A Very Important Question Answered-The unabridged and authoritative answer to the question, Who was Tom Bombadil?


You really cannot discuss Tom Bombadil [©Anke-Katrin Eiszmann]

You really cannot discuss Tom Bombadil without Goldberry.             [©Anke-Katrin Eiszmann]

Who is Tom Bombadil really, you my ask?

I had a close friend of mine ask me that question recently, apparently the email the question was encoded in became buried under two or three months of Facebook notifications – Facebook is going to be the end of us all I’m sure – at that time my friend was listening to the Lord of the Rings with his school age son.  Listening to???  I had thoroughly parsed the Silmarillion in print by age 12, mom’s Book of the Month Club selection for September 1977 – mine!

I suppose that was why my friend asked me the question, because he thought I probably knew the answer.  So, in case you haven’t managed to find the unabridged and authoritative answer to the question yourself – here it is.

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Joseph Campbell taking questions about Parzival, the Graal, and God – Grail Legends at the Ojai Foundation


How Sir Galahad, Sir Bors and Sir Percival were Fed with the Sanc Grael; But Sir Percival's Sister Died by the Way  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864

Sir Galahad, Sir Bors and Sir Percival Fed with the Sanc Grael – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864

God is a function, God experienced is a function of your manner of experience. The elementary idea of God is transcendent of all forms, of all names, the tongue has never soiled it, it never got there.  So, any idea of God is historically conditioned, it’s a local idea no matter how much noise people make about it, it’s just a local notion.  And so, as man transforms, so are the laws of God transformed.  The laws of God are functions of the human psyche in its historic expression and development.  That’s what we get here, and this if Wolfram.

~Joseph Campbell, Grail Legends at the Ojai Foundation

The following is a verbatim transcription of the Q&A portion of a talk entitled Grail Legends, given by Joseph Campbell at the Ojai Foundation before his death in 1987.   We Meme Merchants quote this material frequently, so I thought I would present it to the public since this material is otherwise hard to obtain in digital form since it was originally on audio tape.  So far as I know, no one has ever produced a complete transcript of the presentation.

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