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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    While you are right, there is enough difference, they are closer than Boccacio and Chaucer for example. But anyways, I do not think Auerbach was trying to imply a movement in the sense of romanticism, modernism, etc.
    No, I meant more an inter-Gospel tendency to move from a model of cosmic drama (with some interpersonal conflict) to more conflict with people (though ultimately a cosmic drama)--and that change happening over time. We can't establish that credibly because the Canonical Gospels were produced in too tight a time period. And since there was in effect no orthodoxy at the time (much less a Canon), you wouldn't have seen coordinated changes in Gospel texts reflecting that kind of development. But differences over space is a another matter. In fact, in the absence of telecommunications (not to mention type-set printing), it would have been the rule. So John was written in an area where inter- or intra-religious conflict was rife. That doesn't mean the Gospels were changing their focus from the divine to the human over time. The period was too short and messy for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    He works more with genres, because he elaborates more than I did here, in a sense he is using what he considers universal traits, not an specific school.
    Sounds interesting, although "universal traits" are a bit like fate--they are best observed in the rear view mirror. As such, they stand apart from the historical processes that make fate (and Gospels).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    In fact, I kind like his writting skill, so I suggest reading him, but in no way I agree with all his stuff. In fact, I find him sometimes to be a bit biased towards the Gospels in perhaps, a religious bias. For example, when he do an analyse of the time used in both texts, he mentions Homer is always in present and relates this (correctly) to the oral storytelling tradition. Once a storyteller starts, it is happening now. He see the gospels as more elaborate, action happening is sequence, giving to the text a historical shape, so it was more believeable. While, ok, Gospels do look more close to a chronicle (specially, as you mention Luke), i find funny he would think Homer texts were only entertainment and the belief in the events, gods, heroes would only exist while some suspension of disbelief was present. That is a bias from him, imposing the idea one was story and another history and both cultures may not even had this notion (albeit of course, there was already plenty of discussion about it already). Of course, as you mention, it is easy to see differences between texts so far apart (time and space) and I am sure we would see those differences between Moses texts and the Gospels as well (to be fair, he does compare for the same effect with Abraham sacrifice text).
    The idea that the Gospels are historical chronicles is essentially wrong. That doesn't mean their constituent parts don't have some degree of historicity, just that the writer/redactor organized those parts (and in fact reorganized them) to make various theological points. Luke is "selling" to a Greek, God-fearer audience, so he tries to write like a Greek historian. But his Gospel's genre is still gospel, not history, and Acts is (arguably) an exercise in missionary apologetics aimed at the broader Roman world. As a history, it's not terribly reliable.

    Homeric composition was similar to gospel-writing only because the oral poet would have picked and chosen--organized and reorganized--the poetic elements of his performance to make his points--a bit like a jazz musician improvising on a theme. Homeric epic also had some historicity, but it extended centuries into the past and was preserved without a concept of critical history. But the idea that Homeric epic was only entertainment is absurd. Homeric culture was what gave Greeks the common identity that they regarded as heroic. That notion has had a fairly profound effect on European/western history. So yes, bias alert. Or more properly, failure to distinguish between literary genres (or even to understand the gospel genre).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    (albeit nice, I think 3 nights does not make up for 10 years, but hey, both were sailors).
    Ah, channeling Leonard Cohen today! I hope you are wearing your dark sunglasses.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6o6zMPLcXZ8

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Jesus is, of course, over dignified, all the time and there is plenty of momments we could get in the best tragedy (Pilates whole washing hands in John for example and the arc of John Baptist but we are dealing with aristocratic characters, so it is easier to see less popular reactions). Even when subject of tortune or humiliation (another element he claims is more from comic source, because the hero is, if hurt, damanged, etc, not exposed and Jesus is painfully exposed to us), but we do find around the characters near him who are more deep, perhaps what you feel in Dostoievisky books while compared to Dickens? Of course, this is something that already happened also with the greek text when adapted by Romans, who also are less "classical" and have more violence, etc. So, Auerbach may be digging on circunstancial facts to just ramble. Understandable, no?
    I'm not sure I follow you, but that's probably because I haven't read Auerbach. I would say that Jesus in the Gospels puts aside conventional Jewish dignity when (for example) he eats with prostitutes and tax collectors, and when he goes out among the tombs to heal the Gerasene demoniac. A human side (not undignified but not "over dignified" either) can be discerned from time to time: "May this cup pass from me."; "Who do men say that I am?"; "Father, why have you forsaken me?". I guess I see the sort of literary analysis you describe as a sort of scholarly construction--interesting as far as it goes, but not really having much to do with the composition of the Gospels. But perhaps that's just me.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I wonder if the fact Peter and cia. were closer (alive and kicking around) the time of those traditions that became the gospels started to form helped to make them that more understandable or human, closer to the audience, while Jesus was more fit to the religious model they wanted to use.
    Well, Peter (probably) died in the Neronian persecution, which would have been before the first Gospel was written (although presumably the denial story was kicking around before that). After his martyrdom, Peter's name became religiously authoritative, so the "closer to the audience" window would have been a small one. On the other hand, intra-Christian polemics had a long life (one still going strong today).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yeah, if both in the end have a bit of similar moral, which is the need of faith on Jesus and Peter kind ended with a better storyline in the end. Luckily for him, he kind became a Sancho for Jesus in the oral stories about them traveling around.
    Yes, probably because he was the missionary telling that version of the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Oh, yeah, of course, albeit Jesus was very clear once or while about the distinction (the give to cesar or my kingdom is not from here), but I guess it was kind like a sit bealt because the context made the romans be a bigger problem and the resistense against them pointless.
    I'm not sure Pilate ever heard that saying (he certainly never read it in a Gospel). But he had spies all over Galilee and would have known all about the Kingdom of God being at hand. In a way (from his perspective in any case), crucifixion was a no-brainer. A theologically driven war was rapidly approaching, and it was his job to prevent it. And Pilate had the time-honored trait of most colonial underlings of not overthinking things. So--let's crucify this troublemaker and see where that gets us.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yes, I know about them. In a way, yeah, they share a similar fate, to be labeled as children stuff, mostly because the XIX century (the whoe realism thing and great literature is something serious french authors) and because brothers grimm made all folklore stuff be something for education and thus children. But I think you consider them with 1001 nights and not the faery tales is because you may be mislead about 1001 nights. Not sure. They are not a collection of oral stories, they are part of a literary form popular in the region, derivated from a narrative device (the frame story) originated from India.
    No, I just meant the Child Ballads (sorry, I should have said cultures lack appreciation for their own popular literature). But since you mention it, don't at least some of the the tales in Arabian Nights have oral precursors (as, for example, Gilgamesh, Homer, and parts of the Old Testament did?) Or is that simply not demonstrable because the storytellers left no trace? Or maybe the traces (if there ever were any) were written out in the literary process. Oral elements in written literature are usually not hard to spot, and I don't see any in the Arabian Nights translation I read (but that was Burton so who knows?) In any case, I understand what you are saying about the work's ancient literary heritage.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 12-07-2017 at 01:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Sounds interesting, although "universal traits" are a bit like fate--they are best observed in the rear view mirror. As such, they stand apart from the historical processes that make fate (and Gospels).
    Well, people are born either aristoteleans or platonic, no? It is just the old method of finding a general trait to guide a analyses of more particular texts. He will use the deffinitions that will be useful to him, so he would compare different textual styles for this. Anyways, as a german, his analyses is full with the idea a historical process caused by some sort of "battle" between what he saw as tragic and comic to building realism in literature, the combination of those in high literature (he prompts ignores popular literaure products, as his objects are basically very cannonical texts (gospels, homer, tacitus, saint agostyne, voltaire, hugo, proust, goethe, dante, shakespeare, cervantes, rabelais) and their timeless influence. Still, the most important in those texts are not exactly the vallue of the "theories", but rather how he talks about one or another work. It was refreshing his text about Dante (not so much about Cervantes, he seem to be firm with the idea Quixote is about fantasy and escape).



    The idea that the Gospels are historical chronicles is essentially wrong. That doesn't mean their constituent parts don't have some degree of historicity, just that the writer/redactor organized those parts (and in fact reorganized them) to make various theological points. Luke is "selling" to a Greek, God-fearer audience, so he tries to write like a Greek historian. But his Gospel's genre is still gospel, not history, and Acts is (arguably) an exercise in missionary apologetics aimed at the broader Roman world. As a history, it's not terribly reliable.

    Homeric composition was similar to gospel-writing only because the oral poet would have picked and chosen--organized and reorganized--the poetic elements of his performance to make his points--a bit like a jazz musician improvising on a theme. Homeric epic also had some historicity, but it extended centuries into the past and was preserved without a concept of critical history. But the idea that Homeric epic was only entertainment is absurd. Homeric culture was what gave Greeks the common identity that they regarded as heroic. That notion has had a fairly profound effect on European/western history. So yes, bias alert. Or more properly, failure to distinguish between literary genres (or even to understand the gospel genre).
    I hope I didnt give the impression that I or Auerbach considers the gospels as Chronicle. Anyways, everyone is biased, but I agree. He basic mistake is not considering that the relation between Homer and the Gospels writers are different. Homer culture is mythic, he does not need to convice anyone there is truth. It is. Luke and cia. are not in a mythical society anymore, or at least aiming for a public that is far apart from it, with high influence of writting culture, and they kind have to prove something in the end (but of course, being truth for them and their audience). So, it was not about which is believed or not, it is about the very nature of the text.


    Ah, channeling Leonard Cohen today! I hope you are wearing your dark sunglasses.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6o6zMPLcXZ8
    Too rainny for sunglasses overhere, plus I am a sucker for this version:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wl4I7fKUQI


    I'm not sure I follow you, but that's probably because I haven't read Auerbach. I would say that Jesus in the Gospels puts aside conventional Jewish dignity when (for example) he eats with prostitutes and tax collectors, and when he goes out among the tombs to heal the Gerasene demoniac. A human side (not undignified but not "over dignified" either) can be discerned from time to time: "May this cup pass from me."; "Who do men say that I am?"; "Father, why have you forsaken me?". I guess I see the sort of literary analysis you describe as a sort of scholarly construction--interesting as far as it goes, but not really having much to do with the composition of the Gospels. But perhaps that's just me.
    There is some dignity in being human

    I understand what you mean and of course, the historical Jesus woudlnt die if some people didnt found him unworth of attention. But the Gospels have another message. Everytime someone tries to call him on about those sittuations, even his disciples, he quickly turns the table. And more, he is not just happy to be the good one, he wants all the prostitutes and tax collectors to raise up with him. He rescue and give them dignity. He does not use his superiority (not divine superiority) to step over others either. I think about the dialogue with the two criminals in the cross. One tries to reduce and mock Jesus. It is the second who places Jesus back on place, it is not Jesus that mocks the other one. But Jesus is not satisfied with that and he brings the other dude up with him. Sundenly something that could be ironic, became one more uplifting lesson.

    Quixote or Myshkin are full of this dignity also, but we know those things fall apart because of the haha comedy or Dostoievisky cynism. In the Gospels there is no such risk, even if there was a lot of potential for this. I mean, even Monty Phyton had to avoid mocking Jesus and came up with Brian. Of course, Jesus has his human momments, but overall, it is hard to imagine anyone more worth and with more authority than him around. (Authority about his topics, of course). Can you imagine Quixote or Myshkin saying "throw the first stone" and the result?

    I'm not sure Pilate ever heard that saying (he certainly never read it in a Gospel). But he had spies all over Galilee and would have known all about the Kingdom of God being at hand. In a way (from his perspective in any case), crucifixion was a no-brainer. A theologically driven war was rapidly approaching, and it was his job to prevent it. And Pilate had the time-honored trait of most colonial underlings of not overthinking things. So--let's crucify this troublemaker and see where that gets us.
    Yeah, of course, historical Jesus was a trouble. The Gospels give focus in his spiritual message, perhaps for being important and perhaps because after half century, the whole rebellion against romans was pretty much a suicide.



    No, I just meant the Child Ballads (sorry, I should have said cultures lack appreciation for their own popular literature). But since you mention it, don't at least some of the the tales in Arabian Nights have oral precursors (as, for example, Gilgamesh, Homer, and parts of the Old Testament did?) Or is that simply not demonstrable because the storytellers left no trace? Or maybe the traces (if there ever were any) were written out in the literary process. Oral elements in written literature are usually not hard to spot, and I don't see any in the Arabian Nights translation I read (but that was Burton so who knows?) In any case, I understand what you are saying about the work's ancient literary heritage.
    Yes, probally all of the texts have oral precussors. But there is a great difference from being the register of a oral creation (like Homer or Brothers Grimm work) and being a literary creation using oral stories as source. Bocaccio tales have oral precussors also and you can feel every line it is a literary creation, not just a oral tale. In the case of 1001 nights, the oral aspects are there, but probally exagerated with the intetion to fit in the frame story, but not to oralized. The literary devices are too strong, no oral storyteller would star one story, in the middle of it introduce another, then another, then another, then another, then finish the second, then the fourth, the first, the etc. The attention spam of a listerner wouldn't sustain Sheherazade strategy, which shows the texts were organized for reading and for the aesthetic effect.

    The western translations usually organize this tapestry a bit (plus, they try to fill the gap of nights - the original night registers have only 300 and a few nights) and Burton... well, he hated the previous translation made by Lane, which was very conservative and bowdelerized the Nights a lot. So, he just decided he would add a bit of his vast knowledge and exagerate it a lot. Fact is, his nights are the most depraveted and violent nights ever
    #foratemer

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    Well, I see Pope Francis has decided to weigh in (indirectly) on our discussion about Rogozhin and Myskin. He has suggested that the conventional translation of the line in the Lord's Prayer (here I will provide the English translation): "And lead us not into temptation" is "not a good translation" and should be changed to "don’t let me fall into temptation" because "It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that's his department. Apparently the Problem of Evil is to be solved with bureaucracy.

    http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/8224...ded-says-pope-

    I was interested enough to get out my Greek Bible and have a look for myself. Having considered the Pope's point, I don't think he has a leg to stand on. καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν means, woodenly, "And do not bring us to [or into when it means a point entered] temptation"--in other words, "And do not bring us up to/unto the point of temptation." This is made emphatic by the double use of εἰς as a preposition and as a prefix in εἰσενέγκῃς. And this in a prayer addressed to YHWH--and that made emphatic by the addition of ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου (holy be your name) to Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (Our Father in Heaven/the sky). Although my Greek is a little rusty, I can honestly see no suggestion of allowing one to fall into the temptation of another agent. Quite the contrary.

    So the Pope is being tricky--and theological not philological. He is participating in the time-worn theodicy of blaming evil on a phantom rather than the humans who perpetrate it or the omnipotent God who bears it in silence. I suppose that's his prerogative--it's his opinion in any case. I object to what he's doing because it limits analysis of the Problem of Evil. Another person may consider that God brings us to the point of temptation as a test or trial (a la Job, where God and Satan appear to be working in the same office); another so that we have the potential learn from our own mistakes. Whether or not one agrees with those positions, they deserve to be heard as much as Pope Francis' opinion does. But by playing fast and loose with the translation, the Pope is attempting to undercut other views with a certainty the language of the Lord's Prayer does not give him. When I was a student, we had a saying: torture the Greek until it confesses--but not until it confesses to something it didn't do. Which, of course, is exactly what the Pope is attempting. He wants something theologically, and he is willing to sacrifice the Lord's Prayer--in principle the prayer sanctioned by Jesus for his followers---to get it. This does not bode well for the future. From the article I linked:

    "The Pope has recently changed Church law to give bishops more authority over liturgical translations, and there is an ongoing debate over whether translations should stick more closely to original texts or whether the meaning of words and phrases should be conveyed rather than a literal translation."

    I'll let you guess where the Pope stands in that debate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Homer culture is mythic, he does not need to convice anyone there is truth. It is. Luke and cia. are not in a mythical society anymore, or at least aiming for a public that is far apart from it, with high influence of writting culture, and they kind have to prove something in the end (but of course, being truth for them and their audience). So, it was not about which is believed or not, it is about the very nature of the text.
    That's well put. I would go even further. The Gospel writers were missionaries (and Luke in particular was an apologist). They typically wrote in elementary Koine so they could reach the largest possible audience. Luke is an exception: his Greek was a little harder (especially in Acts), but remember he was trying to impress Greeks and Romans and was probably a God Fearer himself. It's easy to forget the original missionary intent of the Gospels because nowadays they are read out liturgically to reinforce the values of like-minded communities. Ironically (in terms of our discussion) that is exactly what the oral poets who performed Homer were doing in antiquity. But in that case it was a like-minded culture that shared values despite having separate governments and even the odd war between them. So apparently the natural use of a given text can vary significantly over time (although granted the Gospels preserve their missionary quality when used in that context).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Too rainny for sunglasses overhere, plus I am a sucker for this version:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wl4I7fKUQI
    Well, no wonder you know the Child Ballads if you like Fairport. They covered Tam Lin and a few of the other songs Child collected. Sandy Denny had such a haunting voice. Richard Thompson, too, although he didn't sing enough in the Fairport Days.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    There is some dignity in being human
    Indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I understand what you mean and of course, the historical Jesus woudlnt die if some people didnt found him unworth of attention. But the Gospels have another message. Everytime someone tries to call him on about those sittuations, even his disciples, he quickly turns the table. And more, he is not just happy to be the good one, he wants all the prostitutes and tax collectors to raise up with him. He rescue and give them dignity. He does not use his superiority (not divine superiority) to step over others either. I think about the dialogue with the two criminals in the cross. One tries to reduce and mock Jesus. It is the second who places Jesus back on place, it is not Jesus that mocks the other one. But Jesus is not satisfied with that and he brings the other dude up with him. Sundenly something that could be ironic, became one more uplifting lesson.
    Again that's well put. The idea of dignity relates to what I was trying to say about the social desperation of those to whom Jesus ministered: some morally compromised, some physically compromised, some mentally compromised, and many unfit to enter the Temple in Jerusalem. So (as the author of John would have put it), the Temple came to them. His dignity became theirs.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Quixote or Myshkin are full of this dignity also, but we know those things fall apart because of the haha comedy or Dostoievisky cynism. In the Gospels there is no such risk, even if there was a lot of potential for this. I mean, even Monty Phyton had to avoid mocking Jesus and came up with Brian. Of course, Jesus has his human momments, but overall, it is hard to imagine anyone more worth and with more authority than him around. (Authority about his topics, of course). Can you imagine Quixote or Myshkin saying "throw the first stone" and the result?
    If Myshkin had said such a thing about Nastasya, Rogozhin would have been spared the effort of killing her. But perhaps Dostoyevsky's cynicism is better seen as doubt in opposition to its duality, faith. He's not a cynic in the classical Diogenes sense (although perhaps Raskolnikov is).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yes, probally all of the texts have oral precussors. But there is a great difference from being the register of a oral creation (like Homer or Brothers Grimm work) and being a literary creation using oral stories as source. Bocaccio tales have oral precussors also and you can feel every line it is a literary creation, not just a oral tale. In the case of 1001 nights, the oral aspects are there, but probally exagerated with the intetion to fit in the frame story, but not to oralized. The literary devices are too strong, no oral storyteller would star one story, in the middle of it introduce another, then another, then another, then another, then finish the second, then the fourth, the first, the etc. The attention spam of a listerner wouldn't sustain Sheherazade strategy, which shows the texts were organized for reading and for the aesthetic effect.

    The western translations usually organize this tapestry a bit (plus, they try to fill the gap of nights - the original night registers have only 300 and a few nights) and Burton... well, he hated the previous translation made by Lane, which was very conservative and bowdelerized the Nights a lot. So, he just decided he would add a bit of his vast knowledge and exagerate it a lot. Fact is, his nights are the most depraveted and violent nights ever
    Yeah, he's awesome. Actually, if I were younger or a college student I might care more about the accuracy of the translation of the edition of the Nights I am reading. But since, when I read the tales at all, it's usually in front of a crackling fire, I don't mind Burton laying it on a bit thick. He is sometimes wonderful, sometimes despicable; but I'd rather have Burton's Orientalism than someone else's censorship. (I wonder what the Muslim world thought of Disney's Aladin, by the way).
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Well, no wonder you know the Child Ballads if you like Fairport. They covered Tam Lin and a few of the other songs Child collected. Sandy Denny had such a haunting voice. Richard Thompson, too, although he didn't sing enough in the Fairport Days.
    First time I knew about Tam Lin (and other ballads) was back when Charles Vess release Book of Ballads and Sagas, a comic book adaptation of some of the story. Vess, having worked with Neil Gaiman in Sandma and Stardust (also in some Spiderman and Thor Graphic Novels) has a beautiful artwork. Always imagined him adapting Goblin Market. Tam Lin is only in in the fourth book, but Thomas the Rhymer is in the first and it prompted me to search for "similar" stories and themes which lead to the other and also kind make esier to fall for Keats because of La Belle Dame sans merci.

    https://atomicavenue.com/title/11192...-and-Sagas-The


    Again that's well put. The idea of dignity relates to what I was trying to say about the social desperation of those to whom Jesus ministered: some morally compromised, some physically compromised, some mentally compromised, and many unfit to enter the Temple in Jerusalem. So (as the author of John would have put it), the Temple came to them. His dignity became theirs.
    Yes, see over-dignified, with dignity to share to infinitum. Of course, this kind of character, in a pure literary work, would probally never work well and even cause some repulse. It is needed the whole religious element to make him appealing (Hey, in my kingdom you not only walk, but you walk heads up, buddy). I am not familiar with Budhists texts, but I suppose that Budha dude may have something similar. The version I read from Mahabarata (a smaller prose version) has Krishna and he is a bit like this, but he too aloof , albeit his interference is what preserves Draupadi's dignity when she was undressed by the Kauravas) and while Muhammad has the dignity like any prophet, he is quite human and in a way, far from the universal way Jesus was (he may even turn the other face, but you wouldnt dare to hit it).


    If Myshkin had said such a thing about Nastasya, Rogozhin would have been spared the effort of killing her. But perhaps Dostoyevsky's cynicism is better seen as doubt in opposition to its duality, faith. He's not a cynic in the classical Diogenes sense (although perhaps Raskolnikov is).
    [quote]Yes, clearly. I think I mentioned before how people sometimes go to far on Dostoievisky, he is no philosopher after all. He is an artist, while a philosopher cynism is a form to eliminate doubts and find the truth, an artist will not shake away the doubts (Hence we keep talking about him here after all). Plus, I think Diogenes seems to be a much nicer guy, Dostoievisky had his demons and sometimes he is a very nasty in his texts. I think he quite enjoyed the bitting part a bit more than the smiling or at least his teeth were better for this.

    Yeah, he's awesome. Actually, if I were younger or a college student I might care more about the accuracy of the translation of the edition of the Nights I am reading. But since, when I read the tales at all, it's usually in front of a crackling fire, I don't mind Burton laying it on a bit thick. He is sometimes wonderful, sometimes despicable; but I'd rather have Burton's Orientalism than someone else's censorship. (I wonder what the Muslim world thought of Disney's Aladin, by the way).

    They most likely know the Disney version better (so, sometimes mumble about the sterytiped version of arabs in there). The thing is Aladin is not an original 1001 nights text and will only be present in translations from Galand version (or those based on it, which are the more popular outside english world) and may not even been an arab text at all. Like I said, the Nights translation story is worth of Scheherazade. Of course, all translations are re-creations on a level or another and we have many other wonderful stories, but in a way 1001 nights translation story also have a history about endless nights. The first translators all, never finished it. So, it was always left with less than 1001 nights. Not a big deal, the oldest scrolls (about 10-12 century) all had only 300 or so nights, ending in the same story begining. So, the european translators attempted to fill the gaps adding stories. Some just split the longest nights, but some added stories. Galand had scrolls with other tales and added Simbad, Ali Baba and Aladin, for example (yeah, kind like the most famous characters apart from Scheherazade were not in the tale in the begining) but the point is, when they sought for those scrolls later, there is no original scroll with Aladin. Galand claimed an merchant from Alepo visited him and gave him this story. However, there is in his diary some notes about his intention to try to create a story modeled after the night. Aladin basic themes can be found in a handful of other tales of 1001 nights (but that is not unusual). Plus, no signal of a previous version of Aladin was ever found and this story starts to appear in arab version recently, clealry as a reaction from arabs that heard the desire of europeans to find this story, so they started to add it (and oralize it also). Simbad for example, is well know elsewhere and in middle age, arab writers also tried to complete the nights and added his stories in the 1001 nights (those scrolls were found latter in XIX century, so they had no influence on the first translators). Which means, 1001 translation helped to create some short of shapeless book, which of course, fits a lot with its "magic".

    And if you think, Aladin is not even a very sexualize/violent tale. Galand was not a big moralist (his interference was more notable in the idea that the text was not arabic enough, so he added details for the european audience to reckon it, adding expressions, descriptions that the scrool being too arabian for his own good, felt no need to use), but was no Sade either.
    #foratemer

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    First time I knew about Tam Lin (and other ballads) was back when Charles Vess release Book of Ballads and Sagas, a comic book adaptation of some of the story. Vess, having worked with Neil Gaiman in Sandma and Stardust (also in some Spiderman and Thor Graphic Novels) has a beautiful artwork. Always imagined him adapting Goblin Market. Tam Lin is only in in the fourth book, but Thomas the Rhymer is in the first and it prompted me to search for "similar" stories and themes which lead to the other and also kind make esier to fall for Keats because of La Belle Dame sans merci.
    Tam Lin was one of Child's great discoveries. He collected many versions, some with notable plot differences. Thomas Rhymer is also from Child, but the only version he found obnoxiously breaks off just as Thomas heads off with the Queen of Elphane. But I believe there is a written Medieval romance about his adventures with her, which predates the Child version by centuries. So this was an oral story that was written down and then reemerged as a folk ballad centuries later. Did Child's version originate from the written text, I wonder, or the original oral version operating in parallel (if that makes sense).

    The book description you linked also mentions False Knight on the Road, which is from Child. In one version the False Knight is ghost or demon who tries to harm a child by getting him to wish for the wrong things (but the kid's too clever for him). There's another version that is more allegorical: the false knight seems more like the devil trying to mislead a departed soul. I don't find it a particularly interesting ballad.

    The link also mentions Twa Corbies, which Child collected but should have left alone since it turns out to have had no oral history at all. It was apparently written by a 19th century (Child's time) as a satire of a much older and rather dorky) ballad called The Three Ravens. The Three Ravens is about a pregnant lady burying the body of her fallen knight (and shortly after dying of grief herself, as I recall). The Twa Corbies is a magnificent satire, though. It preserves the musings of two crows about the dead, unburied knight they are preparing to eat--noting especially that his lady fair is off with another man at this point (there's even a vague hint that she may have done him in). Apparently Child didn't get the joke.

    As you point out, the interweaving of popular tales between written and oral traditions can be complex. I was the recipient of such a tale a boy in--well, long ago, let's put it that way. Tolstoy once wrote a short story based on an old sea tale about a visitor to a remote island on which a colony of primitive Christians had long lived in isolation. On arriving, he was shocked to find that the tiny remnant surviving had preserved no liturgical prayer. So before rejoining his ship, he patiently taught them the Lord's Prayer--Our Father who art in Heaven, and so on. After his departing ship had been at sea a bit, the crew noticed a mysterious light following them over the water. As the light reached their ship, they could see it was emanating from residents of the island, who were walking on the water. They had come for help because they had forgotten the words to the prayer. Great story.

    What is interesting to me is that I heard a similar story as a boy in rural Iowa. I should explain that, while I was raised a liberal Protestant in ultra-liberal Massachusetts, my brothers I spent our boyhood summers with our grandparents in Iowa, then the heart of the American Bible Belt. The adults were all more conservative Christians than my parents, and their children, for some reason, were real firebrands. In the evenings, the neighborhood kids would gather on someone's front porch to tell ghost stories--all avowedly true. There were subcategories of these, mostly psycho-killer stories, but the Iowa kids also told scary, "true" religious stories. We knew several versions of the famous Vanishing Hitchhiker tale--but in one the hitchhiker turned into the resurrected Jesus before disappearing (I think because the driver had been cussing). In another story, there was a kid who was always saying, "Oh, Jesus Christ!" until one day the resurrected Jesus turned up and asked him what he wanted. Okay, in retrospect, that one's pretty funny, but it was scary enough in the Iowa nights of my boyhood. And when we promised each other the stories were true we meant it. They were true in that we hadn't made them up--we weren't lying. Each story had been received by the teller from an existing source and was simply being passed along.

    It was in the context of this authentic oral literature that I first heard the scary-but-true religious story that Tolstoy had taken from Baltic sailor lore. I was later amazed when I read the story (I forget the title, but you probably know the one I mean). What had happened? Those kids (trust me) had never heard of Tolstoy, and I doubt many of their parents had read him. Yet the story was "out there." Probably it had been disseminated somehow from a local college, but there were plenty of local dads who had been far and wide in the navy (many more than had ever set foot in college). Could I have been listening to an oral tradition independent of Tolstoy's story? I doubt it, but it is an intriguing idea. (For the record, there is a Child Ballad somewhat similar to the Oh-Jesus-Christ story, too).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yes, see over-dignified, with dignity to share to infinitum.
    We may have had a translation problem. By over-dignified you seem to mean overflowing with dignity. But in English, over dignified has a pejorative sense. It means stuffy or pompous or full of one's self. The Jesus of the Gospels is nothing like that, though he is (as you imply) overflowing with dignity enough to share.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Of course, this kind of character, in a pure literary work, would probally never work well and even cause some repulse. It is needed the whole religious element to make him appealing (Hey, in my kingdom you not only walk, but you walk heads up, buddy). I am not familiar with Budhists texts, but I suppose that Budha dude may have something similar. The version I read from Mahabarata (a smaller prose version) has Krishna and he is a bit like this, but he too aloof , albeit his interference is what preserves Draupadi's dignity when she was undressed by the Kauravas) and while Muhammad has the dignity like any prophet, he is quite human and in a way, far from the universal way Jesus was (he may even turn the other face, but you wouldnt dare to hit it).
    Yes, Mohammad is completely human. He advanced no claim to divine kinship and it is important to Islam that he did not (the unitary nature of God being the religion's sine qua non). Dignity is extremely important to Muslims (that has been my experience in any case), but the font of all dignity is Allah. It is hard to say much about the historical Buddha since the first sutras were written many centuries after his lifetime. In those, of course, he is a supremely authoritative figure, but he is also a humble one. As for worldly dignity, well, all things must pass.

    Given the Gospel Jesus' overflowing-with-dignity status, it is remarkable that the apostle Paul emphasized his own foolishness (in worldly terms). That is the scriptural background to the "holy fools" found in Russian Orthodoxy. Myshkin is often associated with this phenomenon, which may account for your perception of his lack of authority. Paul's famous admonition is to be in the world but not of the world. Perhaps The Idiot is ultimately an expression of doubt about the tenability of that proposition.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Some just split the longest nights, but some added stories. Galand had scrolls with other tales and added Simbad, Ali Baba and Aladin, for example (yeah, kind like the most famous characters apart from Scheherazade were not in the tale in the begining)
    I am reminded again of the interweaving of oral and written literature. The story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was an eastern folktale long before Galland introduced it to the Arabian Nights. When my wife was a little girl, she learned a Chinese folksong (or at least a children's song) about Ali Baba, which she sings around the house sometimes. Has this text passed through Galland's Europeanized retelling of the old Arabian legend? Or is it part of the original oral tradition? More and more I suspect that very little survives of pure oral literature. Perhaps my Iowan comrades and I were the last Homeric bards.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Tam Lin was one of Child's great discoveries. He collected many versions, some with notable plot differences. Thomas Rhymer is also from Child, but the only version he found obnoxiously breaks off just as Thomas heads off with the Queen of Elphane. But I believe there is a written Medieval romance about his adventures with her, which predates the Child version by centuries. So this was an oral story that was written down and then reemerged as a folk ballad centuries later. Did Child's version originate from the written text, I wonder, or the original oral version operating in parallel (if that makes sense).

    The book description you linked also mentions False Knight on the Road, which is from Child. In one version the False Knight is ghost or demon who tries to harm a child by getting him to wish for the wrong things (but the kid's too clever for him). There's another version that is more allegorical: the false knight seems more like the devil trying to mislead a departed soul. I don't find it a particularly interesting ballad.

    The link also mentions Twa Corbies, which Child collected but should have left alone since it turns out to have had no oral history at all. It was apparently written by a 19th century (Child's time) as a satire of a much older and rather dorky) ballad called The Three Ravens. The Three Ravens is about a pregnant lady burying the body of her fallen knight (and shortly after dying of grief herself, as I recall). The Twa Corbies is a magnificent satire, though. It preserves the musings of two crows about the dead, unburied knight they are preparing to eat--noting especially that his lady fair is off with another man at this point (there's even a vague hint that she may have done him in). Apparently Child didn't get the joke.
    Yeah, Child is the main source of those stories. There is some that are original work. While I have no doubt the artist picked his favorites, I also think he choose based on the works best suited to be adapted to the comic book format. The text of Thomas he included was complete, however.

    As you point out, the interweaving of popular tales between written and oral traditions can be complex. I was the recipient of such a tale a boy in--well, long ago, let's put it that way. Tolstoy once wrote a short story based on an old sea tale about a visitor to a remote island on which a colony of primitive Christians had long lived in isolation. On arriving, he was shocked to find that the tiny remnant surviving had preserved no liturgical prayer. So before rejoining his ship, he patiently taught them the Lord's Prayer--Our Father who art in Heaven, and so on. After his departing ship had been at sea a bit, the crew noticed a mysterious light following them over the water. As the light reached their ship, they could see it was emanating from residents of the island, who were walking on the water. They had come for help because they had forgotten the words to the prayer. Great story.

    What is interesting to me is that I heard a similar story as a boy in rural Iowa. I should explain that, while I was raised a liberal Protestant in ultra-liberal Massachusetts, my brothers I spent our boyhood summers with our grandparents in Iowa, then the heart of the American Bible Belt. The adults were all more conservative Christians than my parents, and their children, for some reason, were real firebrands. In the evenings, the neighborhood kids would gather on someone's front porch to tell ghost stories--all avowedly true. There were subcategories of these, mostly psycho-killer stories, but the Iowa kids also told scary, "true" religious stories. We knew several versions of the famous Vanishing Hitchhiker tale--but in one the hitchhiker turned into the resurrected Jesus before disappearing (I think because the driver had been cussing). In another story, there was a kid who was always saying, "Oh, Jesus Christ!" until one day the resurrected Jesus turned up and asked him what he wanted. Okay, in retrospect, that one's pretty funny, but it was scary enough in the Iowa nights of my boyhood. And when we promised each other the stories were true we meant it. They were true in that we hadn't made them up--we weren't lying. Each story had been received by the teller from an existing source and was simply being passed along.

    It was in the context of this authentic oral literature that I first heard the scary-but-true religious story that Tolstoy had taken from Baltic sailor lore. I was later amazed when I read the story (I forget the title, but you probably know the one I mean). What had happened? Those kids (trust me) had never heard of Tolstoy, and I doubt many of their parents had read him. Yet the story was "out there." Probably it had been disseminated somehow from a local college, but there were plenty of local dads who had been far and wide in the navy (many more than had ever set foot in college). Could I have been listening to an oral tradition independent of Tolstoy's story? I doubt it, but it is an intriguing idea. (For the record, there is a Child Ballad somewhat similar to the Oh-Jesus-Christ story, too).
    Yeah, I know which tale. Latter life Tolstoy is almost an dostoievisky character, in the way he attempts to deny his former self (albeit, Chekhov registers that sometimes the Count would have burst of his old self) and he tried to write something totally different from Anna Karenina or War and Peace, turning his head to short stories, most based on folk tales (not something unusual in russian literature at all). Which is good, because had he tried his hand to write modern short stories, he would end under Chekhov shadow.

    Anyways, back when i was in a curse at the university, the teach came with records she made in the 80's with an old, iliterate elder from a small city near here. He was a local storyteller and she showed him telling a short story which I reckognized as one of the stories in Chaucer's Tales. There were minor changes of course. (The one about brothers who find gold but the devil is there and the brothers end killing each other to keep all wealth for themselves, there was a change from 2 to 3 brothers and the old man was also concerned with the father of the brothers, but the story was the same). Now, go figure.



    Yes, Mohammad is completely human. He advanced no claim to divine kinship and it is important to Islam that he did not (the unitary nature of God being the religion's sine qua non). Dignity is extremely important to Muslims (that has been my experience in any case), but the font of all dignity is Allah. It is hard to say much about the historical Buddha since the first sutras were written many centuries after his lifetime. In those, of course, he is a supremely authoritative figure, but he is also a humble one. As for worldly dignity, well, all things must pass.

    Given the Gospel Jesus' overflowing-with-dignity status, it is remarkable that the apostle Paul emphasized his own foolishness (in worldly terms). That is the scriptural background to the "holy fools" found in Russian Orthodoxy. Myshkin is often associated with this phenomenon, which may account for your perception of his lack of authority. Paul's famous admonition is to be in the world but not of the world. Perhaps The Idiot is ultimately an expression of doubt about the tenability of that proposition.
    But I find this natural, even when they let slip in Peter 3 denials. After all, in a way, those "embarassing" momments were no less embarassing than hanging out with prostitutes and Jesus pretty lifted them up. I think, the way Jesus was allowed this kind of foolish to be accepted, that thing, "to the kingdom, heads up, no matter what". Literary wise, this more likely allowed this kind of character, both wise and fool to be understood. Think about the previous "challenging" character such as Prometheus or Cassandra (of course, Job's Satan is a bit like that too, albeit he is getting closer to the foolish side), they have all that heroic/tragic attitude. (I am not saying Paul is anywhere near this, but Peter would became in folk stories something close to this, Myshkin and Quixote in a way have that on them too).



    I am reminded again of the interweaving of oral and written literature. The story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was an eastern folktale long before Galland introduced it to the Arabian Nights. When my wife was a little girl, she learned a Chinese folksong (or at least a children's song) about Ali Baba, which she sings around the house sometimes. Has this text passed through Galland's Europeanized retelling of the old Arabian legend? Or is it part of the original oral tradition? More and more I suspect that very little survives of pure oral literature. Perhaps my Iowan comrades and I were the last Homeric bards.
    Well, Ali Baba is as problematic as Aladin. There is no original arabic source until Galand (and his misterious traveler from Aleppo). The difference is that the tale seems more original, do not try hard to not be arab (Aladin as we recall is a chinese dude) and there was a false scroll with the story. Burton seemed inclined to believe in Ali Baba's legitimacy, but not in Aladin, for example. But I can only suppose Alibaba is popular in china.

    As Homeric bards, there is a famous study in the mid's XX century that located bards close as possible to the homeric tradition in the balkans. Not sure what is up with them now, but you may not be alone as you imagine.
    #foratemer

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    The text of Thomas he included was complete, however.
    That's interesting. I just looked into it, and apparently Child collected three versions, none very complete. But Scott seems to have published a "more than complete" ballad (a la Burton's Arabian Nights). Perhaps he extrapolated from the Medieval Romance, I don't know; but there does seem to have been a pre-Child version of the ballad available, too. Scott probably knew more than Child but less than he pretended. But I really don't know the details.

    I am somewhat aware of the story after the Child Ballad breaks off, although I'm not sure how (perhaps from Robert Graves' The White Goddess, which I remember discusses it). My memory is that the Fairy Queen kept Thomas as her pet human/sex toy until the time came to pay the seven-year human-sacrifice tax to hell (the same one Tam Lin was trying to avoid). Perhaps because the queen had fallen in love with Thomas, she allowed him to return to earth. Before leaving, he asked her for a favor or keepsake of their time together. Just to be a witch about it, she gave him a tongue that could never lie--a mixed blessing since it meant he could never be a successful courtier or even woo a lady (heh heh). She returned him to the spot where she had picked him up, and the seven years they had spent together turned out to have been only seven days. Is that more or less the version in the comic book?

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yeah, I know which tale. Latter life Tolstoy is almost an dostoievisky character, in the way he attempts to deny his former self (albeit, Chekhov registers that sometimes the Count would have burst of his old self) and he tried to write something totally different from Anna Karenina or War and Peace, turning his head to short stories, most based on folk tales (not something unusual in russian literature at all). Which is good, because had he tried his hand to write modern short stories, he would end under Chekhov shadow.
    You probably know that Tolstoy's pacifism and religious radicalism were influences on Gandhi. I have heard it said by those critical of Gandhi that both conceived of benign villiage societies that never really existed (I'm not necessarily agreeing, I'm just mentioning the observation). I've never read The Kingdom of God is Within You, but maybe I should give it a try. I'd make a pretty good Dostoyevsky character, wouldn't you agree?

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Anyways, back when i was in a curse at the university, the teach came with records she made in the 80's with an old, iliterate elder from a small city near here. He was a local storyteller and she showed him telling a short story which I reckognized as one of the stories in Chaucer's Tales. There were minor changes of course. (The one about brothers who find gold but the devil is there and the brothers end killing each other to keep all wealth for themselves, there was a change from 2 to 3 brothers and the old man was also concerned with the father of the brothers, but the story was the same). Now, go figure.
    Amazing. Like the Tolstoy story it must have come originally from a university (or at least from someone who had read the book). Stories, apparently, are out there. What I find funny about the Tolstoy story is that I don't think we appreciated its meaning at all. We probably just thought the people on the water were ghosts--that it had been a haunted island all along. I don't know, it was just kind of a spooky story. Poor Tolstoy!

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    But I find this natural, even when they let slip in Peter 3 denials. After all, in a way, those "embarassing" momments were no less embarassing than hanging out with prostitutes and Jesus pretty lifted them up. I think, the way Jesus was allowed this kind of foolish to be accepted, that thing, "to the kingdom, heads up, no matter what". Literary wise, this more likely allowed this kind of character, both wise and fool to be understood. Think about the previous "challenging" character such as Prometheus or Cassandra (of course, Job's Satan is a bit like that too, albeit he is getting closer to the foolish side), they have all that heroic/tragic attitude. (I am not saying Paul is anywhere near this, but Peter would became in folk stories something close to this, Myshkin and Quixote in a way have that on them too).
    I agree with you where the Gospels are concerned. The exultation of human imperfection seems part of the first-last inversion, God's love for the lost shee, etc. These things may or may not have been on Paul's mind when he called himself a fool. Historically, he was trying to explain to the Corinthians why their would be apostle seemed like such a loser--having been pushed out by Peter and James (cf. Luke's gloss on this in Acts), and later tortured, flogged, and otherwise treated like no Roman citizen could have been by eastern provincials (cf. Luke's pretensions to the contrary in Acts). Paul's point in his letter is that he is strong in his weakness because worldly power is illusory, but suffering for Christ is real strength. That, I suspect is what Dostoyevsky was doubting in The Idiot. Myshkin lacks the power to save even himself, let alone Nastasya, and Rogozhin. Dostoyevsky can't reconcile mundane reality/worldly power to Pauline theology (and perhaps even the Gospels). Alyosha Karamazov is no more able to save Ivan and Dmitri, but he at least can go forward courageously in faith. Myshkin, though, is a dead loss. I think this is one of the reasons the Idiot is such a shocking a novel to the Christian who understands it (sorry Gladys ).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    As Homeric bards, there is a famous study in the mid's XX century that located bards close as possible to the homeric tradition in the balkans. Not sure what is up with them now, but you may not be alone as you imagine.
    You are talking about Albert Lord, I think. I remember reading The Singer of Tales as an undergraduate (which admittedly was not that long after Homer's time). There was also a folklorist (I forget her name) who found "Hillbilly" versions of the Child ballads being performed in the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. That's not too surprising considering Scottish migration patterns, but it's still an interesting example of oral literature moving from Old World to New. Maybe one of the Scotsmen had read Chaucer!
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 12-11-2017 at 03:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    What made Alyosha interesting and human was that by the end of the story he didn't know what to do. Understanding what people are, he didn't know how to go forward. But he did--as if going forward in faith alone was an act of courage. That is an experience I am not unfamiliar with (let's just leave it at that). Even Prince Myshkin, who seems like MisterRogers on steroids (sorry Gladys) could not be reconciled to the flawed world--and this could be interpreted as his one great flaw. Being flawed makes him human--and suddenly believable.
    I agree with Alyosha but Myshkin, I think, was thoroughly reconciled to the flawed world. But reconciled - and standing terribly alone - he freely chose to shoulder a world of pain (Rogohzin's, Nastasya's, Aglaya's): a burden beyond human bearing. He has no regrets!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    I'm not sure what to say about Myshkin. I suppose he could be seen as a tragic hero with (SPOILER) his reversion to idiocy a kind of living death. In other words, the novel could be taken as a comment on the Gospel narrative; that rather than a moment of triumph, the departure of Christ indicated humankind's inevitable alienation from God. Or perhaps Myshkin's relapse was a return to perfect innocence. Perhaps that is what humanity is alienated from. I'm not sure.
    A tragic hero for sure and yet a moment of triumph when Myshkin's heroic efforts ultimately fall short of efficacy. To strive - to hope against hope - is everything. He didn't fail inasmuch as he did all he could: he did all he should! He was crucified for the sake of his friends. Sound familiar?

    The departure of Christ? But surely, as Evgenie Pavlovitch has come to learn on the final page, Christ is still with us in the form of our idiot confined to a kind of living death in Switzerland. Myshkin's relapse was less a return to perfect innocence than a seamless continuation of it. What an ending.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    That's interesting. I just looked into it, and apparently Child collected three versions, none very complete. But Scott seems to have published a "more than complete" ballad (a la Burton's Arabian Nights). Perhaps he extrapolated from the Medieval Romance, I don't know; but there does seem to have been a pre-Child version of the ballad available, too. Scott probably knew more than Child but less than he pretended. But I really don't know the details.

    I am somewhat aware of the story after the Child Ballad breaks off, although I'm not sure how (perhaps from Robert Graves' The White Goddess, which I remember discusses it). My memory is that the Fairy Queen kept Thomas as her pet human/sex toy until the time came to pay the seven-year human-sacrifice tax to hell (the same one Tam Lin was trying to avoid). Perhaps because the queen had fallen in love with Thomas, she allowed him to return to earth. Before leaving, he asked her for a favor or keepsake of their time together. Just to be a witch about it, she gave him a tongue that could never lie--a mixed blessing since it meant he could never be a successful courtier or even woo a lady (heh heh). She returned him to the spot where she had picked him up, and the seven years they had spent together turned out to have been only seven days. Is that more or less the version in the comic book?
    Yes, no suggestion os slavery (other than he not being allowed to talk all the time he was there) and in the comic adaptation (not the text) She returns, a bit like, instead of dying, he is enchanted back and his Tongue is a bless, because not telling a lie, meant always saying the truth, so it was a form of wisdow. Perhaps pratical wisdow "Today will rain" sort of stuff.



    You probably know that Tolstoy's pacifism and religious radicalism were influences on Gandhi. I have heard it said by those critical of Gandhi that both conceived of benign villiage societies that never really existed (I'm not necessarily agreeing, I'm just mentioning the observation). I've never read The Kingdom of God is Within You, but maybe I should give it a try. I'd make a pretty good Dostoyevsky character, wouldn't you agree?
    Dostoievisky characters are too fantastic in their ambiguity, I think. Real life us have doubts, sure, but we are not so perfect oposites within. I dunno if you would want it, it is a bit schizophrenic. Anyways, Tolstoy did had for awhile so sort of society (with intellectuals and young writers) living under his care, but ultimatelly, it is impossible to use his resources as a count to abandon the life as a count. Neither his fame (all those young writers are admirers, in the end, it was probally very hard to not be). In end, it was probally not so different from Bloomsburry group meetings.



    Amazing. Like the Tolstoy story it must have come originally from a university (or at least from someone who had read the book). Stories, apparently, are out there. What I find funny about the Tolstoy story is that I don't think we appreciated its meaning at all. We probably just thought the people on the water were ghosts--that it had been a haunted island all along. I don't know, it was just kind of a spooky story. Poor Tolstoy!
    Holy Ghosts? Anyways, oral tradition and not written tradition is about memory, those things travel. Look Cinderella story, from Egypt (Greece historian Strabbo), went to china, came back to italy and became what is now. I recall a funny one, Brothers Grimm had a long argument about the inclusion of not of Red Riding Hood in their collection because they found indication that every version they found was the result of Perrault's story popularity and it became an oral story. They apparently found enough evidence of a real german roots (dont ask me which one) for the tale. What would they say if they heard there is such study in modern times:

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/art...l.pone.0078871



    I agree with you where the Gospels are concerned. The exultation of human imperfection seems part of the first-last inversion, God's love for the lost shee, etc. These things may or may not have been on Paul's mind when he called himself a fool. Historically, he was trying to explain to the Corinthians why their would be apostle seemed like such a loser--having been pushed out by Peter and James (cf. Luke's gloss on this in Acts), and later tortured, flogged, and otherwise treated like no Roman citizen could have been by eastern provincials (cf. Luke's pretensions to the contrary in Acts). Paul's point in his letter is that he is strong in his weakness because worldly power is illusory, but suffering for Christ is real strength. That, I suspect is what Dostoyevsky was doubting in The Idiot. Myshkin lacks the power to save even himself, let alone Nastasya, and Rogozhin. Dostoyevsky can't reconcile mundane reality/worldly power to Pauline theology (and perhaps even the Gospels). Alyosha Karamazov is no more able to save Ivan and Dmitri, but he at least can go forward courageously in faith. Myshkin, though, is a dead loss. I think this is one of the reasons the Idiot is such a shocking a novel to the Christian who understands it (sorry Gladys ).
    I think (and It appears Gladys also think in a similar way), Myshkin is not lost or unable to save himself. Perhaps her and I differ that I think he is neither a sucess, because I think the whole point in Dostoievisky is to not give us a definite judgment (as Dickens would do). I do not think Dostoievisky could give himself the power of a moralist (he would be too hypocrite), but as an artist, he is giving himself the power to provoke and (also in a realsitic fashion) to represent reality. In this, I again think he is first a writer, latter a theologian (or never one). So, you are right, he would be unable to reconciliate mundane reality (or representation) to Pauline theology (albeit, he would probally explore Paul's complicated view masterfully over others, but I feel he is not so in love with Paul as he was with Jesus), but he didnt try either. I dont know if you agree, Paul is kind like someone who solved his existential crisis in the Acts. It would be a bit of saying Jesus failed and not us, if we consider Dostoeivisky wanted to say Myshkin failed. In this, I think lies what is perhaps Dostoevisky greatest skill: in all his passion for duality, how clear it is demilited, in the end, he makes the chance of any conclusion to be something murky. When you have to analyse the whole world, there is a shadow troubling all. He makes this possible.





    You are talking about Albert Lord, I think. I remember reading The Singer of Tales as an undergraduate (which admittedly was not that long after Homer's time). There was also a folklorist (I forget her name) who found "Hillbilly" versions of the Child ballads being performed in the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. That's not too surprising considering Scottish migration patterns, but it's still an interesting example of oral literature moving from Old World to New. Maybe one of the Scotsmen had read Chaucer!
    Yeap, it is Lord's work indeed. I do not get very surprised when I see a story/poem that is part of oral tradition (strongly) like Child's Ballad or Grimm's tale performed everywhere. Either, because of the tradition (as you mention, the scotish migration) or because the printed work popularity allow them to do. It is the natural way, I think. I mean, there is an urban legend here about a ghost women in a car accident (which is also commun, she calls for help and when the helper get in her car, there is her body and her baby alive to be rescued) which I found once in XVIII century danish story with a wagon and wolves as the impending danger. If that, which was never given the benefict of a literary charm like the Perrault's Wolf and Little Red dialogue in the bed can travel, what would stop anything else? (But it is good not notice, there is no notable british migration patter here in Brazil and Chaucer is not even popular enough, so I really imagine it is something that traveled by Portugal/Slave trade/Brazil path to get here)
    #foratemer

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys View Post
    I agree with Alyosha but Myshkin, I think, was thoroughly reconciled to the flawed world. But reconciled - and standing terribly alone - he freely chose to shoulder a world of pain (Rogohzin's, Nastasya's, Aglaya's): a burden beyond human bearing. He has no regrets!
    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys View Post
    Myshkin's relapse was less a return to perfect innocence than a seamless continuation of it. What an ending.
    What an ending, indeed. It shocked and moved me as, I think, no other 19th century novel's has done. But what I find ambiguous is the fate of Nastasya (and, presumably, sinful humankind) and Myshkin's own apparent incapacity to save her. I can see your position only Nastasya's murder and Myshkin's relapse mean that the world itself has failed to appreciate what it had in him: "The time will come when the Bridegroom will be taken from you." I understand your point about Myshkin's continuing innocence; my question was whether his relapse was Dostoyevsky's metaphor for the end of the Bridegroom's time in a world that "received him not" and his return to the Holy Innocence of God; or if it expressed the writer's doubt about whether a Myshkin ever could be received (and efficacious) in the sinful world (or possibly both of those ideas at once). Although I remain unsure of Dostoyevsky's intent in The Idiot, when I note his anguish in The Brother's Karamazov God's granting free choice to humankind knowing most will use it to do evil (harming even those who chose to do good), I suspect he had some doubts. One reason I prefer The Brothers Karamazov to The Idiot is that the problem of legitimate doubt is better resolved in Alyosha's existential choice to go forward in faith than in Myshkin's ambiguous relapse. But even the ambiguity is immensely powerful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys View Post
    A tragic hero for sure and yet a moment of triumph when Myshkin's heroic efforts ultimately fall short of efficacy. To strive - to hope against hope - is everything. He didn't fail inasmuch as he did all he could: he did all he should! He was crucified for the sake of his friends. Sound familiar?
    Yes, it does sound familiar. But a tragic hero has a fatal flaw. Jesus' nature was not the reason he was put to death (as you know, human sin was). So my question remains: did the world fail Myshkin (in which case he was not, technically speaking, a tragic hero) or did Myshkin inevitably fail to reconcile himself to the sinful world? I am not asking myself how I would have ended The Idiot, but how Dostoyevsky did, what he meant by it, and what I can learn from it it as a human and a Christian.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys View Post
    The departure of Christ? But surely, as Evgenie Pavlovitch has come to learn on the final page, Christ is still with us in the form of our idiot confined to a kind of living death in Switzerland.
    Okay, so this is my bad for not expressing myself more clearly. By "The departure of Christ" I meant the Ascension. Incarceration in a Swiss sanitarium does not sound like sitting at the right hand of God, but perhaps Dostoyevsky intended it in that way. My question was whether he saw Christ's return to God as an inevitable alienation from humankind. As a matter of personal faith I do not believe this to be the case. I believe Christ continues to love the world that crucified him. Again, I was seeking what I could learn from Dostoyevsky--whether from his faith or his doubt.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 12-13-2017 at 12:51 PM.
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  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yes, no suggestion os slavery (other than he not being allowed to talk all the time he was there) and in the comic adaptation (not the text) She returns, a bit like, instead of dying, he is enchanted back and his Tongue is a bless, because not telling a lie, meant always saying the truth, so it was a form of wisdow. Perhaps pratical wisdow "Today will rain" sort of stuff.
    Well, Thomas of Erceldoune was a 13th century laird who had a reputation for being able to predict future events. So his being given a tongue that can't tell a lie is surely an etiological element. I seem to remember the bit about Thomas' holding his tongue in the fairy country, too, although I'm not sure from where. I checked Graves; he references Scott and the extra-Child version of the ballad, but he doesn't go into detail about them (he mentions that the queen forbade Thomas to eat from an apple tree on pain of death, but not much else). Graves also makes the extremely dubious assertion that the ballad recounts the historical Thomas of Erceldoune's initiation into an ancient witch cult. I remembered that he thought elements of a black mass could be discerned, but I couldn't find those references. In any case, The White Goddess is an eccentric work and can't be taken too seriously.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Dostoievisky characters are too fantastic in their ambiguity, I think. Real life us have doubts, sure, but we are not so perfect oposites within. I dunno if you would want it, it is a bit schizophrenic.
    Well, he does good crazy people, that's for sure. I started rereading The Possessed this week (since it's a second reading, I'm calling it The Repossessed ). I haven't read it since the 1980s, but I'm remembering now how good the characterizations were. It's the combination of over-the-top political craziness and I-know-this-person realism that does it. I'm also impressed by the erudition (and hilarity) of his satire in the chapters where he describes the liberal generation that produced nihilist children they could neither understand or control. Where is this nasty cynic you keep telling me about? He sounds wise and worldly to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Holy Ghosts?
    Heh heh. Yes, Holy Ghost stories, that's pretty good.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I think (and It appears Gladys also think in a similar way), Myshkin is not lost or unable to save himself. Perhaps her and I differ that I think he is neither a sucess, because I think the whole point in Dostoievisky is to not give us a definite judgment (as Dickens would do).
    I wrote a response to Gladys, which you can read if you like. I'm not sure I understand Dostoyevsky's intent, but my suspicion is that he was asking the question rather than giving an answer. This can be taken as a kind of doubt or faith, but in fact it's a little of both. Dostoyevsky provided a kind of answer later (good enough for me) in Alyosha's existential choice at the end of The Brothers Karamazov. That was supposed to be the first of a trilogy of novels, but Dostoyevsky's death put an end to the project. It's interesting to speculate on where he might have gone with it, but at the same time Alyosha's choice seems like a good place to say goodbye to him.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I dont know if you agree, Paul is kind like someone who solved his existential crisis in the Acts.
    As far as Paul goes, I fear we are on the brink of another clash of perspectives: historical-critical vs. literary-analytical. Paul is certainly a character in Acts, but unlike Jesus in the Gospels, Paul left behind a small corpus of writings that must be considered more authoritative (historically) than Luke's apologetics. Some have suggested that the Paul of Acts has been tamed to an orthodoxy that the historical Paul never possessed. Minimally there are certain contradictions or omissions between Acts and Paul's letters in which the letters must be preferred. It's doubtful, for example, that Paul came from Tarsus or was any other kind of Roman citizen; and his relations with the Peter and James seem to have been less amicable than Luke lets on. There are other historical problems with Acts, too. For example, idea that Paul would have had the authority to carry a persecution from one Roman province to another (even if he had been a citizen) is untenable given what we know about Roman law. In short, Acts is primarily a theological narrative--a continuation of the Gospel of Luke--and although it contains some historicity it should not be confused with critical history. Bottom line: if you are seekingPaul's existential crisis, Acts is not the place to look. You will only find Luke's version of Paul there. Try the down-on-his-luck Paul who pitches up among the Corinthians. That is where you will find the real man.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    It would be a bit of saying Jesus failed and not us, if we consider Dostoeivisky wanted to say Myshkin failed. In this, I think lies what is perhaps Dostoevisky greatest skill: in all his passion for duality, how clear it is demilited, in the end, he makes the chance of any conclusion to be something murky. When you have to analyse the whole world, there is a shadow troubling all. He makes this possible.
    I discuss the issue of who failed whom (in Dostoyevsky's eyes) in my message to Gladys. For me (again, in reference to Dostoyevsky's intent and not my personal beliefs), the jury is still out. If I'm hearing you correctly, you are suggesting that Dostoyevsky's ambiguity may have been somewhat intentional. Perhhaps "unavoidable for him" would be a better way to look at it. Dostoyevsky seems genuinely troubled by the shadows he uncovers, yet he is brave enough not to look away. For me, his strength is that he finds faith even among his shadows.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Alyosha Karamazov is no more able to save Ivan and Dmitri, but he at least can go forward courageously in faith. Myshkin, though, is a dead loss. I think this is one of the reasons the Idiot is such a shocking a novel to the Christian who understands it (sorry Gladys)
    If Myshkin is a dead loss, he walks in fine footsteps. Jesus at his crucifixion had no followers, one disciple betrayed him, another denied him and the remainder deserted him.

    Isaiah 53: 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    I understand your point about Myshkin's continuing innocence; my question was whether his relapse was Dostoyevsky's metaphor for the end of the Bridegroom's time in a world that "received him not" and his return to the Holy Innocence of God; or if it expressed the writer's doubt about whether a Myshkin ever could be received (and efficacious) in the sinful world (or possibly both of those ideas at once).
    Myshkin failure is almost a martyrdom and his sacrifice is efficacious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys View Post
    Back in Switzerland, ‘like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth’ (Acts 8:32). Our unfortunate 'idiot' suffers silently a very slow death…you might say, a crucifixion. And the occasional visitor to Dr Schneider’s patient sees something awful but edifying, not unlike Holbein’s ‘Deposition’. Was Prince Myshkin’s sacrifice in vain? Perhaps not, if the testimonies of virginal Vera Lebedev, forthright Lizabetha Prokofievna, and sceptical playboy Evgenie Pavlovitch matter. How fitting, if the story closes with an unlikely resurrection.

    The ironic title of the novel is telling. Who are really the idiots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Jesus' nature was not the reason he was put to death (as you know, human sin was).
    To quote Soren Kierkegaard: Pilate asks what is truth and with that he crucifies it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Okay, so this is my bad for not expressing myself more clearly. By "The departure of Christ" I meant the Ascension. Incarceration in a Swiss sanitarium does not sound like sitting at the right hand of God, but perhaps Dostoyevsky intended it in that way.
    Prince Myshkin is not the messianic Christ: merely his faithful disciple, a man of sorrows.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys View Post
    If Myshkin is a dead loss, he walks in fine footsteps. Jesus at his crucifixion had no followers, one disciple betrayed him, another denied him and the remainder deserted him.
    Yes, I know. And for the record, I am not saying (nor did I say) that Jesus' sacrifice was a dead loss. About my own faith I know. What I am trying to understand is Dostoyevsky's faith or doubt or both. As I said before, I know how I would have ended the novel, what I want to understand is why Dostoyevsky ended it the way he did and how it can help me to grow as a Christian.

    One of my reasons for suspecting that Dostoyevsky's ending expressed apprehension about humankind's fitness to receive Christ's message is the Grand Inquisitor passage from the Brothers Karamazov. There, Dostoyevsky' puts a similar view into the inquisitor's mouth. Have you read The Grand Inquisitor, and if so, do you think Dostoyevsky was being ironic or that he was expressing--in fact agonizing over--an apparent irreconcilability between flawed humanity and the divine? Please understand that I personally believe that conflict was fully reconciled by human nature of the divine Christ. My question is what Dostoyevsky believed and whether it is consistent with the ending of The Idiot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys View Post
    Isaiah 53: 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not.

    Prince Myshkin is not the messianic Christ: merely his faithful disciple, a man of sorrows.
    So you see Myshkin as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. It's an interesting point of view, but how would it affect Dostoyevsky's anxiety about human reconciliation with the divine? Wouldn't it constitute little more than a Scriptural a confirmation of his doubts?
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; Yesterday at 10:09 AM.
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