This Christianist/Nativist thing seems quite strange from the Scottish side
of the Sheugh. I don't think such a controversy has ever existed here to
any great extent (though it is not wholly absent, e.g. in regard to how
completely Christian themes can explain the imagery of Pictish cross slabs
etc.). I reckon the simple explanation for this is that the principle that
customs and beliefs can survive a radical cultural and organisational change
is amply and obviously demonstrated by the survival of folk beliefs and
customs long after the Reformation in the mid 16th century, not least in
matters such as resort to holy wells which was most certainly not encouraged
by Calvinist ministers.
From: Old-Irish-L [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: 21 August 2011 22:18
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [OLD-IRISH-L] periodic king killing?
Looking closer at the blog you referred us to, I see that it is not by Ned
Kelly at all. It is put up by some reporter writing for an outfit called
'the journal'. Ned Kelly's quote is not cited as coming from any written
documents. It would seem likely that those were views aired at in an
interview either face-to-face or over the phone. It maybe that the
journalist recorded what Ned said, or it may be that he worked later from
notes taken during the conversation.
A lot of the stuff that's being mooted in the papers and the blog sounds
like stuff that was being said about a bog body in Britain, written up
rather extravagantly by Anne Ross (I think) and called something like *Death
and Burial of a Druid Prince*. She goes off the scale altogether there
trying to convince the reader that she's identified the name of the victim
and the historical occasion on which he was killed, the precise reasons for
his sacrifice, and the exact circumstances under which he was killed, but
there was hard evidence such as lack of scarring on the body, no callouses
on the hands, the pristine nature of the fingernails to suggest that this
person was not any ordinary Joe Soap.
Drat -- there's more I want to say, but most of my library on this subject
is scattered through some seven boxes perched precariously by the back door.
I've been going through them repeatedly since first reading your posting,
Dennis, and I'm getting a bit tired with it. Of course by the time I
rearrange the collections, we will have long since left the subject.
Ned by the way, as you may have guessed from 'thejournal.ie' is a convinced
Nativist, and apt to be very opposed to what might be called the
Christianist camp. I was never particularly aware of the existence of these
two camps as such while I was living in Ireland, it is only when I had to
spend the last five years in Los Angeles that I started appreciating them;
in Ireland I think the waters are muddied by the great outcry over
Revisionism, which has distracted people from the real work at the coalface.
The 'Christianists' (and there is probably a better term out there for
this) insist hand on Bible that there are no such things as pagan survivals
in Irish customs or literature: everything, absolutely everything, can be
interpreted with reference to imported Christian doctrines or wisdoms. I
have been assured of this, fervently, by two eminent people in the field.
The Nativists who hold to it that there are plenty of pagan survivals have
something of a bad name, given that their Romantic Victorian forebearers
claimed to see pagan rituals in everything around them. Joseph Nagy's book,
*Conversing with Angels and Ancients* is addressed precisely at this whole
embroglio, but still the colloquy continues ...
Well anyway, that's one person's (my) view of things, but I'm sure there are
plenty of people logging in who could improve on the above or who might feel
that it mis-states the case. All comments welcome.