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"Mysteries Of The Middle Ages'
NYT ^ | 12-24-2006 | Thomas Cahill

Posted on 12/24/2006 4:09:04 PM PST by blam

‘Mysteries of the Middle Ages’

By THOMAS CAHILL
Published: December 24, 2006

The Cult of the Virgin and Its Consequences

In the first decade of the twelfth century, a little girl from the Rhineland town of Bermersheim, near Mainz, was offered by her parents as a sacrifice to God. Her name was Hildegard; her parents were Hildebert and Mechthild, a pious knight and his pious, well-born wife. Hildegard was eight years old when she was left for life with an anchorite named Jutta von Sponheim, who lived alone in a cell attached to the abbey church of Saint Disibod. (Disibod was a whimsical Irish monk-bishop of the seventh century who, disappointed at the lack of response to his preaching by his own countrymen, traveled to the Rhineland, became a protÈgÈ of the English Saint Boniface, evangelist to the Germans, and founded Disibodenberg, where he seems to have been rather more successful than he'd been in his native land.) Not only does Hildegard's story embody many of the cultural currents that reached their ebb in her time or soon after; this outwardly obedient daughter, her childhood cut so cruelly short, was destined to become one of the most important women of her age.

Using a living child as a religious oblation was no Christian invention. Greeks and Romans had ancient traditions of chaste priestesses and Vestal Virgins; and in the oldest records of both pagans and Jews we find evidence of "set-asides," human offerings devoted to a divinity. In the earliest archeological records, these offerings are literal human sacrifices, such as the bog burials of Scandinavia. Jewish tradition yields such offerings in surprising numbers, starting with Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son and continuing through Joshua's command to his troops to "devote" the people of Canaan to God under

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ages; cult; godsgravesglyphs; middle; mysteries

1 posted on 12/24/2006 4:09:07 PM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 12/24/2006 4:09:35 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

It's odd that Thomas Cahill insists on writing about religion, to which he has always been completely tone deaf.


3 posted on 12/24/2006 4:31:14 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: blam
she seems to have read reforming contemporaries, such as Hugh of Saint Victor and Bernard of Clairvaux, as well as earlier Christian classics, such as the Shepherd of Hermas and Adso's On the Antichrist . . . and there are strong suggestions that she had access to Greek (and perhaps to Arabic) medical works and even to arcane rabbinical treatises.

It's tragic that Hildegaard was locked up in that monastic cell, instead of going to public school and being forced to learn about homosexuality instead.

As for Cahill, there's no hater of the Church and Catholics quite like an ex-Catholic. Most are like him—Marxists who try to explain everything that happens in terms of power and politics, at least where religious people are concerned.

What you see here, and at virtually all the big-name Catholic universities, is strutting, irreligious "scholars" who are obsessively afraid of prayer and sacrifice. They show a consuming hatred of those not as venal, comfortable, and self-interested as they are.

Hildegaard of Bingen, a sane, accomplished, and faithful Catholic, went on to become an abbess, as well as a world-renowned scholar. She corresponded with the greats of her time, and would have had no patience for a small-time intellectual onanist like Cahill.

4 posted on 12/24/2006 4:42:57 PM PST by SamuraiScot
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To: SamuraiScot
Well said. She was also an accomplished musician.
5 posted on 12/24/2006 5:17:04 PM PST by Malesherbes
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To: SamuraiScot
a small-time intellectual onanist like Cahill

I saw Cahill on BookTV (C-Span2; weekends) babbling about medieval
artwork and feminism.

Thanks for affirming my opinion of the guy and his talents.
6 posted on 12/24/2006 5:26:45 PM PST by VOA
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To: blam; SunkenCiv
I read Cahill's book about the Irish, and found it to be a bit dry.

The material was great and the title was brilliant, but the actual book itself was somehow boring to me.

I'll read it again though when time allows.

Meanwhile, this book here I actually had in my hand a couple of days ago, and ultimately I decided not to pick it up at this time.

Perhaps Sunk Civ can link to his review if he has one?
7 posted on 12/24/2006 5:27:12 PM PST by Radix (Tag Line remains uncensored)
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To: blam

Time to throw my Carmina Burana CD in the stereo and think of Hildegard and others of her ilk.

When I lived in the Mainz/Bingen area we have several favorite vinters whose families predated even Hildegard. Maybe they were Hildegard's cousins.


8 posted on 12/24/2006 5:30:07 PM PST by centurion316 (Democrats - Supporting Al Qaida Worldwide)
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To: Malesherbes

She also believed she had mystic powers, and wrote books about such mystical beliefs and feelings (much to the chagrin of her fellow Catholics). Lots of strange stuff in her background...


9 posted on 12/24/2006 6:35:39 PM PST by TheBattman (I've got TWO QUESTIONS for you....)
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To: blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...
Thanks Blam.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

10 posted on 12/24/2006 9:14:57 PM PST by SunkenCiv (I updated my profile Saturday, December 23, 2006. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Radix

I tried Cahill's "How the Irish Saved Civilization" as a book on tape, and I just couldn't take anymore after the first side. Ordinarily I like books on tape for long car trips, but that one was a clunker.


11 posted on 12/24/2006 9:17:30 PM PST by SunkenCiv (I updated my profile Saturday, December 23, 2006. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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Y'know, it wasn't the Irish book (on tape version), it was "Gifts of the Jews" that I couldn't take. It was something in the cadence of the narrator and some goofy stuff in the discussion of the Sumerians I think. It's been some years...

Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe Mysteries of the Middle Ages:
The Rise of Feminism,
Science, and Art from
the Cults of Catholic Europe

by Thomas Cahill


12 posted on 12/24/2006 9:22:32 PM PST by SunkenCiv (I updated my profile Saturday, December 23, 2006. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SamuraiScot

Hildegaard of Bingen composed some smokin' tunes too. :')


13 posted on 12/24/2006 9:23:49 PM PST by SunkenCiv (I updated my profile Saturday, December 23, 2006. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

Thomas sounds optimistic about islam...

"Islam, seven centuries younger than Christianity, nearly three millennia younger than Judaism, needs a distinguished theoretical peacemaker like John Courtney Murray and a warm-hearted, iconic peacemaker like John XXIII. If such peacemakers should emerge, they will stand -- as did Courtney Murray and Pope John in their tradition -- on the shoulders of great theologians and saints who came before them in the rich tradition of Islam. But to paraphrase the letter-writing atheist: insofar as a Christian can appreciate the providential workings of Allah in Islam, I am confident such peacemakers will arrive. My confidence is rooted neither in a baseless, smiley-faced optimism nor in a discredited historical determinism but in the belief that all the great religions hold in common, a belief that there is a force beyond human muddledness that holds up the universe, a force we usually call Providence -- the force that gives us hope for the future..."

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/cahill/essay.html


14 posted on 12/24/2006 9:38:14 PM PST by Fred Nerks (MEDIA + ENEMY = ENEMEDIA!)
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To: SamuraiScot; VOA

I briefly borrowed this book from the library, but took it back after only reading a few pages due to Cahill's anti-Bush, anti-Iraq comments.


15 posted on 12/24/2006 10:10:00 PM PST by rdl6989
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To: SunkenCiv

Check out "Born Fighting." IIRC by James Webb. It is a really interesting history of the Scotts-Irish.

It should keep you going on a long car trip.


16 posted on 12/24/2006 10:24:02 PM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: Malesherbes

She was also an artist and herbalist. I have a small books about her medical and herbal healing. I would like to read more of her works (translated into English, though) and hear some of her music.


17 posted on 12/24/2006 10:37:05 PM PST by little jeremiah (Only those who thirst for truth can know truth.)
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To: blam

For those who have an interest in this time period I recomend this. (think Early Middle Ages 101)

Early Middle Ages
http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/coursedesclong2.aspx?cid=8267&id=8267&d=Early+Middle+Ages&pc=History%20-%20Ancient%20and%20Medieval

(24 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)
Course No. 8267
Taught by Philip Daileader
The College of William and Mary
Ph.D., Harvard University

We often call them the "Dark Ages," the era which spanned the decline and fall of Rome’s western empire and lingered for centuries, a time when the Ancient World was ending and Europe had seemingly vanished into ignorance and shadow, its literacy and urban life declining, its isolation from the rest of the world increasing.

It was a time of decline, with the empire fighting to defend itself against an endless onslaught of attacks from all directions: the Vikings from the North, the Huns and other Barbarians from the East, the Muslim empire from the south.

It was a time of death and disease, with outbreaks of plague ripping through populations both urban and rural.

It was a time of fear, when religious persecution ebbed and flowed with the whims of those in power.

And as Rome's power and population diminished, so, too, did its ability to handle the administrative burdens of an overextended empire. Fewer records were kept, leaving an often-empty legacy to historians attempting to understand the age.

But modern archaeology has begun to unearth an increasing number of clues to this once-lost era. And as historians have joined them to sift through those clues—including evidence of a vast arc of Viking trade reaching from Scandinavia to Asia—new light has begun to fall across those once "dark" ages and their fascinating personalities and events.
(snip)


18 posted on 12/25/2006 7:10:19 AM PST by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: blam
This is from Thomas Cahill's latest, I see.

He is writng a series of books on what he calls the "hinges" of history.

Monasticism is one of them.

19 posted on 12/25/2006 2:53:30 PM PST by happygrl
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To: All

I read this book in October. Overall it is a good book. Mr. Cahill thinks a little outside the box and pulls things out that I did not know or think of before. Mr. Cahill can get a little preachy and as previously mentioned above, brings things in like Iraq that are not really relevant to the discussion at hand. My opinion of Mr. Cahill is that he is a little bit in love with himself. I would recommend this book to those that are not hard core history buffs. There are some gems in there and it is a short read.

I read this book in tandem with 'How the Catholic Church Built Civilization'. This is an excellent book that defends the church through various topics like the church's development of medicine or education.


20 posted on 12/26/2006 7:26:36 AM PST by fatez
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To: Grizzled Bear
As about half Scots Irish myself, the book wasn't to bad, Webb is a jerk though.

One of the funniest things that happened to me was, I was walking in to work one day and we had a new Security Guard, a Black Kid. The Kid looked at me and said to a friend, "Who is that 'Cracker looking Mother F---Ker'", I am in charge of fire and security and a Swamp Yankee, turned out to be real good kid, stuck in a mind set."

21 posted on 12/26/2006 8:58:54 AM PST by Little Bill (Welcome to the Newly Socialist State of New Hampshire.)
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