> De†: Francine Nicholson <[log in to unmask]>
> Objet†: Re: Druid - Magus
>> From: Alexis <[log in to unmask]>
>> <snip>They were just forgetting that for the Irish clerics, paganism was
>> evil (even if sometimes, some pagan characters could have been inspired by
>> God) and so what we think we know from this paganism
>> was distorted by their prejudices.
> I think this is *really* overstating the actual case. As the examples I
> cited earlier show, there was diversity in attitude--what one cleric
> regarded as evil, another found acceptable.
Everything that was regarded as pagan was considered as evil. Pagan is not
synonym to pre-Christian, it means related to another religion than
Christianity. I am afraid that in this respect, medieval Christians were not
very open minded to any other religious traditions than their own. This
distinction between pagan and pre-christian is important because this way,
you understand that the monks may have accepted stories of the pre-christian
era (history, tales...), but not the pagan (that is to say religious) ideas
of these times.
> Even your own examples showed
> this diversity in attitude. The author of the OI colophon from TBC blessed
> those who preserved and passed on the story; the author of the Latin
> colophon said the whole thing was the ideas of demons.
Not exactly, the latin colophon states that the TŠin is "fabula" not
"historia". As such, it does not deserve the same treatment.
> There wasn't a
> single attitude that everything left from pagan days was evil; there were
> many attitudes and they kept changing with time and place.
>> Plus, I would add that acculturation is
>> also a creative process, during which everything new in Irish Christianity
>> is not to be understood as a survival (in a culture, nothing survive,
>> everything is living and meaningful).
> But a lot of what is characteristic of Irish Christianity--and Christianity
> in general--is a matter of giving old practices adapted form and revised
> meaning. For example, the pre-Christian British, Gauls, and Irish went to
> wells for healing and to make other petitions. They didn't stop doing this
> in the Roman era (in Gaul and Britain) or in the Christian era. But the
> stories, the mythology, the signficance, the supernatural person being
> petitioned changed, and, to some extent so did the practices. But the basic
> practice wasn't discarded; it was revised and adapted.
That's exactly what I am saying, once you have adapted, revised or changed
the meaning of something, it is not a survival, and as such pagan anymore.
And if you don't have the (pagan) original, you can never know what it was
because it is always difficult to know what was changed exactly. The
question of the origins of a tradition or a belief is always a tricky one :
you are always tempted to go earlier in search for this origins ! I must add
that the knowledge of the origin of something does not necessarily helps to
understand its meaning. By the way, going to wells for healing and other
petitions is not a kind of Celtic specificity : you also have very famous
healing fountains in Constantinople, and more generally all around the
>> Right, this is called history : nothing is static, but evolves ; even the
>> apparently more static things are changing and subject to negociation and
>> competition. For example, the canon of the Bible was more or less definitly
>> posed only in the 16th century, but there are still some discussions about
>> it, and some differences among the Churches.
> And I don't know where you get the idea of the Biblical canon being settled
> only in the 16th c. That may be when the Protestant Reformers settled their
> *revised* canon, but consensus on the "canonical" books was achieved more
> than 1000 years earlier. They just weren't bound into a single book until
> later. That's different.
You should take a look at the Council of Trente (1546). Any good Dictionary
of the Bible gives a fair account of that. The decision of this council was
even restated at the council of Vatican I (1870), meaning that it was still