> De : Dennis King <[log in to unmask]>
> Objet : Re: Druid - Magus
> Alexis wrote:
>> I am afraid that in this respect, medieval Christians were not
>> very open minded to any other religious traditions than their own.
> What do you make of John Carey's essay "The Baptism of the Gods"
> (in _A Single Ray of the Sun_, 1999, http://celticstudies.com/)?
> Carey argues that some medieval Irish clerics were unwilling
> to completely turn their backs on, and forget, their old gods.
> Rather, they attempted to find a benign explanation for them
> in terms of the new religion, an explanation that was based
> neither on demonization nor euhemerism (the usual orthodox
> strategies in these matters): to "baptize" them into the
> Christian faith, as it were, and in so doing to rescue the
> rich lore and literature in which the old gods appear.
I have this article, and found it very interesting. But I am afraid that its
title is a bit misleading : the Irish did not "baptized" the old gods, they
just tried to find some explanations concerning their history. These
characters may have been considered as gods before the conversion, but not
anymore after that, and it is true that some parts of what was mythology
became history (not without being very much expurged, the case is not
unique, see Rome and Greece). In order to do that, they invented a new way
in order to explain their extraordinary deeds : for that they went through
the Bible and... Bingo ! Some characters could match. First, the nephilim, I
quote the passage of the Genesis :
Genesis 6, 1-4 :
1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth,
and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and
they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he
also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
**4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when
the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to
them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.**
Plus, remember that when the Israelites discovered the Promised Land it was
inhabited by giants they had to destroy before being able to get in : a bit
like the sons of Míl.
To summarize, the Irish clerics invented a new possibility to explain the
extraordinary powers of those who might have been, once, known as gods. They
just created a new orthodoxy after demonization and evhemerism :
"biblification (?)". So, to come back to Carey, I think that he found the
good arguments, but that sometimes, his conclusions are not completly
relevant with what he has presented.