The Theology of Dune

Ever noticed all the Christian symbolism symbols in Frank Herbert's Dune? The Orange-Catholic Bible is a clue that much more lies beneath the dune-covered surface of this science-fiction masterpiece. From the Messiah-figure of the Kwisatz Haderach to the Flight into the Desert of Arrakis, there is quite a bit of Christian symbolism in Frank Herbert's epic Dune.

Dune is one the great classics of science-fiction. It inspired, among others, George Lucas who conceived of another desert planet, Tatooine, and the Messianic-figures who would arise from it. 

Here is a list that is still under construction as I re-read Dune. These are all the Christian symbols and connections that I have noticed. Please comment below and share you own insights into the Christian themes, motifs, and symbols hidden within Dune: 

(1) Kwisatz Haderach or 
Muad'Dib (Fremen)

The Messianic figure of the Dune universe: Kwisatz Haderach to the Bene Gessarit; Muad'Dib to the Fremen.

When explaining the term "Muad'Dib" to Duke Leto, Thufir Hawat actually describes the Muad'Dib as following the Messianic pattern. Lady Jessica first notices the Muad'Dib among the constellations in the desert manual following their escape from Baron's men. The Muad'Dib is the desert mouse, and the tail of its constellation points north. Similarly, the Messiah had its own star among the Hebrews, which I have already written about here.

(2) Duke Leto

Joseph, who takes his family into the desert of Egypt (i.e. Arakkis), though Leto taking his family to Arakkis is more like taking them into King Herod's camp.

(3) Lady Jessica

Mary, who descends from the line of David (the matriarchal line of Bene Gessarit in Dune)

She is prophesied to be, as Stilgar says, "the Bene Gessarit of legend whose son will lead us to paradise."

(4) Fremen

The Hebrew people abused and colonized by the Romans (Harkonnen), whom the Messiah leads to freedom (i.e. "free-men")

(5) Missionaria Protectiva

Missionaries; the diaspora of the Hebrew people which made for the easy spread of Christianity

(6) The Baron

King Herod perhaps 

(7) The Orange-Catholic Bible

This speaks for itself and leads one to look for symbolism along Catholic lines, especially.  

Quotes from the Saints appear within Dune

Lady Jessica at p. 85: "What is it Saint Augustine said? she asked herself. 'The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance.' Yes--I am meeting more resistance lately. I could use a quiet retreat by myself." 

Post a Comment