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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  August 2002

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION August 2002

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Subject:

Re: Medieval childrearing [was Constable response]

From:

Stacy Kerr <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 3 Aug 2002 14:28:39 -0700

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

And on the subject of the diagnoses of medieval physical diseases, nothing
is more unclear than trying to pinpoint medieval symptoms and make them
conform to modern illnesses.  Pathogens change over time as so the
resistance of people to them.  Further, the Galanic system of medicine that
medieval physicians followed makes a clear interpretation of even the
symptoms difficult, if not impossible.  For a recent article on this very
topic see Samuel Cohn's recent article on the Black Death in the American
Historical Review.

Stacy Kerr
USC


-- I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to
combine marriage and a career.

Gloria Steinem















> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
>
>> From: Marjorie Greene <[log in to unmask]>
>
>> It was Jung who used mythology, an artifact of the
>> past, and applied it to people he was working with,
>> not the other way around. He used mythology to try to
>> explain and understand the present. He also used myths
>> as metaphors for modern problems, applying the fables
>> of the past to help understand modern man.
>
> And in turn his approaches have been used to analyze mythology and interpret
> the beliefs of the past. If you are not familiar with such uses, please look
> at popular journals such as Parabola.
>
>> Why? If it's OK to "impose" archetypes and use such
>> approaches on people today, why not "impose" them on
>> the people who started them all.
>
> Because "the people" *didn't* start them. Jung's approaches are simply his
> interpretations of mythology in general, not the ideas and cultures of each
> group that produced their own mythology.
>
>> This is an utterly gratuitous statement with no
>> possibility of proof. Why do you think this?
>
> I find *your* statement "utterly gratuitous." Obviously you have no interest
> in why I said this or what "proof" I might have to offer. But for anyone
> else who may still have an open mind on the subject, study of languages and
> use of words/concepts reveals a great deal as to how concepts evolved over
> time. You put enough concepts together and you can reconstruct a mindset and
> see how it changed and evolved.
>
>> And how do we determine what "their own terms" are?
>
> Do you really want to know what I think? Or is this a rhetorical question
> and the implicit answer is, "Of course we can't!" In fact, it's very
> difficult and not at all like having someone from the culture here to
> explain and describe what they think. However, examination of language,
> literature, and, in particular, how people explain and justify their
> behaviors can tell us a great deal.
>
>> I fail to see any disrespect in attempting to
>> understand the past by using modern techniques. We can
>> - and do without causing a ruckus - diagnose with a
>> certain amount of probability the diseases people died
>> of by scrutinizing descriptions of their physical
>> symptoms. Why is it so controversial to do the same
>> with diseases or disorders of the mind, especially
>> with people who left behind their own words or
>> artifacts?
>
> Diseases are not people, people are not diseases or disorders, though the
> medical profession often treats us as if we are simply sets of disorders and
> symptoms, not whole people. So I don't agree with your analogy that
> determining cause of death is the same as understanding mindset. As I
> described in another post, I disagree with approaches that classify mindset
> and religious systems into predefined categories. I also disagree with
> seeing them simply as collections of "symptoms." Mindset and worldview are
> not simply collections of separate beliefs and behaviors--a crucial
> component is the implicit synergy that binds them together and makes them
> work. And how many ancient and medieval peoples actually left their words
> behind them? In my own specialty, Celtica, oral tradition was the rule for
> hundreds of years. And artifacts are open to interpretation and speculation.
> Reconstruction is not always easy. If we begin by deciding what categories
> we are going to fill, we have already limited the likelihood that we will
> come close to re-constructing the past as it was. I think there's a very
> human tendency to create in our own image and likeness; I also think we
> should work against that tendency when we study the peoples of the past.
>
> And if you have trouble with the notion of "disrespect," I'll draw your
> attention to Alice B. Kehoe's essay, "Eliade and Hultkrantz: the European
> primitivism tradition." (The American Indian Quarterly, Summer-Fall 1996 v20
> n3-4 pp.377-93). Kehoe contends that Eliade and Hultkranz, through their
> models of shamanism, have shown little respect or understanding for native
> cultures. As I see it, using Jungian approaches to interpret mythology shows
> a similar lack of respect and understanding. In a way, I think that when we
> moderns approach the peoples of the past, we are like Europeans landing in
> America. How will we interact with the peoples we meet? Will we let them
> tell us their stories in their own words? Or will we dissect and classify
> them to fit our notions of what's significant and important?
>
> Francine Nicholson, M.A.
>
>
>
> _________________________________________________________________
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