Saturday, November 05, 2022

Sørina Higgins and the Holy Graal

When I went to the Inklings Conference at the Presbyterian Heritage Center in Montreat NC in September, they promised to make the videos of the lectures available. When I finally got notice two months later that they are up, they mentioned that three of them have been up for a month already. This is the one that Grim asked after specifically, by Dr. Sørina Higgins

There are other videos, including Dr. Don King on Warren Lewis, Soldier, Writer, Inkling.


Grim said...

This was a very pleasant way to spend the last hour or so. I am delighted to think that, had I been there, I would have won a cookie in the quiz. It was a hard quiz! I would not have had a perfect score (although I got the trick question right). Apparently, based on her lecture, I should spend more time with Charles Williams' works.

There's an excellent point therein about the duality of the Grail, which destroys or torments some and rewards others; and even as it brings individuals to great blessing if they are worthy, it destroys the societies they were part of by severing the best individuals from their larger practical society. Of the three knights who achieve the Grail in Malory, only one returns to court, the others either dying or praying to be blessed with death rather than to return to the world.

That one, Sir Bors de Ganis ("of Wales") is also the only one of the successful knights to father a child, the others being chaste. Bors is described by Malory as having remained worthy by being chaste but for one woman, and otherwise being 'a clean virgin.' Lancelot, who was the best knight pragmatically and fathered the worthy Galahad, is found quite wanting by the Grail just because of his sexual immorality.

This scholar sounds like a fascinating companion. She knows a great deal about many fascinating things.

james said...

Not peace but a sword?

A quibble: "just now codifying as one of the essential elements of our worship" Not exactly. The interpretation of the Eucharist was formalized (for the West), but it was "the medicine of immortality" to Ignatius of Antioch, and central from earliest descriptions. And the Orthodox seem to have muddled along fine without using that formalism, while keeping the Eucharist central.

The question of "what exactly is this?" was obviously lively at the time (or the Fourth Lateran Council wouldn't have bothered with the question), but the Lateran's description doesn't mesh well with the Grail centrality. According to 4LC, the wine was really Jesus' blood--while the Grail was just a holy relic. I'd guess the 4LC pronouncement was less of a factor than the already-existing models and debates. The importance of the Grail would seem less in the transubstantiation model than in one where the Presence is temporary or conditional--less important not as a matter of doctrine but as a matter of mood.

WRT the divine within; in War In Heaven he certainly favors the occult/obscure -- "I am John and I am Galahad and I am Mary" -- but when he writes of the encounters with the divine it is always outside, not within.