In Which We Give You Things to Read

1. The Pig by Joshua Gibbs is a great little story (“little” meaning extremely small, not patronizably cute).

2. Reading the Bible and Understanding Art is a great (again, little) lecture given by the wonderful Calvin Seerveld which you should read.

3. Purity or Paternity? was a weird thought I had a while ago, that I’m thinking of resurrecting a kicking around the playground for a bit. If you find it annoying, you may have the first kick.


11 comments on “In Which We Give You Things to Read

  1. Well, I like the Courtly Love tradition, and I don’t think you have it quite correct, but in the ancient world, Mary’s perpetual virginity was related to Christ’s paternity. If you were to check (so their thoughts went) Mary’s body bore the marks of Virginity, and of milk.

    And even as recently as the Wesleys Mary’s perpetual virginity was a basic Protestant doctrine, derived from numerous Scriptural texts. (Like the one in Ezekiel that describes God as coming through a closed door that no man shall ever pass through.)

    Ezechielis porta clausa per transitur
    Unde lux est ort salus invenitur!

    See this post:

  2. Two other comments:

    Your second link isn’t working.

    In the gospels there isn’t that link of purity, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t in the Bible. Some places are either holy because no one goes there, or too holy for anyone to go there and defile it, like the Most Holy Place. And Catholics get a lot of their imagery of Mary from the Most Holy Place. So I don’t know that it is quite true that the empahsis in Scripture is on purity.

    Of course not “asexual purity” but purity nonetheless, and the courtly love tradition is very much about sex. So even there, I don’t think the issue is lack of sex per se, but lack of sex with him, solely, and completely dedicated to God.

  3. matt,

    gotta work right now, but quickly: the second link isn’t broken. it links directly to a pdf file of the lecture. if you want it, you gotta have adobe and you gots to download it.
    i’ll get back to you later.


  4. mattyonke says:

    What sort of union is created by the spousal relationship physically sealed in the action between The Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit? What sort of relationship do we know, according to the facts, existed between St. Joseph and Our Lady?

  5. mattyonke says:

    By the by, do you figure Josh’s story is saying that arguments between Christians transform the table of the Lord into an unclean table, so to speak?

    Or what?

  6. yonke,

    1. the short answer to both questions is “marriage”. however, i know that hardly satisfies the implications of your question. suffice it to say that i’m working on articulating some thoughts about that and they involve, among other persons, Rahab and Bathsheeba (everybody say yikes!). stay tuned, and bring your red pen.

    2. yes, i think that was certainly part of what he was getting at. the vicious levity of the argument was particularly striking to me. as was the angel of the Lord’s less-than-gentle graciousness in not just throwing the bleeding pig onto the table (and declaring the whole proceeding unclean), but in so doing covering the room in blood and knocking the lamb right into Julian’s lap at the east end of the table. from a postmillenial standpoint, i wonder what that implies.

  7. I’m still having trouble with the link. It doesn’t say “to install Adobe click here” but “WordPress 404–file not found.”


  8. mattyonke says:

    I’m getting the same as Matt on the link.

  9. sad. i’ll see what i can do. in the meantime, click on the link “spilled perfume” on the sidebar, scroll down, and find the lecture titled “reading the bible and understanding art”. sorry about that.

  10. petersen,

    fly-by: what do you think i don’t get about the courtly love tradition?

  11. I’m not sure, it seems like you’re conflating Victorian pseudo-pious thoughts about sex with the troubadors. I’m not finding any easy translations on line, But ChrĂ©tien de Troyes, for instance, is all about sex. Lancelot consumates his relation with Guinevere. the climax of Cliges is sex. The climax of the first part of Eric and Enid is sex. I don’t remember Yvain very well.

    Andreas the Chaplin is also frankly sexual. Likewise in Marie de France, the salvation for the heroine is often (if not always) the knight who comes and has sex with her.

    And in the troubadors themselves the poem is usually frankly sexual. Even in Tasso the longed for relation is very sexual. Tancred does not only want to look at Clorinda, but to be united to her in sex. We see the same sort of thing in, for instance, Spenser.

    There is of course a desire to serve an undeflied lady, but it’s more like “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled.” And of course, often the undefiled lady is married, and thus, quite obviously, not a virgin.

    The undefiled wife shows up in both Lancelot, and in several of the Marie de France stories. For instance, in one, a jealous husband locks his wife in a tour, where she pines away and nearly dies. She is saved when a knight flies into the tower as a hawk, and carries on liason with her.

    I suppose you could point to say Sir Gawain, but I think highly of Sir Gawain (the knight), even before his “repentance”. His devotion is to the “Queen of Courtesy” (that’s what she’s called in Pearl), but not because she is free from the taint of sex. In Sir Gawain, the problem with the temptress is three-fold: 1) sleeping with her would be a violation of courtesy to the host, and hence would be base, not a good afair. 2) All he can really get from her is a peice of ass. But the troubadors aren’t about chasing tail, but about going into the garden and enjoying the pleasant fruits; about enjoying her, not her c*. And though she is decked out to make him think he would be enjoing her, the sex could be nothing but getting some. 3) it would be immoral.

    In the first two, the Pearl Poet does not really diverge from the tradition of the troubadors. None of them would think highly of a one (or three) night stand. The lover dedicates himself to his beloved, and seeks to find joy in her alone. The Peal Poet is beyond some of his contemporaries in that he thinks sex like in the Song of Songs should be in marriage, but he isn’t different in seeing sex like it is seen in the Song. (That many scholars argue that the lovers in the Song are not married is telling. The sort of sex in the Song is not necessarialy in marriage. The sort of sex we find in the Song is ideal as an apporach to sex, and not (necessarialy) in where that ideal sex occurs.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s