Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gregory of Tours


  Opening lines have to be the toughest.  I have been thinking and writing and writing and thinking, wanting my first blog to be a dazzler. 
  My summer reading project - well, I have several but the one on the top of my list - is Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks.  While other moms are at the beach reading the National Enquirer or the latest from the Oprah book club, I will be reading about the adventures of Fredegund, which are far more salacious.  I may have read the entire book before then if I get really into it.  I have already begun.  This very morning, while my kids were having a swimming lesson, I sat outside with my Ipod on and reading the Introduction, Preface and Book I.
  Gregory begins with a declaration of faith.  Heresy was a serious business; you would not want to be caught on the wrong side of that law.  In his Preface, Gregory declared that he was a true Catholic and did not believe in the Arian or the Pelagian heresies. 
   The Pelagian heresy is especially interesting since it appears to be winning in the long haul.  During the Middle Ages, the temptation of Eve was held to be 'sex' not the 'Knowledge of Good and Evil' but opinion seems to have shifted to the view that eating of the fruit meant acquiring free will and personal responsibility.  Sex was always there; how else were Adam and Eve going to populate the Garden of Eden?  He who laughs last laughs best and hopefully Pelagius is having a good laugh somewhere.
   However, this is not exactly what Pelagius was saying; he spoke rather about Original Sin and that children were born innocent and not tainted with this sin of Eve's.  It is our later actions that make us sinful or not.  We can lay the blame for the anti-Pelagian stand on St. Augustine who lobbied hard for the opinion that we are all dirty swine from the moment we are conceived.  Speak for yourself Augustine; I am as pure as the driven snow. 
  In Book I is the story of the Chaste Lovers and how boring are they?  Especially coming on the heels of section 44 which deals with Urbicus, a Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand who had a legal wife.  The wife decided she needed 'some' and she went over to the church and screamed until he agreed to come and give her some but good. You go girl!  Of course that was the Devil's fault.  After all, what woman in her right mind would be screaming for sex from her husband?

The Beatles in Latin.  
What could be better than a Beatles' song?  Why a Beatles' song in Latin of course.  I will post the answer next week but try to guess which song this is. Just for fun.

Te volo, te volo male, melilla.
Te volo, te volo male,
Eo alienor mente, eo alienor mente.
Ea est gravis.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great blog! Keep it up!

A Latin riddle...I like it!

--Kristin

Tracy said...

Love your new blog! I especially love the title - by coincidence I've been discussing 'Being in the Now' with another friend. Afraid my knowledge of Medieval Literature is seriously lacking, Gawain and the Green Knight is on my bookshelf, unread, at the moment. Beatles lyrics I'm slighhtly more familiar with - but I give up on this one (my knowledge of latin verb conjugation is seriously lacking) though it did give me an excuse to check out the more obscure lyrics on The White Album - and there are some seriously weird songs on that one!

Tracy said...

Well, at least I got the right album, LOL! As for the Pelagian heresy and St Augustine - the Church (of any denomination) seems to be obsessed with sex, whether it's gay clergy or paedophile priests. And of course us women are to blame! Or to quote from A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini "Like a needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman.

Hermine said...

LOL you're so right Tracy!