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> De†: Francine Nicholson <[log in to unmask]>
> Objet†: Re: Druid - Magus
>> From: Alexis <[log in to unmask]>
>> 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.
> Alexis, if everything pre-Christian had been regarded as evil, then the
> Irish monks would never have recorded a single myth, especially stories like
> Lebor Gaba/la E/renn and others that talked about the Tuatha De/ Danann. But
> they did record those stories--in modified form. And there were differing
> standards as to what needed to be changed and how much it needed to be
> changed. The two colophons you cited represent two extremes of those
> standards.

When I am saying that pagan is not synonym to pre-christian, and that pagan
was considered evil it means also that pre-christian is not necessarily
considered as evil. This is was the Lebor GabŠla was written down (some
parts may have been pre-christian, but it was not considered as pagan - a
terme which is connected only to religious practices), but we don't have any
trace of a pagan cosmogony which would have religious implications. The
Irish monks only take their traditionnal history and withdraw nearly
everything that could not be accepted by their christian contemporary (we
have to keep in mind that something could be considered as acceptable at one
time and not anymore later). The two colophons are not representing two
extremes, they are just talking of two different things (or scribes would
have been a kind of schizophrenic !) : this tale is worth being transmitted
(in Irish), but reader has to keep in mind that it is only a story, not
History (in Latin).

>> <snip>>That's exactly what I am saying, once you have adapted, revised or
>> changed the meaning of something, it is not a survival,
> I never said anything was a survival. I said that things were not always
> discarded as evil. Sometimes they were adapted or re-interpreted. It's not
> black or white, one moment it's pagan and the next it's Christian. Most of
> the time it was a compromise, a grey that was acceptable to the
> clerics/theologians and to the people they were, at least at one stage,
> trying to convert or who were reluctant to just stop doing what they used to
> do. After all, if something was working for generations, people are often
> reluctant to toss it out just because the priests tells them to. Thst's
> found in every era and culture.

As far as I know, the texts we possess are much later that the conversion.
So they had little to do with it. In this way, I am afraid that they were
more black & white than grey.

> And I did not say that wells were uniquely Celtic or that they were not
> Christian; I pointed out that they were *characteristic* of Celtic practice
> in pre-Roman eras and continued into the Roman era.

If a practice is attested in all ancient Europe, then there maybe no point
to define it as "*characteristic* of Celtic practice".

> Ritual use of wells can
> be found all over the world. It was also used by Jews and was carried into
> Christian practice as part of that heritage as well as adapting
> pre-Christian European customs. Water plays a *very* powerful role in
> Christian and Jewish theology. And incidentally, I don't see what it has to
> do with the present discussion to inject that wells aren't specifically
> Celtic. My point was that they were part of practice in Celtic-speaking eras
> before Christianity, and that, in adapted form they continued in use after
> Christianity became dominant. (Whether or not the modern customs are a
> continuation of medieval is another issue.) My point was that no one came
> from Constantinople, to use your example, in the Christian era and
> *introduced* the custom to the Celtic-speaking areas.

But I didn't say that.

>The custom already
> existed and was adapted in the Christian era. Please note the difference
> between what I said and what you attributed to me.

I was just pointing the fact that if there were some celtic practices around
wells, this might not help us to understand what the Christians were doing
when they were doing apparently the same. I add that very often (but not
always I recognize) there is no proofs that these wells were used in
pre-christian times : it is just infered that if they are used in Christian
times it means that they were also used in pre-christian times as religious
(that is to say pagan) devices. A useful reference on the subject (it
concerns Brittany, but some of the conclusions are more general) is DEN»FLE,
Sylvette, (1994), "Croyances aux fontaines en Bretagne", Aix-en-Provence,
…disud, 1994, 208p.

>> 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
>> in jeopardy.
> Excuse me, Alexis, but you're misinterpreting the purpose of such
> declarations. Sometimes such declarations simply mean they're re-affirming
> something that has come under attack. The Council of Trent re-established
> what was in common practice. Ditto for Vatican I. But that doesn't mean the
> canon wasn't established long before.

Well, common practice is not canonical practice or dogma : a common practice
has nothing universal, whereas the result of a council (oecumenical) is
supposed to be so. That is what councils are for : to decide what practice
or dogma is to be considered as canonical or not. Sometimes, positions were
even changing from one council to another.

Friendly, 
Alexis.