Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

More Church Fathers Stuff

Seeing as I've just started Dmitry Yemets' Methodius Buslayev series, I thought I'd go browse through a little St. Methodius. What do you know? I found a possible Tolkien source!

Remember the Beren and Luthien poem, which is called "The Lay of Leithian: Release from Bondage"? Remember how Luthien's power (which came to her from her mother Melian, a Maia just as Gandalf was) was to sing magical (or holy) songs of power and allure?

Well, here's Methodius with a little dialogue "Concerning Free Will" (bolding mine):

The old man of Ithaca, according to the legend of the Greeks, when he wished to hear the song of the Sirens, on account of the charm of their voluptuous voice, sailed to Sicily in bonds, and stopped up the ears of his companions; not that he grudged them the hearing, or desired to load himself with bonds, but because the consequence of those singers' music to those who heard it was death. For such, in the opinion of the Greeks, are the charms of the Sirens.

Now I am not within hearing of any such song as this -- nor have I any desire to hear the Sirens who chant men's dirges, and whose silence is more profitable to men than their voice; but I pray to enjoy the pleasure of a divine voice, which, though it be often heard, I long to hear again -- not that I am overcome with the charm of a voluptuous voice, but I am being taught divine mysteries, and expect as the result, not death but eternal salvation. For the singers are not the deadly Sirens of the Greeks, but a divine choir of prophets, with whom there is no need to stop the ears of one's companions, nor to load oneself with bonds, in fear of the penalty of hearing. For, in the one case, the hearer, with the entrance of the voice, ceases to live; in the other, the more he hears, the better life will he enjoy, being led onwards by a divine Spirit. Let every one come, then, and hear the divine song without any fear. There are not with us the Sirens from the shore of Sicily, nor the bonds of Ulysses, nor the wax poured melting into men's ears; but a loosening of all bonds, and liberty to listen to every one that approaches. For it is worthy of us to hear such a song as this; and to hear such singers as these, seems to me to be a thing to be prayed for.

Apparently, another fun Father is Tertullian. In "On the Pallium", he starts things out by telling folks in Carthage, "I rejoice that times are so prosperous with you that you have leisure to spend and pleasure to find in criticising clothing." Heh! Blog on, Tertullian! I must read more!


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