Monday, September 24, 2018

You never hear about that happening anymore

Well, no, you don't.

From What American gender politics has done to my mind by Ann Althouse. Althouse loves riffing on words and ideas. You never know where she will head. From discussing modern American gender politics, she arrives at:

Click to enlarge.
I think the problem is that there's one book with "The Cloud of Unknowing" that also has "The Mystical Theology of Saint Denis" and the text of the St. Denis prayer, which is properly quoted above. Did Saint Denis actually write those words? I don't know. But I did look up St. Denis, and I have a better understanding of the illustration:
Denis is the most famous cephalophore in Christian legend, with a popular story claiming that the decapitated bishop picked up his head and walked several miles while preaching a sermon on repentance....
A cephalophore is what it sounds like — someone who carries his own severed head. You never hear about that happening anymore, but people used to say it did:
A cephalophore (from the Greek for "head-carrier") is a saint who is generally depicted carrying his or her own head. In Christian art, this was usually meant to signify that the subject in question had been martyred by beheading....

[T]he folklorist Émile Nourry counted no less than 134 examples of cephalophory in French hagiographic literature alone....

Aristotle is at pains to discredit the stories of talking heads and to establish the physical impossibility, with the windpipe severed from the lung. "Moreover," he adds, "among the barbarians, where heads are chopped off with great rapidity, nothing of the kind has ever occurred."

No comments:

Post a Comment