Monday, August 06, 2007

Three Unrelated Links

I'm busy with back-to-school prep for the kids and me both, so I offer for your medievalist viewing pleasure the following three links:

Carolingian over at Medievalisms has a report from the ISAS (International Society of Anglo-Saxonists) Conference.

Dr. Virago has a post about faith-based toys, and writes about how the market for re-tellings of Biblical stories strikes her as medieval. It doesn't strike me that way, but then again, I'm much more familiar with the Protestant sub-culture than Dr. V., and friendlier to the Catholic sub-culture (so friendly, in fact, that I appear to be on every dang Catholic mass mailing list in the country -- just ask my postal carrier!). Anyway, I thought the post was an interesting view into the way modern Christianity is viewed as "medieval" by a medieval scholar.

Jeff Sypeck over at Quid Plura? tries to hunt down the source of a Charlemagne quotation in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and comes up empty. For those who doen't remember, Indiana's father downs a Nazi plane by frightening a flock of birds to fly up in its path and get sucked into the engines, and then attributes this quote to Charlemagne: "Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky..." It looks like the quote might be made up.


  1. Just to clarify, note that I also thought re-tellings of Biblical stories also seemed "papist" and "Romish." (Note for the uninitiated, I'm Catholic, and I use such early modern Catholic-bashing terms with tongue planted firmly in cheek.) In other words, the toys seemed medieval (they reminded me of medieval drama in a way) *and* Catholic (they *especially* reminded me of various play-time religious stuff in Catholic school). But you're right that I'm not familiar with Protestant sub-cultures, but I do think that their 17th century ancestors might have been a little nonplussed by these figures!

  2. And one question: when you said "friendlier to the Catholic sub-culture," you didn't finish that (friendlier than whom?). Did you mean "friendlier than one might expect" or "friendlier than Dr. Virago"?! Because the latter's not true. Or at least, I'm not unfriendly.

    And PS, let me amend my last sentence in the previous comment to say "not familiar with *American* Protestant sub-cultures *today*" -- I'm plenty familiar with early modern English ones, which is perhaps what led me to see the toys as both "medieval" and Catholic. After all, one of them's a talking Jesus (not pictured in the article), and so my knowing that representations of God on stage were banned in England from the late 16th century (in part to appease non-conformist Protestants) to the mid-20th made me go "Hm." My NOT knowing much of what goes on in the US after colonization also probably accounts for my finding this curious.

  3. Dr. Virago,

    Sorry if I mis-characterized your attitude toward Catholicism. My memory of your blog left me with the idea that for you, having been raised Catholic, familiarity bred contempt. I could have sworn that you were a self-described atheist who was sent to Catholic school as a kid -- or do I have you mixed up with Quod She?

    What an embarrassment of riches to be blessed with so many medieval bloggers that I get us all mixed up!

  4. I *am* Quod She. (OK, that just sounds funny.) You've actually kind of got it all right -- I'm agnostic now, but I still identify as Catholic (when I think about going back, for example, it's always to Catholic church), and my contempt (or something less strong -- displeasure, maybe) is pretty limited to my Catholic *school* experience and to certain aspects of the institution. I think maybe sometimes I describe myself as atheist, but that's actually not accurate. But agnostic just sounds so wishy-washy, you know?

    Call me culturally Catholic, but not actively religious, if you can say there's such a thing (and I think you can).

    And as I once noted on my blog, nothing gets my hackles up more than anti-Catholicism from non-Catholics. And certainly my general sympathies in things religious always tend towards the Catholic side of things, which explains why I'm a medievalist and not an early modernist. (I think the anti-Catholic rhetoric of the early modern period -- even if I specialized in Catholics in the era -- would get me down.)

    Hey, I'm a complicated gal.

    So yeah, the general sub-text of my post was, "Wait, why are contemporary Protestants so comfortable with appropriating practices that seem so Catholic/medieval, when their ancestors [and some other contemporary Protestants] were/are so active in disavowing any connection to the Catholic/medieval church." Of course, as a *medievalist,* too, I'm irked by the disavowals and then puzzled by the (usually unacknowledged) appropriations.

    Does that make any sense whatsoever?

  5. Here is a related post. Read it!