Neil Gaiman

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[music  |  Anthony Hamilton "Can't Let Go" ]

...something that I found faintly shocking, but which explained something about the Middle Ages, was a paragraph in the William Granger Ryan translation of the The Golden Legend (which is much fuller and better than any of the Caxton versions of the Golden Legend up on line), where I learned, in the chapter on the Birth of Jesus that...
"Even the sodomites gave witness by being exterminated by wherever they were in the world that night, as Jerome says "A light rose over them so bright that all who practiced this vice were wiped out; and Christ did this in order that no such uncleanliness might be found in the nature he had assumed." For, as Augustine says, God, seeing that a vice contrary to nature was rife in human nature, hesitated to become incarnate."
The idea of a god of love whose first action, before becoming incarnate, was to cleanse by "exterminating" an indeterminate number of people for having sex with people of the wrong gender, is one I find remarkably disturbing, although it gives a very immediate picture of a specific mindset, not always medieval, just as the Grimm's tales in which Jews are laughingly killed set the stage somehow for the horrors of Nazi Germany.

from: Neil Gaiman "Divine Extermination and Wolves, Wolves, Wolves"


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