Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stifling the voice of knowledge

Throughout human history, believers have waged war against one another. Gnostics and mystics have not. People are only too prepared to kill on behalf of a theology or faith. They are less disposed to do so on behalf of knowledge. Those prepared to kill for faith will have a vested interest in stifling the voice of knowledge.
Topical food for thought from The Inquisition by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh who are best known for being the co-authors, together with Henry Lincoln, of the controversial The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. There has been considerable criticism of both these books and of the role assigned to Saint Dominic in the Albiginsian Crusade and the subsequent Inquisition.

A far more scholarly approach is found in the meticulously researched documentation accompanying Jordi Savall's 3 CD set The Forgotten Kingdom - The Tragedy of the Cathars which warns that many of the novels about the Albigensian Crusade "substantially distort the historical facts". In his impressive introduction to The Forgotten Kingdom Jordi Savall laments "the destruction of that remarkable civilisation which was "the land of Oc" and reminds us that, literary mistreatments notwithstanding, the Albigensian crusade stands alongside other historical genocides as proof that "absolute evil is always the evil inflicted by man on man". Which returns this post to its topical starting point.

* More on The Forgotten Kingdom here. The land of Oc, or Occitania, was the home of the troubadors who practised the art of courtly love celebrated in David Munrow's eponymous album which features here.

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2 comments:

billoo said...

Fascinating post, pli. Slightly wary of the word 'knowledge' there, though . Would have preferred 'understanding' because isn't theology knowledge and doesn't this set up a (to me) false dichotomy between faith and knowledge?

Anyway, I hope it's okay if I share this:

The creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your languages and of your colours are many wonders for those who reflect.
---Qur'an:30:22

May our love not be centered upon ourselves! May this love not incite us to love only those who are like us or to espouse ideas that are similar to our own! To only love that which resembles us is to love oneself; that is not how to love.
---Tierno Bokar.

best wishes,

b.

Pliable said...

Billoo, yes, I agree with you and I also share with you the 'wary' sentiment.

I hesitated over this post because any that points in the direction of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and related topics stands the risk of being consumed by a flame war.

But I took the risk and your path pointing in the direction of Tierno Bokar justifies the risk -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tierno_Bokar

'O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another...' - Qur'an, 49:13