Okay, "chillingly" was perhaps a poor choice of wording, but I was hardly
trying to "brand" Christianity as an "opposing viewpoint."  Feel free to
substitute one of the following words:  surprisingly, unexpectedly,
strikingly, astonishingly, amazingly.  And it's not clear to me what
religious fanaticism has to do with any of this.  Are you suggesting that
Eclogue 4 really is a prophecy of the birth of Christ?

Shawn Smith

  

-----Original Message-----
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
[mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of fabio paolo barbieri
Sent: Monday, October 04, 2004 6:20 AM
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: RE: VIRGIL: Re: Ohio Girls, or: Back to Odysseus?

"Chillingly Christian"???  Either you withdraw that remark forthwith, or I
resign from this list.  And as for the character of Aeneas, read C.S.Lewis' 
brief remarks in A PREFACE TO PARADISE LOST.  And then tell me, if you have
the courage, that those are inspired by religious fanaticism (fanaticism
being the kind of attitude that can brand an opposing viewpoint as
"chilling") or by the insight of a great creative writer who was also one of
the greatest critics of the century.

>From: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
>Reply-To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
>To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
>Subject: VIRGIL: Re: Ohio Girls, or: Back to Odysseus?
>Date: Sun,  3 Oct 2004 21:32:39 -0400
>
>Quoting David Wilson-Okamura <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>:
>
> > At 09:02 AM 10/1/2004 -0400, it was written:
> >> "Founder of the faith"?  Which faith?  Certainly not Aeneas's faith.
> >> Isn't this just the tired old T. S. Eliot/Warde Fowler school of 
> >> the Judeo-Christian Aeneas?
> >
> > "Founder of the faith" = Father of the West. But why so scornful? If
>you've
> > read the book, fire away. Otherwise it's darkening counsel.
>
>Apologies for the scorn--perhaps I'm unconsciously absorbing some of 
>the vitriol from recent skirmishes on the Shakespeare mailing list!  
>Let me attempt to redeem (and clarify) myself.
>
>It's not that I think Haecker not worth reading, but the particular "piece"

>(to
>use David's term) of Haecker that is obsolete is his (and Eliot's) 
>attempt to say that Vergil is not entirely pagan, or that he is a pagan 
>who is not the same kind of pagan as Horace and Ovid (I think Haecker 
>calls Vergil an "adventist pagan," or something like that).  Yes, as 
>Brian points out, Augustine was powerfully influenced by Vergil (though 
>he attempts to distance himself from that influence in the Confessions, 
>no?), and he is part of a long tradition of medieval and Renaissance 
>writers who used the Aeneid to harmonize the ideological and cultural 
>discontinuities between pagan and Christian Rome (as Dante does at the 
>beginning of Inferno 2).  It's one thing for Dante to view Vergil as a 
>kind of proto-Christian poet, but it's quite another, I think, for a 
>modern scholar to do so.  The fact that Eclogue 4 sounds chillingly 
>Christian has resulted in a lot of great poetry, but I don't think any 
>responsible modern scholar would would claim that Vergil was actually 
>predicting the birth of Christ.  If one is trying to understand Dante, 
>it is useful to know how Aeneas *might* be viewed through the lens of 
>medieval Christianity, but if one is trying to understand Vergil, I 
>don't think the lens of Christianity is a very useful tool.  And not 
>all early Christian writers were  persuaded that Aeneas was an 
>appropriate model for Christian ethics.
>Lactantius, for one,  was deeply disturbed by Aeneas's slaughter of 
>suppliants after the death of Pallas (a clear violation of Anchises's 
>instructions in Aeneid 6:  "haec tibi erunt artes, pacisque imponere 
>morem, / parcere subjectis et debellare superbos").
>
>It seems to me that studies such as those by Thome, Barchiesi, and 
>David Quint do a much better job than Haecker, Eliot, and Fowler of 
>understanding Aeneas as a character because they do not idealistically 
>identify him as the hero of a nation or faith, or as a prototype of the 
>Christian hero, but because they view him as a character who represents 
>the kind of ambivalence evident in the most memorable heroes, such as 
>Achilles, who spends most of the Iliad in his tent wondering if heroism 
>is all that it's cracked up to be.  And part of the ambivalence about 
>Aeneas is that he must, tragically, become Achilles in order to found 
>the Roman empire.  He has made many sacrifices throughout the poem, but 
>in the end he must also give up the ethos of compassion and mercy that 
>has distinguished Trojan civilization in the past--and it is that ethos 
>that makes Aeneas attractive to Christian thinkers.  Jesus made many 
>sacrifices, including the ultimate one, but he did not give up his 
>ability to love and pity.  And in the end, I think the only way one can 
>make Vergil the beginning of European Christian literature is to ignore 
>the second half of the Aeneid--as many medieval poets did.
>
>Now, I realize there are different ways of thinking about this topic, 
>and I think this would be a great place to explore them.  But I think 
>it might be even more interesting if we collectively addressed Bob 
>White's original
>question:  How might one compare Aeneas to Odysseus?  Aeneas's 
>wanderings in the first half of the Aeneid are clearly modeled on the 
>Odyssey, but other than that it's difficult for me to see many 
>similarities between these two characters.  They are both dedicated to 
>the idea of home and family, but Aeneas will never be able to return 
>home, and he will never be able to enjoy the pleasures of the new home 
>he creates in Italy.  Odysseus is clearly more cunning and deceptive 
>than Aeneas, and more willing to stand up to the gods.
>But perhaps I'm missing something?  Is it possible that they are 
>opposites in some way?  Is Lavinia an anti-Penelope?
>
>Shawn Smith
>[EMAIL PROTECTED]
>
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