Friday, 17 June 2016

Confusing Genealogy And Authentic Dialogue

"...Hadding's son Frodi cannot be identical with Hrolf's great-uncle of that name."
-Poul Anderson, War Of The Gods (New York, 1999), p. 301.

According to the Skjoldungs genealogy on p. xv of Anderson's Hrolf Kraki's Saga (New York, 1973), Hrolf's great- (or great-great-?) uncle Frodhi was a grandson of Frodhi the Peace-Good so was Frodhi the Peace-Good Hadding's son Frodi? See comment here. They seem to have diametrically opposed personalities but people can change.

Dealings between Hrolf's grandfather Helgi and Queen Olof are so barbaric that I prefer to pass over them in silence.

A bishop says:

"'There is no harm in hearing about the forefathers, if we do not forget they were in error...Rather, it helps us to understand today's heathen, and thus learn how to bring them to the Faith.'" (...Saga, p. 4)

This is what a bishop of that era would have said but since then society has developed:

(i) different Christian perspectives;
(ii) secularist perspectives.

No harm? I would say that we owe it to ourselves to know about our ancestors. " harm..." is damning with faint praise. Were they "in error"? Some secularists say that any religious belief is error. I think that polytheism and monotheism are two phases of personification and were probably inevitable. They are deeper than mere errors. If someone is in error about a matter of fact and this is pointed out to him, then he accepts it whereas religious beliefs and world views are more deeply rooted. Some Christians now respect other beliefs and enter into dialogue with them rather than regarding knowledge of modern heathens merely as ammunition for proselytization.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Yes, I agree, people can sometimes change, for either the better or the worse. I think it is possible Frodhi the Peace-Good was King Hadding's son. Frodhi might have started out as a fairly typical wild young Scandinavian warrior and freebooter of that time and then came to have a change of mind and heart. A mix of hard experience and reflection on his father's teachings might have changed Frodhi.

I assure you, all CONVINCED Christians, Catholic or Protestant, will say at once that it is wrong to worship false gods, that it is an error to believe other gods exist. But I certainly hope Christians will seldom go in for FORCING conversions thru violence the way we see some of the early converts in Norway did in their naive, all too "viking" ardor.

I agree with your comments about the barbarity of the dealings Hrolf's grandfather and Queen Olof had with each other. A perfect example of what Poul Anderson meant by the "midnight" of the Dark Age.

And I'm still puzzled by your view of the bishop's comment, damning his "no harm" comment as merely damning with faint praise. His comment did not come across like that to me!

And we Christians, in this case Catholics, are called on to respect others. And had been ever since Our Lord commanded us to love even those who hate and curse us. And I know we have often failed to live up to that. But, "respect" does not mean we can or should agree with ideas we believe to be wrong. In this case, polytheism.