Tag Archives: Grail Legends History and criticism

The difference between a creation story and a creation myth is of paramount importance.

For instance for Christians the need to believe in the Garden and in the Sin is a necessary first step towards believing in Christ and His death and resurection as the triumph over that Sin. Learning from Abraham, Moses and the prophets is important – turning them into characters in a costume drama is deleterious of the entire thrust of revealed truth and embellishing that drama with dragons, spaceships or any of the delusions of fantasy leads only to the loss of the fundamental truth of the teaching. The angel staying the hand of Abraham or God speaking to Moses from a burning bush are examples of direct revelation complete with the auspices of authority. The picture of Quixote as Christ or the advice of Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Luke not to go over to the dark side are finally both parts of an entertainment that serve more to confuse than convince. Taken to its horrific conclusion we wind up with Wagner being corrupted by the Nazis in their quest for Aryan supremacy with all of its consequences. Consider if you will the discipline of the Muslim world and their treatment of the Koran opposed to the Western “incorporation” of Christian scripture with the insights of Buddha, the first people of the Navajo, the wisdom of the witches and the charity of Santa Claus. Is it any wonder that your grandchildren may be named Mohammed and Miriam rather than John and Mary?

The Holy Grail : imagination and belief Richard Barber Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2004  Grail Legends History and criticism Hardcover. xiv, 463 p. : col. ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 381-411) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

The elusive image of the Holy Grail has haunted the Western imagination for eight centuries. It represents the ideal of an unattainable yet infinitely desirable goal, the possibility of perfection. Initially conceived in literature, it became a Christian icon which has been re-created in a multitude of forms over time even though the Grail has no specific material attributes or true religious significance.

Richard Barber traces the history of the legends surrounding the Holy Grail, beginning with Chrétien de Troyes’s great romances of the twelfth century and the medieval Church’s religious version of the secular ideal. He pursues the myths through Victorian obsessions and enthusiasms to the popular bestsellers of the late twentieth century that have embraced its mysteries. Crisscrossing the borders of fiction and spirituality, the quest for the Holy Grail has long attracted writers, artists, and admirers of the esoteric. It has been a recurrent theme in tales of imagination and belief which have laid claim to the highest religious and secular ideals and experiences. From Lancelot to Parsifal, chivalric romances to Wagner’s Ring, T. S. Eliot to Monty Python, the Grail has fascinated and lured the Western imagination from beyond the reach of the ordinary world.


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