> De : Francine Nicholson <[log in to unmask]>
> Objet : Re: Druid - Magus
>> From: Alexis <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sorry, but for a Christian, God is not better than the other gods, he is
>> the only god. This is the difference between monotheism and polytheism. The
>> examples from hagiography show that the power of God is stronger than the
>> power of magic, demons...
> This single statement--combined with your earlier statements about what it
> means to be a "true Christian"--seems to lie behind all your comments so I'm
> going to answer only this statement.
> In my opinion, what you have stated are a modern viewpoint and modern
> definitions. The medieval Irish didn't use words like monotheism.
Not using a word does not mean that the reality or the concept it means does
not exist. "Glas" means green, blue and grey : would that mean that the
Irish could not do the difference ? Of course not, it just means that
sometimes these differences were irrelevant.
> I think
> that instead of imposing modern definitions on the medieval Irish monks, we
> should be trying to figure out what they believed, what words and images
> they used, and what they meant when they used those words and images. The
> evidence indicates that they were engaged in a long, evolving effort to
> reconcile the traditions of the past with the beliefs of the
> present--*their* present--even as they tried to better understand what those
> beliefs were.
That is correct, the same was done everywhere. But remember that past does
not necessarily means pagan.
> In the course of things, they tried on different ideas,
> changed them, discarded some, tried others, ultimately settled on a few. The
> very fact that they depicted their saints conversing in a very civilized way
> with figures from the Otherworld is evidence of the dialogue that was going
> on. In most cases, the monks believed that these Otherworldly beings existed
> and they puzzled over how such beings fit into the Christian cosmos they'd
> received from non-Irish sources. They did not simply dismiss the beings as
> demons and non-gods. The monks called them de/ithe as their ancestors had
> called them de/ithe, and then the monks tried to figure out what that meant
> in a Christian cosmos. Medieval Christianity was not modern Christianity
> with candles instead of electric lights. People thought differently in
> medieval times, they looked at the world around them differently, they
> reacted differently, they sometimes believed differently. They recited
> charms that invoked the Trinity and Dian Cecht in the same sentence.
When a monk uses the word "gods", it does not have the same meaning as when
it is a pagan practicioner. By the way, I (and some other anthropologists
with me) think that medieval people did not *think* differently. Some rules
of human thought are universal, this is why we are able to understand each
other, even if we are from different cultures. Of course, such understanding
is not immediate and needs time and work. But they had different point of
view, beliefs, background, and sometimes reactions, so they reach different
> Since I think I have said this same thing in a number of different ways and
> feel that I am just repeating myself, I see no reason for me to continue
> participating in the discussion.
Bye Francine, and thanks for your participation.