Saturday, April 21, 2012

An Anglo-saxon monastery

I stayed up too late tonight to watch an episode of Time Team, a British archaeology show that has been running on Channel 4 there since 1994 - this episode was from about 1999, I believe. I stayed up because long ago I wanted to focus my academic work on Anglo-Saxon Christianity. This monastery in Northumbria - at Hartlepool to be exact - is very early, dating to the period ca. 600s-800s. As was fairly common in Anglo-saxon monasteries it included both monks and nuns under the headship of an Abbess - for a time the famous St. Hild, or as she came to be called, Hilda. One line interested me most - the older burials had the corpses laid north/south in the pagan manner, rather than east/west in the Christian - evidence of syncretism - a holding onto pagan customs even after conversion. Here is the link to the show on TVOntario [I tried to download the app for Channel 4, but it is not available in the Canadian iTunes store - more evidence of how far out of sync copyright is to the 21st century's normal practices - maybe I can find it on Pirate Bay!] St. Hild's Monastery, Hartlepool

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Saturday Meditation

A modern meditation - that is, one produce on the run!

This was prompted by listening to a show dedicated to the choral work of Orlande de Lassus, a Low Countries Renaissance composer, who lived his composing life in Munich.  While he was known also for secular compositions, he is remembered for his Motets, Masses, Magnificats.... and that got me to thinking about the almost entirely human-centred nature of all the arts today.  With the notable exception of Arvo Pärt, music, painting, sculpting, poetry, novels..... etc. etc. are human centred in the western world.  Islam is noted for religious art and architecture - but that was almost all produced in the past as far as I know.  The vitality of the artistic heart beats best in the West - but is human centred.

Can anyone correct me?

[post scriptum:  I do not apologize for the wikipedia links - if academics bothered to put good information on the net where the world lives today we would not NEED Wikipedia]