Random Things

  • I have some big, long, deep posts in construction. As you can see, none of them have actually made it to the stage of being published anytime recently.
  • Partly, that’s due to multiple projects going on. Some are proceeding well, others have just dropped in my lap. Others need serious attention. More on this in the next few days including a liturgy resource announcement!
  • I just finished reading a classic work that I’d only skimmed and dipped into before, Pierre Riche’s Education and Culture in the Barbarian West. It’s the standard work to cite if you do anything on early medieval education. I have noticed, a trend, though—it tends to be cited, not quoted. Now I understand why… It’s dense and learned and all, but is able to provide very little in terms of what I’d consider the basic practicalities of early medieval education.
  • I have a piece up at the Cafe right now on the importance of guidance in reading—particularly the Creeds. I know some people like to bash the Cafe because it does have a strong progressive slant, but—as a self-professed moderate who trends conservative on doctrinal issues—I’ve never had an issue putting stuff up there: http://www.episcopalcafe.com/daily/scripture/stories_and_truth_1.php
  • There’s a great manuscript picture floating around on Twitter (no surprise, I’m @haligweorc…) of two rabbits tying a guy up. It’s a classic role-reversal motif. See it here:Bunnies Being Bad

Note the bunny on the right. The stick-and-circle looking thing hanging from his belt is a sword and buckler. That is, the buckler (a little shield) is hung from the hilt of the sword for daily wear. This was a fairly standard way to carry both basic offensive and defensive gear in one neat package. Based on our sources, this combo was the standard for the English middle and lower classes. begin rant So why is this combo and others like it that we see over and over in manuscript art and that appears in medieval weapon manuals so greatly neglected in historical fiction and fantasy? M and I love watching “Vikings” but it’s hard for me to get through an episode without commenting on weapon and armor choices clearly selected for the sake of visual spectacle rather than accuracy or utility. Fantasy movies are usually even worse. It always baffles me why a genre that seems to revolve so much around armor, weapons, and the people who use them get so much so wrong so often. If I ever get around to writing a fantasy novel you can be certain that at least one guy with an ultra-spiky +25 flaming broadsword of malice will find himself quickly skewered by a guy with a basic spear and shield…

6 Replies to “Random Things”

  1. Medical dramas always get medical procedures wrong. Cop shows regularly ignore actual police protocol. Musicians are constantly depicted on TV and in movies playing instruments in ways those instruments could never be played (and sometimes producing the sounds of completely different instruments). I can’t recall seeing an accurately vested priest in any movie I’ve seen. Either he’s wearing green at Christmas or the altar and vestments don’t match or the robes are simply inventions of the costume designer with no grounding in reality. (Mind you, those last could be some of our own more liturgically lax clergy.) Heck, even the show Friends portrayed friendship in a way I’ve never encountered in real life. Why should medieval weapons be any different?

  2. Your post on using the Creeds as interpretive guidelines reminds me of the Brazos Theological Commentary, which attempted to use the Nicene Creed’s theology to interpret scripture. According to a review by Luke Timothy Johnson it was hit-or-miss; a cool idea with so-so execution. Just wondering if you ever heard of it.

  3. When watching TV or movies I count gunshots in between reloads. This makes me insane, but not as insane as it makes my wife when I give my count report mid-scene.

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