In a message dated 12/21/00 11:24:46 AM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
> I am somewhat surprised by your conception of the contrast between OT and
> Christian approaches to the afterlife.
I may have overstated the differences, based on a personal experience.
Attending Easter services with an Episcopalian friend, we came to a part in
the service that said a messenger of God knocked on the door. I was
astonished when this was followed by a real, actual, knocking on the doors of
the cathedral in which we were sitting. The doors were opened, the bishop
entered, and this was evidently a part of the service. At the time, I thought
that Christians tended to act things out more than Jews, as in actually
walking the stations of the cross. On reflection, one has similar acting out
in Judaism. At the Passover Seder, a place is actually set at the table for
Elijah. One doesn't just imagine that there would be room for him should he
choose to appear.
> It is very easy to paint broad
> strokes that depict medievals as ignorant or overyly imaginative; but I
> think that would be to take the artistic currents as too strongly
> indicative of religious conceptions, rather than as an attempt to
> concretise many ideas of which were not visualizable. I would grant to the
> Medieval as much ability to concieve of incorporeals as the modern, at the
> very least; but perhaps even more so.
I'm in awe of the medieval era, largely because of so much craftsmanship on a
level of refinement that couldn't be matched today. Looking at, say, a piece
of Irish metalwork, I get a strong feeling that the maker must have believed
that God was watching him every minute. That nothing less would have forced
or enabled him to work with such skill and care. It's supposed to be an
improvement that today far fewer people walk around feeling that God is
checking up on them every minute. The corollary is that craftsmanship has
gone down the tubes. We can no longer do a decent job of making cars,
airplanes, computers, or anything.