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mjhurst  mjhurst is offline
Join Date: 24 Jul 2003
Location: California, U.S.A.
Posts: 316
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Hi, Robert,

Originally Posted by foolish
And let's just throw every argument or theory which isn't supported with absolute proof into the same box. They're all the same nonsense, and equally deserving of ridicule.
Your sarcasm is completely unjustified. No one (except perhaps you) would suggest that.

That is precisely the essence of the "argument from ignorance": pointing out that we can't prove something with certainty and using that as the basis for some (usually absurd) conclusion. The alternative, which Mary keeps proposing and which you reject so emphatically, is to rely on evidence that does NOT rise to the level of "proof". Rather than demanding proof or insisting that Cathars remain a "possibility" as long at they can't be disproven, the alternative is to compare the evidence supporting alternative views.

It seems that you reject that approach precisely because it shows your thesis to be historically untenable. Even as you have backed away from so many of your central claims, the weak and ill-defined remaining thesis is still pretty silly. You now suggest that some unknown non-Cathar heretics at some unknown time and place made some changes that might represent some anti-Catholic dogma or history. But there is nothing to support even that weak, hand-waving "thesis".

Let me address one of your more dramatic blunders. Your most commonly and emphatically-argued point, that the Popess is indicative of this later heresy, fails completely and immediately because it was present in the Italian decks from the beginning of Tarot in the 1440s. It can't be a later alteration by heretics because it wasn't a later alteration.

Moreover, there are many dozen pre-Modern examples of a female figure with papal attributes being used to represent personified Catholic subjects. Tarot writers often mention Faith, but in reality the allegories were quite varied. These appear in such hotbeds of heresy as St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, as one of the examples Mary posted demonstrates.

Most significantly, it is easy to construct an interpretation of the Popess which is consistent with this external context of allegories, with the adjacent cards in the trump sequence, (the Papi), and with the overall design of the trump cycle. Not some random free-association about the card taken out of context, which is your preferred approach, but a fully coherent interpretation consistent with the mainstream Roman Catholic art, literature, sermons, treatises, theology, and sensibilities of 15th-century Italy.

The overall design of the trump cycle shows that the Emperor and Pope are the highest members of a ranks of mankind. This is the same role they play in literally hundreds of other works of art and literature related to the Gothic macabre, including the Dance of Death genre and various Triumph of Death works. The Empress and Popess are quite naturally interpreted as their subjects, over whom they rule just as a husband rules over his wife.

How hard was that? Seriously.

This idea is directly from the Bible, the Church Fathers, and medieval Catholic writers, as well as being reflected in Roman law. The terms sponsa and sponsus are naturally appropriate to the Empress and Emperor or Popess and Pope. This is analogous to the Church as the Bride of Christ, Sponsa-Ecclesia and Sponsus-Christi. In that guise the sponsa-sponsus motif was discussed in great detail during the Middle Ages by writers such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The popular Song of Solomon allegories were precisely on this subject. Just as the Virgin was equated with the Church, she was also the Bride of Christ. St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians (5:22-30) spells out the relationship between the "head" and the "body", a parallel metaphor:

Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
In terms of the lowest subjects of tarot's trump cycle, the allegory is reasonably simple. The Emperor and Pope are the heads of Imperium and Sacerdotum respectively. The Empress and Popess are the bodies, the subjects of those realms. Taken together, we have all members of Christendom. The Fool and Deceiver are outcasts, the damned, consistent with the Christian view of fools from Psalms and deceivers from various places including Proverbs and Revelation.

This does not rely on anything obscure or far-fetched. This creates a neat and -- for someone of that era -- fairly obvious design for the lowest section of trumps. This fits perfectly with the overall design of the trump cycle as a whole. There is a world of external evidence regarding the use of female figures with papal attributes as allegories and regarding the sponsa-sponsus relationship in Roman and medieval law and in Christian theology. No heresy is needed to understand the significance of the Popess, but historical knowledge is required.

I realize that you reject historical knowledge in favor of anachronistic story telling based on 20th-century folklore. Three weeks ago you again claimed that you didn't need any knowledge of history because you are not talking about history. Yet here you are still, regurgitating your ignorance on a forum titled Historical Research. What's that about?

Best regards,
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