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Harry Potter and Witchcraft

Shanghaiski

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DanM said:
Shanghaiski.  But, for something pithy, Elder Isidore of Gethsemane Skete would say to keep the good and leave the bad. He said this was what he did when a spiritual son of his asked why he was reading a certain book which may have been considered "trashy" by early 20th century Russian standards.
DanM.  I recall Elder Nektary of Optina using a neo-pagan ritual in Rider Haggard's _She_ as a means of explaining the Jesus Prayer.  You have to admire an elder who reads SF in a foreign language.
Could you perhaps did up a reference to that, Dan? That's very interesting. (I assume by SF, you mean science fiction? That's one category I'm not all that familiar with, but I've heard that there's a lot of good stuff in "Dune.")
 

WPM

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(I get the sense of Harry Potter in the book series) ... (And also on T.V.)
 

DanM

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Shanghaiski said:
DanM said:
Shanghaiski.  But, for something pithy, Elder Isidore of Gethsemane Skete would say to keep the good and leave the bad. He said this was what he did when a spiritual son of his asked why he was reading a certain book which may have been considered "trashy" by early 20th century Russian standards.
DanM.  I recall Elder Nektary of Optina using a neo-pagan ritual in Rider Haggard's _She_ as a means of explaining the Jesus Prayer.  You have to admire an elder who reads SF in a foreign language.
Could you perhaps did up a reference to that, Dan? That's very interesting. (I assume by SF, you mean science fiction? That's one category I'm not all that familiar with, but I've heard that there's a lot of good stuff in "Dune.")
I knew I should have.  You will find it in I. M. Kontzevitch's _Elder Nektary of Optina_ (St. Hermann of Alaska Monastery Brotherhood, 1998), pp. 205-206. 
For what it's worth, I felt even in my wayward youth that there were a lot of bad things in Dune.  However, his short stories (mostly about defeating fate) were brilliant--just priceless.
Elder Nektary was also familiar with Paradise Lost. 
 

Ebor

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DanM said:
Ebor.  Is one permitted to offer countering thoughts? 
DanM.  I insist.
Excellent. Thank you.  :)

Ebor.  If so, for example "2.  Wonder is exiled by rationalism."  I would not say that this is necessarily true.  Many scientists have been motivated by wonder and rational thought. 
DanM.  That was the point of Aristotle in the loc. cl.

Ebor.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you mean in this thesis.  Would you explain it a bit more please?
DanM.  By "rationalism" I do not mean rational investigation--I mean a philosophy which has no room for God or his miraculous works.  If you are familiar with the dwarves in C. S. Lewis' _The Pilgrim's Regress_, you know what I mean.  Thanks for the chance to clarify.
The dwarves in that book are, as I recall, representations of the more brutal philosophies with one group being the "marxomani" and they were all under the rule of Savage.  There were a number of characters, all "north of the road" that had no place for God such as  the "Clevers", the Three Pale Men and the Spirit of the Age who was bested by Reason with her three riddles as you may recall. 

Now if we separate the "miraculous works" from God would that mean things like the stars and galaxies, the rich variety of plants and animals and more?  If that is the case then I don't think that wonder is not a part of such persons who may have "no room" for God.  Carl Sagan for example certainly had wonder and curiosity and even delight at the universe but as far as I know was not religious.  Stephen Jay Gould was another. 
 

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No point in running in circles like dogs chasing their tails trying to get people to see when they are willfully blind.  Sort of like getting an alcoholic to stop drinking when he doesn't want to stop.
 

Ebor

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On this point:

4.  The Byzantines did not produce a body of narrative literature comparable to that of the West largely because the lives of the saints met the need for wonder in a spectacular fashion
I think that looking at this would involve such things in history as the rise of literacy, the printing press (recalling the fact that for a very long time every copy of anything was written out by hand), the collection of stories perhaps (the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault in France http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Perrault  and others) the state of society and more.  There were certainly plenty of lives of the saints and stories about them in western Christendom. And there was a tradition of literature in some form or other.  Consider Beowulf, the various Sagas and Gesta.  What was the literary tradition/culture in the Byzantine times?  Different cultures have different customs and that may have an affect on the lack of narrative literature.  Or it occurs to me, did it not survive the ages and warfare and more perhaps?

Just some thoughts for consideration
 

Kerdy

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Michał Kalina said:
theistgal said:
Which is a shame because I've seen you make some sensible comments in other threads.  :-\
:eek:

Where? Yet to find a single post.
Stop reading your own posts.
 

Kerdy

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PeterTheAleut said:
Nikolaos Greek said:
Ah. Still blind that HP is harmful.
Nah, just looking for evidence beyond speculation and mere personal opinion that it is.
You will never find something you have no interest in discovering. 
 

PeterTheAleut

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Kerdy said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Nikolaos Greek said:
Ah. Still blind that HP is harmful.
Nah, just looking for evidence beyond speculation and mere personal opinion that it is.
You will never find something you have no interest in discovering. 
Try me. I actually am interested.
 

Kerdy

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PeterTheAleut said:
Kerdy said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Nikolaos Greek said:
Ah. Still blind that HP is harmful.
Nah, just looking for evidence beyond speculation and mere personal opinion that it is.
You will never find something you have no interest in discovering.  
Try me. I actually am interested.
LOL!  Right. I've seen you "interest" in other threads.
 

Arachne

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DanM said:
Arachne said:
DanM, if you really want to see real pagans discussing Harry Potter (with lots of context), go through these:

http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=5107.0
http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=15017.0
http://www.ecauldron.com/forum/showthread.php?7387-Cracked-After-Hours-Why-the-Harry-Potter-Universe-is-Secretly-Terrifying

Some of the discussions do go on for long. :)
Some of atheist/pagan folks seemed dubious about HP's Christian mythos, didn't they?  "I could see the Christian influence (esp. in the last book) but I couldn't see many Pagan themes."  Thanks for the peek into the other side.  Hmmm.
I don't consider Harry Potter Christian fiction, but fiction doesn't need to be Christian to be wholesome. The context of magic is very obviously made up, while the virtues promoted are solid. If we have no monopoly on salvation, because God will save whoever He wills, we certainly have no monopoly on virtue.
 

DanM

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Ebor said:
On this point:

4.  The Byzantines did not produce a body of narrative literature comparable to that of the West largely because the lives of the saints met the need for wonder in a spectacular fashion
I think that looking at this would involve such things in history as the rise of literacy, the printing press (recalling the fact that for a very long time every copy of anything was written out by hand), the collection of stories perhaps (the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault in France http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Perrault  and others) the state of society and more.  There were certainly plenty of lives of the saints and stories about them in western Christendom. And there was a tradition of literature in some form or other.  Consider Beowulf, the various Sagas and Gesta.  What was the literary tradition/culture in the Byzantine times?  Different cultures have different customs and that may have an affect on the lack of narrative literature.  Or it occurs to me, did it not survive the ages and warfare and more perhaps?

Just some thoughts for consideration
My thesis does not deny that the West had saints' lives, but that the East did not produce various sagas, epics, etc.  I suspect that the culture of the East (I mean, Eastern Roman Empire) was inhibited by its very inheritance--Homer, e.g.  The barbarians who blundered into the West were not over-awed by Homer or Vergil--they probably did not know about them and anyway were too busy recording their own tales.  I do not recall barbarians in the East recording their stories in Greek.  The East was not even that interested in Latin literature.  Someone did translate De Bello Gallico into Greek, but that was probably for practical purposes.  I appreciate your thoughts and questions.  Theses are not or should not be made of adamantine; they should be more like nerf balls.
 

Iconodule

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DanM said:
4.  The Byzantines did not produce a body of narrative literature comparable to that of the West largely because the lives of the saints met the need for wonder in a spectacular fashion.
It's very possible they didn't produce as much, but Byzantine/ Orthodox culture did produce its share of epics. Off the top of my head: Digenis Akritas, the Kosovo cycle of heroic ballads, and the epic poems of Peter Njegos (most famously The Mountain Wreath). There is also the enormous wealth of fairy tales produced from various Orthodox countries.

I would also highly recommend the book Medieval Russia's Epics, Chronicles, and Tales edited by Serge A. Zenkovsky. It really gave me a new perspective on Orthodox literature.
 

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Ebor said:
DanM said:
Ebor.  Is one permitted to offer countering thoughts? 
DanM.  I insist.
Excellent. Thank you.  :)

Ebor.  If so, for example "2.  Wonder is exiled by rationalism."  I would not say that this is necessarily true.  Many scientists have been motivated by wonder and rational thought. 
DanM.  That was the point of Aristotle in the loc. cl.

Ebor.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you mean in this thesis.  Would you explain it a bit more please?
DanM.  By "rationalism" I do not mean rational investigation--I mean a philosophy which has no room for God or his miraculous works.  If you are familiar with the dwarves in C. S. Lewis' _The Pilgrim's Regress_, you know what I mean.  Thanks for the chance to clarify.
The dwarves in that book are, as I recall, representations of the more brutal philosophies with one group being the "marxomani" and they were all under the rule of Savage.  There were a number of characters, all "north of the road" that had no place for God such as  the "Clevers", the Three Pale Men and the Spirit of the Age who was bested by Reason with her three riddles as you may recall. 

Now if we separate the "miraculous works" from God would that mean things like the stars and galaxies, the rich variety of plants and animals and more?  If that is the case then I don't think that wonder is not a part of such persons who may have "no room" for God.  Carl Sagan for example certainly had wonder and curiosity and even delight at the universe but as far as I know was not religious.  Stephen Jay Gould was another. 
Ebor, I just did not communicate properly.  What I meant is that the Reformers clean-swept wonder right out of the church.  Orthodoxy by contrast is all about wonders.  _The Way of the Pilgrim_, a book written in a state hostile to Orthodoxy, in a century that saw the birth of Darwin and Marx, is simply a coruscation of wonder after wonder.  The lives of the saints, the sacraments, the miracles, the canons, the akathists, above all the Liturgy--everything in Orthodoxy is full of wonders.  See  http://lettersonorthodoxy.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/looking-back-on-protestantism/ for a former Protestant's appreciation of Catholicism, which is partly the inspiration for this thesis.  In stark contrast, my Protestant/Evangelical upbringing was a matter of Bible studies & long sermons--and in view of what many churches are doing now, I was lucky.  
 

mike

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DanM said:
_The Way of the Pilgrim_, a book written in a state hostile to Orthodoxy, in a century that saw the birth of Darwin and Marx, is simply a coruscation of wonder after wonder.
I concur trarist Russia had negative impact on the Orthodox Church but I can't really call it  as hostile.
 

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Iconodule said:
DanM said:
4.  The Byzantines did not produce a body of narrative literature comparable to that of the West largely because the lives of the saints met the need for wonder in a spectacular fashion.
It's very possible they didn't produce as much, but Byzantine/ Orthodox culture did produce its share of epics. Off the top of my head: Digenis Akritas, the Kosovo cycle of heroic ballads, and the epic poems of Peter Njegos (most famously The Mountain Wreath). There is also the enormous wealth of fairy tales produced from various Orthodox countries.
You have plunged deep into the frontier of my ignorance.  My sources--more than 30 years ago--assured me that the Byzantines produced no creative literature.  By Byzantine, they meant--Greek-speaking Constantinopolitans.  Fortunately my thesis does not require that the East produced no narrative literature, so stet.  I am delighted to find new epics, esp. in Orthodox countries.  The parallel with the West is perfect--it's the margins of the East that produce narratives worth reading, not the heartland, just as it was the barbarians who produced so much of the medieval Latin literature that was worth reading (e.g., Petrus Alphonsus, that wonderful Jew who converted to Catholicism and regaled us all with Jewish and Moslem stories in Latin) and all of the native language literatures like Beowulf.  Those references you make seem really promising.
 

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Michał Kalina said:
DanM said:
_The Way of the Pilgrim_, a book written in a state hostile to Orthodoxy, in a century that saw the birth of Darwin and Marx, is simply a coruscation of wonder after wonder.
I concur trarist Russia had negative impact on the Orthodox Church but I can't really call it  as hostile.
I am thinking of the embargo on Old Church Slavonic--the forced Jesuitification of the seminaries--the restriction of candidates for the priesthood to the sons of priests--the abolition of the patriarchate of Moscow--the prohibition of monasticism to all but widowed priests and such--the invention of the office of the Ober-Prokurator to superintend the churches--etc.  See Fr. Tom Hopko lectures on this at AFR and Jeffrey MacDonald's lectures on Russia at http://www.orthodoxchurchhistory.com/.
 

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DanM said:
Byzantines produced no creative literature. 
Not necessarily all "Byzantine", but Greek, creative and literary:

Poulologos: Byzantine Opera Ballet - Chistodoulos Halaris

Χρονικό της Κύπρου: Λεόντιος Μαχαιράς - Chronicle of Cyprus

Ξυλούρης, Ερωτόκριτος (Τα θλιβερά μαντάτα) -Στίχοι

ΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΙΑ ΕΙΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΑΓΙΟΥΣ ΤΡΕΙΣ ΠΑΙΔΑΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΕΝ ΤΗ ΚΑΜΙΝΩ

ΕΡΩΦΙΛΗ

I was just now leafing through an "Anthology of Greek Literature from the Romanian Principalities".
 

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Not Byzantine, unless you are some Protestant academic. For Orthodox they were East Romans or simply Romans.
 

Ebor

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DanM said:
Ebor said:
DanM said:
Ebor.  Is one permitted to offer countering thoughts? 
DanM.  I insist.
Excellent. Thank you.  :)

Ebor.  If so, for example "2.  Wonder is exiled by rationalism."  I would not say that this is necessarily true.  Many scientists have been motivated by wonder and rational thought. 
DanM.  That was the point of Aristotle in the loc. cl.

Ebor.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you mean in this thesis.  Would you explain it a bit more please?
DanM.  By "rationalism" I do not mean rational investigation--I mean a philosophy which has no room for God or his miraculous works.  If you are familiar with the dwarves in C. S. Lewis' _The Pilgrim's Regress_, you know what I mean.  Thanks for the chance to clarify.
The dwarves in that book are, as I recall, representations of the more brutal philosophies with one group being the "marxomani" and they were all under the rule of Savage.  There were a number of characters, all "north of the road" that had no place for God such as  the "Clevers", the Three Pale Men and the Spirit of the Age who was bested by Reason with her three riddles as you may recall. 

Now if we separate the "miraculous works" from God would that mean things like the stars and galaxies, the rich variety of plants and animals and more?  If that is the case then I don't think that wonder is not a part of such persons who may have "no room" for God.  Carl Sagan for example certainly had wonder and curiosity and even delight at the universe but as far as I know was not religious.  Stephen Jay Gould was another. 
Ebor, I just did not communicate properly.  What I meant is that the Reformers clean-swept wonder right out of the church.  Orthodoxy by contrast is all about wonders.  _The Way of the Pilgrim_, a book written in a state hostile to Orthodoxy, in a century that saw the birth of Darwin and Marx, is simply a coruscation of wonder after wonder.  The lives of the saints, the sacraments, the miracles, the canons, the akathists, above all the Liturgy--everything in Orthodoxy is full of wonders.  See  http://lettersonorthodoxy.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/looking-back-on-protestantism/ for a former Protestant's appreciation of Catholicism, which is partly the inspiration for this thesis.  In stark contrast, my Protestant/Evangelical upbringing was a matter of Bible studies & long sermons--and in view of what many churches are doing now, I was lucky.  
Well, first I would say that there is not a monolithic bloc of "the Reformers" and by that are you referring particularly to the 15th and 16th centuries or there abouts?  It is true that, for example, John Calvin and those with him in Geneva removed art and beauty and other things that might contribute to wonder from both church and daily life. Savonarola did much the same in Florence.  But that was not the case in England particularly in the growth of church music or if you consider the writings of John Donne or George Herbert.

There is more to "western" Christianity than the sermons and studies.  May one ask which churches were your early experience?  If you would prefer not to say, I withdraw the question with apologies.
 

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Santagranddad said:
Not Byzantine, unless you are some Protestant academic. For Orthodox they were East Romans or simply Romans.
They're called Byzantines even by the Greeks.
 

Ebor

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DanM said:
Ebor said:
On this point:

4.  The Byzantines did not produce a body of narrative literature comparable to that of the West largely because the lives of the saints met the need for wonder in a spectacular fashion
I think that looking at this would involve such things in history as the rise of literacy, the printing press (recalling the fact that for a very long time every copy of anything was written out by hand), the collection of stories perhaps (the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault in France http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Perrault  and others) the state of society and more.  There were certainly plenty of lives of the saints and stories about them in western Christendom. And there was a tradition of literature in some form or other.  Consider Beowulf, the various Sagas and Gesta.  What was the literary tradition/culture in the Byzantine times?  Different cultures have different customs and that may have an affect on the lack of narrative literature.  Or it occurs to me, did it not survive the ages and warfare and more perhaps?

Just some thoughts for consideration
My thesis does not deny that the West had saints' lives, but that the East did not produce various sagas, epics, etc.  I suspect that the culture of the East (I mean, Eastern Roman Empire) was inhibited by its very inheritance--Homer, e.g.  The barbarians who blundered into the West were not over-awed by Homer or Vergil--they probably did not know about them and anyway were too busy recording their own tales.  I do not recall barbarians in the East recording their stories in Greek.  The East was not even that interested in Latin literature.  Someone did translate De Bello Gallico into Greek, but that was probably for practical purposes.  I appreciate your thoughts and questions.  Theses are not or should not be made of adamantine; they should be more like nerf balls.
Well, as other posters have written there were some literary works produced in the "East".  How would Homer have inhibited it, could you expand on this?  It seems likely that with manuscripts having to be labourously written and most people not being able to read and that between war and decay and out-right destruction of books/scrolls/libraries of which there have grievously been many it wasn't the case that the Illiad and Odyssey were common.  Then there's also the question of lives that did not have the time to write down stories though it seems more than likely that there was some oral tradition.  Sitting around telling stories is something that Human Beings do.  :)

In England the only reason that we have some very old works is because Sir Robert Cotton, a Tudor-Stuart era gentleman, collected old manuscripts and would put them together and preserve them.  It is from his collection that we have the only copy of Beowulf and the Lindesfarne Gospels for example and even then part of the library was destroyed in a fire in 1731.  So there may have been even more literature from Constantinople and its empire that has not survived. Since religious institutions would preserve some works, that could account for more lives of the saints as opposed to folk tales in the East. Just a thought.

The history of manuscripts can be fascinating.  Sorry for geeking out.
 

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Santagranddad said:
Not Byzantine, unless you are some Protestant academic. For Orthodox they were East Romans or simply Romans.
I sense larping.
 

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Michał Kalina said:
Santagranddad said:
Not Byzantine, unless you are some Protestant academic. For Orthodox they were East Romans or simply Romans.
I sense larping.
Larping, please means what? Even the auto-spell check appears not to recognise this word, tks.
 

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Santagranddad said:
Michał Kalina said:
Santagranddad said:
Not Byzantine, unless you are some Protestant academic. For Orthodox they were East Romans or simply Romans.
I sense larping.
Larping, please means what? Even the auto-spell check appears not to recognise this word, tks.
Live action role-playing
 

Santagranddad

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Cyrillic said:
Santagranddad said:
Michał Kalina said:
Santagranddad said:
Not Byzantine, unless you are some Protestant academic. For Orthodox they were East Romans or simply Romans.
I sense larping.
Larping, please means what? Even the auto-spell check appears not to recognise this word, tks.
Live action role-playing
And I am not one wit wiser, sorry. Suspect that it is some useless social construct that advances the art of communication to precisely nowhere.

Thank you for spelling out the nonsensical phrase. :laugh:
 

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Ebor.  Well, first I would say that there is not a monolithic bloc of "the Reformers" and by that are you referring particularly to the 15th and 16th centuries or there abouts?  It is true that, for example, John Calvin and those with him in Geneva removed art and beauty and other things that might contribute to wonder from both church and daily life. Savonarola did much the same in Florence.  But that was not the case in England particularly in the growth of church music or if you consider the writings of John Donne or George Herbert.
DanM.  Music should be excluded from this discussion, since everyone seems to want nice music.  One of the very most beautiful little tunes I have ever heard was an oyster-selling song from way-back when.  Even England had waves of iconoclasm directed against religious art--three, if I am not mistaken.   

Ebor.  There is more to "western" Christianity than the sermons and studies. 
DanM.  Let's keep score.  When I was growing up, I could (1) go to Sunday school for Bible study or churchy study, (2) attend church to hear a sermon, (3) join in youth group activities, which combined fun things (sportsy stuff) with Biblical & churchy studies, (4) attend quasi-revivalist summer camps, where we did a lot of Bible and churchy studies, (5) read Christian books of all sorts, including Biblical commentaries and churchy stuff.  Most of this is talking, reading or listening.
Now I can (1) attend liturgy & other services, (2) visit the relics of saints, (3) read the lives of saints, (4) pray using akathists, canons etc., (5) light incense, (6) pray before icons, (7) see the occasional miracle & hear about others etc.  This longer list involves all senses & invariably entails experiences of wonder.

My guess is that the generic Protestant list reflects the concerns of the Reformers:  they rejected all Catholic superstitious activities in order to concentrate on the Bible and what they perceived as the fundamental facts arising therefrom (that these facts of salvation tended to come from St. Augustine's playbook is something to discuss elsewhere).  Their scholarly background set the tone for their followers.

Ebor.  May one ask which churches were your early experience?  If you would prefer not to say, I withdraw the question with apologies.
DanM.  Mais oui!  United Methodist, Free Methodist and (when my father joined the Army) generic Protestant.
 

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Nikolaos Greek said:
Ah. Still blind that HP is harmful.
And yes Cinderella can also be harmful like Harry Potter.
I admire your consistency.  In that case, you at least have a principled position.
 

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S'Dad.  The polarisation looking back appears to me to stem from entrenched viewpoints and a combative approach rather than a specifically Christian approach. The Holy Apostle Paul's words on Love come to mind.
DanM #1.  IMHO, polarisation often stems from the conviction that one's intuition is self-evidently true:  like a good axiom, one has only to apprehend it mentally to grasp its verity.  I do not wish to downplay intuition, but I do want to remember that intuition is not the only belief-generating mechanism; we also have perception, feelings and reason.  The job of reason is in this view to some extent that of corroborating or disconfirming an intuition.  Argumentation allows reason to do this.  If everyone (and here I am thinking much more widely than this forum) used truth-seeking devices to make decisions, polarisation would be eliminated.
DanM #2.  And now I have to disagree with myself.  I think polarisation is inevitable when intuition is regarded as the only required belief-generating mechanism, so that truth-seeking devices, even curiosity about others' opinions, appear to be superfluous at best and harmful at worst.
 

Shanghaiski

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DanM said:
Ebor said:
On this point:

4.  The Byzantines did not produce a body of narrative literature comparable to that of the West largely because the lives of the saints met the need for wonder in a spectacular fashion
I think that looking at this would involve such things in history as the rise of literacy, the printing press (recalling the fact that for a very long time every copy of anything was written out by hand), the collection of stories perhaps (the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault in France http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Perrault  and others) the state of society and more.  There were certainly plenty of lives of the saints and stories about them in western Christendom. And there was a tradition of literature in some form or other.  Consider Beowulf, the various Sagas and Gesta.  What was the literary tradition/culture in the Byzantine times?  Different cultures have different customs and that may have an affect on the lack of narrative literature.  Or it occurs to me, did it not survive the ages and warfare and more perhaps?

Just some thoughts for consideration
My thesis does not deny that the West had saints' lives, but that the East did not produce various sagas, epics, etc.  I suspect that the culture of the East (I mean, Eastern Roman Empire) was inhibited by its very inheritance--Homer, e.g.  The barbarians who blundered into the West were not over-awed by Homer or Vergil--they probably did not know about them and anyway were too busy recording their own tales.  I do not recall barbarians in the East recording their stories in Greek.  The East was not even that interested in Latin literature.  Someone did translate De Bello Gallico into Greek, but that was probably for practical purposes.  I appreciate your thoughts and questions.  Theses are not or should not be made of adamantine; they should be more like nerf balls.
Georgian Epic--The Man in the Panther's Skin by Shota Rustavelli
Russian Epic--The Lay of Igor's Campaign
I believe there's also a Serbian epic or three
 

Shanghaiski

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DanM said:
Michał Kalina said:
DanM said:
_The Way of the Pilgrim_, a book written in a state hostile to Orthodoxy, in a century that saw the birth of Darwin and Marx, is simply a coruscation of wonder after wonder.
I concur trarist Russia had negative impact on the Orthodox Church but I can't really call it  as hostile.
I am thinking of the embargo on Old Church Slavonic--the forced Jesuitification of the seminaries--the restriction of candidates for the priesthood to the sons of priests--the abolition of the patriarchate of Moscow--the prohibition of monasticism to all but widowed priests and such--the invention of the office of the Ober-Prokurator to superintend the churches--etc.  See Fr. Tom Hopko lectures on this at AFR and Jeffrey MacDonald's lectures on Russia at http://www.orthodoxchurchhistory.com/.
Eh, the 18th century was a very short time, and still had saints and productive spiritual literature. Monasteries were still founded. There were still hermits and holy fools, etc. And then came the 19th century renaissance, which, if you think of it, was more spiritually productive in terms of saints and writings and foundations than probably the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries combined given all the upheaval--Judaisers, Raskol'niki, Possessors vs. Non-Possessors.
 

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DanM said:
Ebor.  Well, first I would say that there is not a monolithic bloc of "the Reformers" and by that are you referring particularly to the 15th and 16th centuries or there abouts?  It is true that, for example, John Calvin and those with him in Geneva removed art and beauty and other things that might contribute to wonder from both church and daily life. Savonarola did much the same in Florence.  But that was not the case in England particularly in the growth of church music or if you consider the writings of John Donne or George Herbert.
DanM.  Music should be excluded from this discussion, since everyone seems to want nice music.  One of the very most beautiful little tunes I have ever heard was an oyster-selling song from way-back when.  Even England had waves of iconoclasm directed against religious art--three, if I am not mistaken. 
I'm afraid that I would not agree that music should be excluded as for one thing it comes in many forms and kinds, some simple, some complex, pieces that can transport one to another place or do other things. There can be wonder in music.  And to be slightly cranky about the subject, some church music is not "nice" at least to some people.  There have been modern pieces that sound like margarine commercials and others styles that someone else described as "calling the camels".  If by iconoclasm in England you are referring to things like the era of the Round heads and the Commonwealth under Cromwell, things are more complicated and I do not think that it can be attributed to "rationalism" vs "wonder". 
 
Ebor.  There is more to "western" Christianity than the sermons and studies. 
DanM.  Let's keep score.  When I was growing up, I could (1) go to Sunday school for Bible study or churchy study, (2) attend church to hear a sermon, (3) join in youth group activities, which combined fun things (sportsy stuff) with Biblical & churchy studies, (4) attend quasi-revivalist summer camps, where we did a lot of Bible and churchy studies, (5) read Christian books of all sorts, including Biblical commentaries and churchy stuff.  Most of this is talking, reading or listening.
Now I can (1) attend liturgy & other services, (2) visit the relics of saints, (3) read the lives of saints, (4) pray using akathists, canons etc., (5) light incense, (6) pray before icons, (7) see the occasional miracle & hear about others etc.  This longer list involves all senses & invariably entails experiences of wonder.
Meaning no disrespect and hoping that I am not crossing any lines of proper forum behaviour, but I have done all of those things as a Anglican, though we use some different words for things i.e. we don't use "akathist" for example.  Since you have cited C.S. Lewis, he was a member of the Church of England as an adult and to his passing.

My guess is that the generic Protestant list reflects the concerns of the Reformers:  they rejected all Catholic superstitious activities in order to concentrate on the Bible and what they perceived as the fundamental facts arising therefrom (that these facts of salvation tended to come from St. Augustine's playbook is something to discuss elsewhere).  Their scholarly background set the tone for their followers.

Ebor.  May one ask which churches were your early experience?  If you would prefer not to say, I withdraw the question with apologies.
DanM.  Mais oui!  United Methodist, Free Methodist and (when my father joined the Army) generic Protestant.
Thank you for the information on your personal experiences.  They do appear to have been low on the liturgical scale, though not ever having been any sort of Methodist personally I don't have much knowledge/experience in those Churches.
 

Iconodule

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DanM said:
Iconodule said:
DanM said:
4.  The Byzantines did not produce a body of narrative literature comparable to that of the West largely because the lives of the saints met the need for wonder in a spectacular fashion.
It's very possible they didn't produce as much, but Byzantine/ Orthodox culture did produce its share of epics. Off the top of my head: Digenis Akritas, the Kosovo cycle of heroic ballads, and the epic poems of Peter Njegos (most famously The Mountain Wreath). There is also the enormous wealth of fairy tales produced from various Orthodox countries.
You have plunged deep into the frontier of my ignorance.  My sources--more than 30 years ago--assured me that the Byzantines produced no creative literature.  By Byzantine, they meant--Greek-speaking Constantinopolitans.  
I don't know what else they came out with, but the Byzantine epic poem Digenis Akritas is comparable to medieval West European romances of the same period. You can read about it and related songs here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acritic_songs
 

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Iconodule said:
DanM said:
Iconodule said:
DanM said:
4.  The Byzantines did not produce a body of narrative literature comparable to that of the West largely because the lives of the saints met the need for wonder in a spectacular fashion.
It's very possible they didn't produce as much, but Byzantine/ Orthodox culture did produce its share of epics. Off the top of my head: Digenis Akritas, the Kosovo cycle of heroic ballads, and the epic poems of Peter Njegos (most famously The Mountain Wreath). There is also the enormous wealth of fairy tales produced from various Orthodox countries.
You have plunged deep into the frontier of my ignorance.  My sources--more than 30 years ago--assured me that the Byzantines produced no creative literature.  By Byzantine, they meant--Greek-speaking Constantinopolitans.  
I don't know what else they came out with, but the Byzantine epic poem Digenis Akritas is comparable to medieval West European romances of the same period. You can read about it and related songs here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acritic_songs
This really expands what had been a dark broom-closet into a nice-sized suite.  Thank you so much.
 

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I've listened to the audio of all of the HP books. I've seen and own all of the Movies on DVD and Blu-Ray. The idea that HP is of the devil or is driving people to Satan is extremely laughable. It is obvious that people who are taking this opinion have either A) Not read the series or B) Were looking for what they wanted to find rather than what was actually there. Let me explain:

The main character is a young boy who exhibits positive characteristics: bravery, loyalty, inquisitiveness, yearning to do the right thing, willing to sacrifice himself in order to save his fellow man (in this case the entire human and magic races). The very act of self-sacrifice (in the final book, in order to rid the world of Voldemort, Harry must accept death by Voldemort's hand. He selflessly accepts this after much inflection and like Christ, voluntarily accepts his fate to save his friends.

In the final book, there is a scene where Harry is transported to the Afterlife. This is certainly in line with Christian teaching, we believe in a life that exists after physical death. Harry is able to converse with Dumbledore who has passed on before him before he is revived on earth through mystical forces (Christ raised people from the dead as well). A quote from Dumbledore in Book 1 is particularly Christian based and supportive of the life after death, "After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."
To continue with this thought in a future book, he also says in Book 3, "You think the dead we love ever truly leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?" This is consistent with the idea that those who have died do not simply cease to exist, they exist in the life to come.

Another very Christian quote from Dumbledore in the final book, "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love". Is this not what Christ calls us to do? Love one another just as I have loved you? Is that not the scripture in a nut shell: For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten Son?
Shall we not look at 1 Corinthians 13 where it reiterates again and again the importance of love?
This love is a resounding theme in the HP series. A very Christian concept that love can conquer everything.
In Book 5 the main villain of the series Lord Voldemort is able to inhabit Harry's body for a period of time (demons are known to frequently inhabit humans). Eventually Lord Voldemort is unable to continue inhabiting Harry's body and is forcibly expelled. Dumbledore explains that it is the love that Harry hold within himself that makes Lord Voldemort unable to possess him.

How could a novel based on Love, a strong foundation of Christianity be considered the work of the devil?

-Nick

 

TheTrisagion

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ACK!  Before you write something like that, it is best to write SPOILER ALERT first.  :)
 

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TheTrisagion said:
ACK!  Before you write something like that, it is best to write SPOILER ALERT first.  :)
LOL! I figured that it's been 6 years since the final book has been released, but maybe there are some people with their book collections backed up Sorry for the spoiler  :-\
 

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admiralnick said:
TheTrisagion said:
ACK!  Before you write something like that, it is best to write SPOILER ALERT first.  :)
LOL! I figured that it's been 6 years since the final book has been released, but maybe there are some people with their book collections backed up Sorry for the spoiler   :-\
I keep promising myself that I will read it at some point since it was so huge, but somehow, something else always gets in the way. lol
 
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