Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The Delicately Nurtured Paula
So I don't know what to read right now. So I plucked THE CULT OF THE SAINTS by Peter Brown off the shelf and I saw "exorcism" in the index and I thought, "Oh no! I'm not going to read about that, am I?"... "To visit a late-antique Christian shrine could be a noisy and frightening experience. Jerome wrote of the first impact of the tombs of the prophets in the Holy Land on the Roman pilgrim Paula: 'She shuddered at the sight of so many marvelous happenings... she saw men howling like wolves, barking like dogs, roaring like lions, hissing like snakes, bellowing like bulls... women hung upside-down in mid-air, yet their skirts did not fall down over their heads.'" Somewhere on the next page Brown says, "It is hardly surprising that, when faced with such noisy and disturbing a phenomenon, modern scholars have, like the delicately nurtured Paula, blanched at the scenes enacted round the shrines of late antiquity." Ha ha, take that, modern scholars.