Monday, September 16, 2019

Wyrd And Providence Series, #37 All-Time

I have pushed this series thrice over the years, twice by linking to it, and once by reposting it. I have itched to edit them, but have held off, because that removes the link to what my thinking was when I wrote them.  It seems a bit deceitful. I have learned some things since then that I don't want to pretend I knew in 2010.  This repost may free me up from that.

Part I
I reconsider an idea I rejected years ago.
New England was a peculiarly fertile ground for a peculiar and intense version of Calvinism, because predetermination is a Christianised version of Norse fatalism.  I don’t subscribe to that fully, but I don’t reject it out of hand anymore.

Part II
Swedish Luciafest: dressing children in the cute costumes of grim Norse pagan beliefs.  Disney was hardly the first, eh?

Part III
From Danes to East Anglia to Puritans.  How the grim creatures disappeared in the ocean, but some of the ideas were carried to New England.

Part IV
My theory unravels some.

Part IV-A

Part V
The idea of accusation by nature; trial by ordeal; some magics believed in, and some condemned, in Puritan New England.


An actual historian lends support to my theory.


Texan99 said...

Anti-pagan purity in the camps of both fundamentalists and Wiccans -- very interesting. I came to an Anglican style of Christianity from the atheist rather than the fundamentalist side, and so never grappled much with the problem of a pagan taint in things like Christmas and Halloween. My rule is that all kinds of pagan influences are welcome in my daily life and even worship, up to the point where they actually demand a choice between Christ and something else.

C.S. Lewis, my usual guide, pointed out that we are always struggling between the opposing dangers of irreverence and idolatry. Symbols are fine aids to reverence until we begin to mistake the symbols for the object of worship.

Lewis also claimed that the Devil is always trying to turn men either into magicians or into materialists.

Texan99 said...

The reviews for the "Providence" book recommend an early and less expensive book, Sameuel Eliot Morison's remarkable, "The Intellectual Life of Colonial New England."

Texan99 said...

PS, Alibris has "Providence In Early Modern England" for $35 or so.

Grim said...

I haven't had time to read the whole series, AVI, but it's definitely of interest to me. I'll sit down with it when I have a moment.

Texan99 said...

Update in 2019: Samuel Eliot Morison's "The Intellectual Life of Colonial New England" is now available used and cheap from several sellers, so I've ordered a copy.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I wishlisted it last night. $1.99 seems more than reasonable.

Texan99 said...

I misread the old comments. It was "Providence in Early Modern England" that was hard to get. Now, however, there's a free online version here:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Ooh, thanks.

james said...

Unfortunately, it is preview-only--not the whole book.

Now that I think of it, "unfortunately" is 5 syllables and 13 letters, while "alas" is 2 syllables and 4 letters. I wonder why using the punchier version is considered affectation.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

"Alas" sounds old-fashioned. "Unfortunately" also has a pairing with "fortunately," which may contribute to greater use.

It used to be that "utilise" instead of "use" was only heard from people trying to sound smarter, but the longer word has so firmly embedded I don't think folks even notice anymore.

Texan99 said...

I do. I detest "utilize."

james said...

I just checked to see if I use it much. I was quoting somebody.