair, wore robe-like clothing and their staves are mentioned many times (and used in many miracles). They also are the subject of much art. Their actions are highly tied to their miracles:

Moses during a battle (holding his arms up with assistance):

[Image: 428px-VictoryOLord.JPG]

[Image: crossing-the-red-sea.png]

Gandalf in an animation during a battle doing something very natural in a battle (using a sword):

[Image: BakshiGandalf.JPG]

So, I think we can lay to rest claims of "wizard-like" as being "bad", unless we want to condemn Moses.

Now, for the anticipation:

* I am not calling Moses a wizard
* I am not saying that Gandalf is Moses
* I am not confusing reality with fantasy
* I am not defending the entire Lord of the Rings story, just the restricted concept of "wizard like"
* I am not pretending that "wizard" doesn't commonly refer to things which are evil.
* I am not saying we should give other meanings to the word "wizard" unless they already exist, ie, that Gandalf is called a wizard required explanation, otherwise, wizards are evil (note, the Lord of the Rings is primarily a linguistic work, so it uses linguistics extensively. Many names and terms in his works have many words in various "languages")

Deuteronomy 18:10 Wrote:Neither let there be found among you any one that shall expiate his son or daughter, making them to pass through the fire: or that consulteth soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens, neither let there be any wizard,

This translation uses the term in the familiar sense (not as a "wise man"). It translates "maleficus" as "wizard". The word originally meant "nefarious, vicious, wicked, criminal" and at the time and place of translation, "wizard" was understood to mean this.

An interesting part of this analysis is that any time "wizard" is used, we should take it to be evil, unless the use of the word is explained (words do not have inherent meaning).

Messages In This Thread
Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by Historian - 09-29-2010, 09:59 PM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by Walty - 09-29-2010, 10:53 PM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by Walty - 09-29-2010, 11:11 PM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by timoose - 09-30-2010, 07:43 AM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by cgraye - 09-30-2010, 11:35 AM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by Walty - 09-30-2010, 08:12 PM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by Walty - 09-30-2010, 08:16 PM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by piabee - 10-01-2010, 01:04 PM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by timoose - 10-01-2010, 01:54 PM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by Walty - 10-02-2010, 12:09 AM
Re: Wizards and a defense of Gandalf - by piabee - 10-03-2010, 02:44 AM

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