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 Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Wed 15 Feb 2017, 16:45

I've been thinking a fair bit about loyalty this week, and how certain types of people are more loyal than others, even in the face of clear evidence that  loyalty is undeserved. Someone remarked to me a couple of days ago that loyalty can be a person's greatest strength, but also his or her greatest weakness. I have been pondering these words.

Loyaute me lie was of course the personal motto of Richard of Gloucester, later Richard III: how appropriate this particular choice of maxim was is open to debate. But who were the really loyal men and women of history, and who proved themselves to be utterly disloyal?

Oaths of loyalty have always been important - still are in the USA. The Americans seem to love the drama of public oaths of allegiance, the Brits - surprisingly - less so these days. I know very little about what oaths have traditionally been taken here in England, so I found this from the National Archives website rather interesting. I had, for example, never heard of "the Solemn Association":

Between the 16th and 19th centuries various groups of people, from justices of the peace and church ministers to merchants, lawyers and members of the royal household, were required to swear oaths of loyalty to the Crown and the Church of England.

None can be said to include a majority of the population.

It cannot be assumed that all who were intended to subscribe did so.

Most surviving oath rolls date from after 1673, although the records C 215/6 and C 202/44/5 document the names of officers and men in the Royal Navy, arranged by ship, who took the oaths of allegiance and supremacy in 1660-1661.

The Solemn Association

The most comprehensive of these oaths was the ‘Solemn Association’ for the defence of the king and in support of the succession.

In 1696, following an attempt on the life of William III, Parliament passed ‘An Act for the Better Security of His Majesties’ Royal Person and Government’ (7&8 Will III c 26, 27; see The Statutes of the Realm, 1695-1701, pp 114-117).


http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/oaths-loyalty-crown-church-of-england/


So, an open thread really. Loyalty - any comments?
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Wed 15 Feb 2017, 17:59

Deviating a little away from "loyalty", but regarding oaths, it is interesting that in the UK at least swearing on the Bible and taking an oath or vow along the lines of "... so help me God" still seems to be a normal part of becoming lots of things, whether it's an MP, a member of the Privy Council, a member of Her Majesty's armed forces, a C of E clergyman, a judge, a policeman, a jurer etc. That is unless one actually volunteers the info in advance that one is of another religious persuasion, or more seriously an atheist, in which case that particular great binding oath would personally mean nothing at all. In such circumstances - and I would think these days they must be quite frequent - I gather one can take a differently worded oath of loyalty/honesty. But it does seem odd that the whole thing is entirely dependent on one being honest about ones private beliefs in the first place ... before swearing to be publically loyal and honest, and to, "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me ...", err with my fingers crossed behind my back.

Don't the Quakers also refuse, on specific religious grounds, to swear oaths or make any vows in/on "the name of God"?
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Wed 15 Feb 2017, 18:42

The crossed fingers are not always concealed, MM, here is the late Tony Banks, latterly Baron Stratford, taking the oath in 1997. His republican sympathies didn't seem to stop him accepting a peerage.




and then Rosie Kane in 2003 chose a different form of protest when affirming in the Scottish Parliament. Another republican, she was, at that time, a fervent follower of Tommy Sheridan, poor deluded lassie, but recanted the faith later.


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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Thu 16 Feb 2017, 09:04

I suppose the invocation of God or the gods as a witness or as witnesses to an oath has always been taken for granted. What gods did the Romans call upon when taking an oath of obedience or allegiance? Would an oath without reference to the gods have been quite unthinkable?

I've just found this on a very simple history site, but could not find the exact wording of the sacramentum. Clearly this was an oath of loyalty that changed a man's life for ever, the crossing of one's fingers  presumably never being allowed:


To perform their transformation from Roman citizens into Roman soldiers, the selected men would then have to swear an oath of allegiance.
This swearing of the sacramentum, changed the status of the man entirely. He was now utterly subject to his general's authority, and had thereby laid down any restraints of his former civilian life. His actions would be by the will of the general. He would bear no responsibility for the actions he would commit for the general. If he was ordered to do so, he would kill anything in sight, be it an animal, a barbarian, or even a Roman.
There was more than mere practicality behind the change from the white toga of the citizen to the blood red tunic of the legionary. The symbolism was such that the blood of the vanquished would not stain him. He was now no longer a citizen whose conscience would not allow for murder. Now he was a soldier. The legionary could only be released from the sacramentum by two things; death or demobilization. Without the sacramentum, however, the Roman could not be a soldier. It was unthinkable.



I remember being very struck when I saw Richard Eyre's production of King Lear in 1997 (just after the death of the Princess of Wales). The first scene of the play introduces the major themes Shakespeare intends to explore in the tragedy: loyalty, allegiance, the nature of a "bond" being one of them. Eyre's direction of the Earl of Kent (who dares, in the opening scene of the play, to challenge the wisdom of Lear's treatment of his daughter, Cordelia) was particularly striking. When opposed by this nobleman, Lear turns on Kent with the furious words:

Hear me, recreant!
On thine allegiance, hear me!


"Recreant" was a damning term and referred always to one who proves false, especially to his or her allegiance. The oath of allegiance here is the feudal oath of a vassal to his overlord, that promise of absolute obedience that still mattered in the 16th century and early 17th century, but the unconditional nature of which was something no king in England could surely ever take for granted. Kent's response was immediate - as was the shocked reaction of the other players on stage: this reference to "allegiance" was one that just could not be ignored. Eyre had Kent fall on his knees before his king, his head bowed in complete submission. But to no avail: he is banished. Interestingly in his next speech - in which this foolish king exiles his loyal but too honest and outspoken vassal - Lear refers to his own unshakeable "vow":

That thou has sought to make us break our vow,
Which we durst never yet, and with strain'd pride
To come betwixt our sentence and our power,
Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,
Our potency made good, take thy reward...


Lear was obviously a Stuart. I've often wondered what James VI made of all this, especially when Kent tells his "Liege":

...be Kent unmannerly/When Lear is mad. What would'st thou do, old man?

Cordelia has also in this scene challenged the nature and extent of "loyalty" -  in her case a child's duty of obedience and loyalty to its parent: a few lines earlier she tells her father with a similar uncompromising honesty:

...I love your Majesty
According to my bond; no more or less.


Nearly half a century ago I wrote by Cordelia's lines (in my student's copy of the play) - "And just what is that bond - to God, to King, to a parent? -  check and compare Cranmer's BCP - 'it is our bounden duty'..."

"Bounden" from to bind - same as lie?

Bit of a rambling early morning post, but what the heck - will still send.


Last edited by Temperance on Thu 16 Feb 2017, 13:01; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Thu 16 Feb 2017, 09:44

Temp wrote:
What gods did the Romans call upon when taking an oath of obedience or allegiance?

Their emperor, normally. And before that the public state. Pantheons don't lend themselves very readily to that particular superstition - invocations to specific gods for specific reasons can certainly be done, but for official and public occasions involving civic functions there was no authority higher (even among the gods) than one's fellow human as represented by the state, one's military commander in chief, or later the "first among equals".
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Thu 16 Feb 2017, 14:14

I've found this on dear old Wiki, so I have no idea how accurate it is:

In ancient Roman religion and law, the sacramentum was an oath or vow that rendered the swearer sacer, "given to the gods," in the negative sense if he violated it. Sacramentum also referred to a thing that was pledged as a sacred bond, and consequently forfeit if the oath were violated. Both instances imply an underlying sacratio, act of consecration.

The sacramentum differs from iusiurandum, which is more common in legal application, as for instance swearing an oath in court. A sacramentum establishes a direct relation between the person swearing (or the thing pledged in the swearing of the oath) and the gods; the iusiurandum is an oath of good faith within the human community that is in accordance with ius as witnessed by the gods.

Sacramentum is the origin of the English word "sacrament", a transition in meaning pointed to by Apuleius's use of the word to refer to religious initiation.



Not just an oath involving the Emperor or the State, then?

I see that pesky Tertullian started nit-picking and so causing trouble in the third century:


In the later empire, the oath of loyalty created conflict for Christians serving in the military, and produced a number of soldier-martyrs. Tertullian condemned any Christian soldier's willingness to swear the sacramentum, since baptism was the only sacrament a Christian should observe.


I bet that went down like a lead balloon with the military. How did they get round it when Constantine got God? I'm sure a  re-wording of the oath was quickly effected?
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Thu 16 Feb 2017, 15:04

The sacramentum isn't a public oath of loyalty - it's a dedication of anything to the gods. If I owe you money and I pledge to repay with such an oath then I am inviting retribution from the gods should I renege on my promise. Caesar famously devalued the sacramentum when he was pontiff - basically to try and welch on all the massive debts he owed at that point and in which he had invoked the gods' wrath when making them, which allowed him then to declare himself bankrupt and avoid paying altogether. According to Cicero it showed just how hollow such oaths were and proof that people with brass necks will trump gods every day of the week.

Official oaths of fealty relating to one's social status were made on the sacred authority of the state or the emperor, as Caesar also demonstrated on several recorded occasions. The main problem for Christians and other superstitious people later was that an oath of obedience such as made by soldiers (and in fact any publicly appointed officials) was simply that, a promise to unquestioningly obey another human being - the oath being both iusurandum (legally binding) and sacramentum (underwritten by divine authority) all rolled into one. Not a strictly theological dilemma but a legal one too given the potential for the non-Christian human to demand an un-Christian action from the swearer which would have to be illegally disobeyed.

If anyone other than the emperor was demanding sworn loyalty, such as a political candidate or a creditor, it was not unusual to jimmy up an oath very like the legal one which could be termed "ordinandis" or "abiusurandis", both of which simply meant an arrangement between two parties witnessed by others and which leaned towards being legal. No gods required there either. In fact it would have been regarded as the height of pretention and fairly ridiculous had anyone other than an emperor tried such a thing on. Such an oath was normally "in verba jurare" rather than "jurare verbis conceptis", but it still followed that basic rule.

A common invocation using any old god (and therefore which would have suited Christians) was the ubiquitous "Dii me perdant" which was basically "god condemn me if I tell a lie ...". However if you stuck that into a jurare verbis conceptis while swearing loyalty it would have come across as "God damn me but I'll be loyal to you then ...", which is probably what the swearer was indeed actually thinking but not something one was likely to say.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Fri 17 Feb 2017, 08:38

Thank you for that clarification, nordmann.

I'm sorry to be thus polluting the shades of Pemberley by giving a link to the Daily Mail, but have just read this. Diane Abbott has apparently taken the Oath of Allegiance this week, as indeed has her chum, Lady Nugee (aka Emma Thornberry).

The hard-Left radical has...accepted the warm embrace of the Establishment.

For I can reveal that Abbott, 63, who once co-authored a pamphlet calling for the ‘dismantling’ of the monarchy, went down on one knee in front of the monarch at Buckingham Palace this week. She kissed the Queen’s ring before swearing the oath of allegiance as part of the ceremony in which she became a member of the Privy Council.
...A spokesman for Abbott tells me: ‘Diane was sworn in, but she’s been advised not to talk about the procedure and exactly what happened.’


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4233124/Dianne-Abbott-swears-oath-allegiance-Queen.html

Corbyn of course took the oath in 2015:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/Jeremy_Corbyn/11865217/Jeremy-Corbyn-the-republican-agrees-to-kneel-before-the-Queen.html

The current wording of the oath, which has been adhered to since Tudor times, states: “You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done or spoken against Her Majesty’s Person, Honour, Crown or Dignity Royal, but you will lett [sic] and withstand the same to the uttermost of your power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. "

Mmm.

At least Abbott, Lady Nugee and Corbyn didn't (presumably) have to dress up in silly clothes like poor Prince Charles when he took his Oath of Allegiance to "become your liege man of life and limb" at his investiture as Prince of Wales. You can watch the  ceremony - "this hour of dedication" - here (link given below).


Did this really happen in my lifetime? It did indeed. How young they all look and how posh they all sound. It is cringe-worthy, I'm afraid, especially the sycophantic BBC commentary. Poor Charles - this is 1969 after all, when the rest of us were having such a great time (when we weren't doing our homework that is). He really is trying so very hard...




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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Fri 17 Feb 2017, 11:51

The royal oath of allegiance as cited above doesn't sound too bad to me, even what with me being a rabid, wild-eyed and committed republican in the old school sense. As it sounds to me it's just that you'll promise to keep an eye out for anyone who might be gunning for the girl, which I suppose you'd do anyway if you're even just a half decent skin. In fact you'd probably still do it after the old bat gets deposed, if she keeps in touch afterwards that is.

I notice it doesn't cover reporting suspicions you might have about yourself however, which is grand then if one is not only rabid, wild-eyed and committed, but also gun-toting.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Fri 17 Feb 2017, 13:32

One of the most notorious oaths. The oath of allegiance by the German Military to the personage of Adolf Hitler, instead of the Constitution which came into force in 1934>

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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Fri 17 Feb 2017, 16:32

You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the beauty of the old words quoted below  - er, wouldn't you? They are from the marriage service, as laid down in the original 1549 Book of Common Prayer. Yet how many millions have made - and then broken - these solemn promises? I think (can't remember) I promised to "obey" my husband, and perhaps, looking back, I did, although I definitely would not have called it "obedience" as such at the time. I think I was promising to co-operate rather than obey. But that's just verbal wriggling: co-operation is not obedience. I'm rather sad to admit this, but I'm somewhat uneasy these days at the whole idea of solemn, binding vows - of obedience, allegiance, love, or of anything else. Yet people still want to be married in church, still want to make all sorts of extravagant promises: a civil contract, followed by a service of blessing for those who are religious, seems far more realistic for everyone, be they gay or straight. Isn't that what happens in France? I suppose the wording of the religious service could be altered -  "I will" being replaced by "I'll try". We definitely lose something in translation there. But, as indicated in other posts,  "binding" oaths have never meant anything much anyway: the lawyers and the clerics can always find a loophole.



N. WILTE thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after Goddes ordeinaunce in the holy estate of matrimonie? Wilt thou love her, coumforte her, honor, and kepe her in sickenesse and in health? And forsaking all other kepe thee only to her, so long as you both shall live?

The man shall aunswere,

I will.

Then shall the priest saye to the woman.

N. Wilt thou have this man to thy wedded houseband, to live together after Goddes ordeinaunce, in the holy estate of matrimonie? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honor, and kepe him in sickenes and in health? And forsaking al other kepe thee onely to him, so long as you bothe shall live?

The woman shall aunswere

I will.
 
 

Then shall the Minister say,

Who geveth this woman to be maried to this man?

And the minister receiving the woman at her father or frendes handes: shall cause the man to take the woman by the right hande, and so either to geve their trouth to other: The man first saying.

I N. take thee N. to my wedded wife, to have and to holde from this day forwarde, for better, for wurse, for richer, for poorer, in sickenes, and in health, to love and to cherishe, til death us departe: according to Goddes holy ordeinaunce: And therto I plight thee my trouth.

Then shall they looce theyr handes, and the woman taking again the man by the right hande shall say,

I N. take thee N. to my wedded husbande, to have and to holde from this day forwarde, for better, for woorse, for richer, for poorer, in sickenes. and in health, to love, cherishe, and to obey, till death us departe: accordyng to Goddes holy ordeinaunce: And thereto I geve thee my trouth
.


Shocked





PS The Duchess of Cambridge, then Katherine Middleton, did not promise to obey her husband, Prince William, at her wedding in 2011,  "obey" being, in the context of the marriage service, a word described even by the Telegraph as "outdated".


And with the royal wedding less than a week away, there is growing speculation that Kate Middleton will drop what is increasingly seen as an anachronism from her own vows.
Diana, Princess of Wales, set a precedent in 1981 when she promised only to “love, comfort, honour and keep” the Prince of Wales.



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/royal-wedding/8469242/Royal-wedding-Kate-Middleton-likely-to-drop-outdated-obey-vow.html
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sat 18 Feb 2017, 10:43

Marriage, when you think about it, is less a declaration of love than it is an extremely public and apparently globally popular affirmation of inherent human dishonesty at almost every level one can apply the term. The notion that what might at best be called a set of vague aspirations on the part of the participants should then be transformed into a legally binding contract, sometimes with excessively cruel and inequitable punishment for some of those in breach of that contract (though the richer one is the less this applies traditionally), is not confined to marriage of course - the world of commerce is founded on such principles - but it does seem particularly incongruous, not to mention cruel, to forcibly apply it to the sphere of what at its core is simply friendship between humans. It has always struck me that marriage is the antithesis of friendship and that the only people who might actually need it are those who enter into certain relationships for reasons not anything to do with friendship at all. It is commercial in every sense excepting only sometimes the pecuniary one for those who don't have much to share anyway, and its emphasis on public and codified declarations of intent, however much believed as genuine declarations of love by the individuals involved, belies its true function as an extremely powerful form of social control with all the insinuations of actual power residing therefore with a third party who - we must assume - stands more to gain from the contract's legality than the ostensible "partners".

A horribly unromantic, not to mention egregiously manipulative, exercise in which the exact form and wording of that which is committed to the public record for reasons of "legitimisation" is of far less significance than that the notion of "legitimacy" has been applied to it at all.

Most public oaths of loyalty etc are conducted within very distinct social relationships in which the mutual advantage to all participants is obvious and generally understood to be in some way necessary for the common good. Those that aren't so obvious in this respect - such as those taken by freemasons and other secretive or marginal groups - are traditionally suspected of being socially subversive, until they can be proven not to be, or proven to be and thus suppressed, or indeed fizzle out as their importance and threat are overtaken by social developments of even more importance. That formalised "marriage ceremonies", despite their inherent dishonesty being easily exposed, have persisted throughout countless such social evolutionary developments either suggests an equally long lasting advantage pertaining to the third party involved or suggests a very human inability to distinguish between aspiration and reality. Probably both.

It's all about money, I reckon, and in particular how the bulk of it has been traditionally owned by an extreme minority of society's members. Social cohesion my arse.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sat 18 Feb 2017, 12:00

@Temperance wrote:
.... a civil contract, followed by a service of blessing for those who are religious, seems far more realistic for everyone, be they gay or straight. Isn't that what happens in France?

In France and Belgium, and I believe in many other European countries too, only the civil secular marriage is the legal one ... you can then go and have whatever ceremony, religious or otherwise, you like but the civil one is the only one that has any legal standing. This of course also neatly gets around any objections from specific religions  and I cannot see why this wasn't adopted in the UK as it would have avoided the C of E, the Kirk, and any other strict churches/temples/mosques getting themselves into a tizz about being "forced" to perform gay marriages. In France marriage is now no longer legally defined as being only possible "between a man and a woman", and so same sex couples can now legally marry (and with all that entails ... despite what the churches say this marriage lark isn't just a carte blanche for promiscuity, bestiality and group sex). Meanwhile the catholic church in France, as well as all other sects and persuasions, can still happily and legally refuse to perform gay marriages ... their own religious "marriages" don't legally count for very much anyway. And so everyone is appeased.

I was never married but had a PACS - Pacte Civile de Solidarité - which has evolved into the French form of a Civil Partnership and is now recognised as such under UK law. It was originally a bit different. As originally constructed it created a legal basis for shared ownersip of property, inheritance rights, inheritence of pensions, next of kin rights etc. outside of marriage. And so originally it was not unusual for it to be undertaken by siblings, brother and sister, two brothers or two sisters, so for example an elderly brother and sister, both unmarried/widowed, living together in the same house. ... Or just two life-long friends. However in all cases I think it was restricted to just two parties. But as it was equally applicable to same sex couples, during the 1990s it became increasingly used by gay couples ... and in the early 2000s it was the simplest means for I and my partner to secure our mutual rights once we'd bought property in France (and bearing in mind he was Belgian and I was British).

There wasn't much romaticism nor even any ceremony in becoming PACSed. We had a rendez-vous with an official in the town hall, turned up with the required documents (getting all those was a real palaver) and then in a scruffy back office, full of filing cabinets, box files and the photocopier, the legal document was typed up and we both signed (as I recall the wording was that I 'swore on my honor' that my declaration was true and I was freely entering into this contract, so much like any other legal contract) ... and that was it.

But a PACS just like a marriage is really all about securing and guarding social rights (to property, inheritance, pensions etc) and with responsibilities (to debts, support in old age and ill-health etc) ... rather than any romatic ideal or motives of social cohesion. They are both legal documents that primarily affect one's civil status. And crucially they are binding. I have a friend in Belgium who, many years ago when she was young, had a fling with an older guy and then suddenly got married whilst on a romantic holiday in Morocco. It was a very simple civil marriage but nevertheless because of international agreements it was fully recognised as valid and binding under Belgian law. They split up a few years later but not before his self-employed business had collapsed leaving large debts which she was legally co-responsible for ... and she was still having to help pay them off many years later, even once they had become legally divorced. She could ditch the man but not the debt. But rights come with responsibilities and so at the same time the now ex-husband was naturally forced to contribute to their son's upbringing.

Just as when one marries any previous wills become invalid the same applies with a PACS. Interestingly my UK Will was rendered invalid, not when I was PACSed as it was not recognised in Britain at that time, but some years later when UK Civil Partnerships became legal and similar civil registrations in Europe (including the French PACS) were recognised as equivalent in UK law. Through no direct action on my part my UK legal status had changed and so when Civil Partnerships came in my will was rendered invalid. As I say marriages and civil partnerships are all about legal status and its crucial effect on property, money, tax and inheritance.


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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sat 18 Feb 2017, 12:38

Property ownership is of course something that any cohabiting couple should address, if only for their own protection, and bundling this in with other related contracts regarding inheritance, debt management and the like is simply practical, whether it is then called a "civil partnership" contract (choose your term) or not. Such legislation has ancient roots - the example you mention above of how it has applied in the past in France to siblings parallels exactly Roman law (and probably can be traced directly back to actual Roman Law in that region), and this is an interesting point in fact. The bottom line in such a contract is not so much the result of a negotiation of terms by the "partners" but a legal affirmation by both parties that they recognise and abide by the rules already pertaining to the disposition of such property anyway. As you say, essentially a civic declaration unrelated to religion, or indeed love, at all.

In ancient Rome this also had nothing really to do with marriage as such (a union of two parties often arranged and enforced through third parties) but with formalising ownership and transfer of property as life and time progressed, and for that reason any subsequent divorce, even one bilaterally agreed by the partners, had little or no bearing on the terms, rights and claims to property that applied to the nominal members of the union, as Julius Caesar acknowledged when he decided his divorce from Pompeia had to be accompanied by a public declaration that her standing in law had not been affected in any way - in other words her "share" remained intact subject to the intervention of the state. He could no more divorce Pompeia than a brother could divorce his sister, at least when it came to property and legal rights, and he was telling everyone he knew this.

Caesar had good reason to make this a public declaration - in his first marriage both parties' legal ownership of assets had been usurped by Sulla as a politically motivated punishment measure and then returned to Cornelia but not to him, effectively rendering their marriage not quite illegal but an arrangement of no further legal significance regarding joint property, and as a consequence ending Caesar's ability to use this property as collateral in financing his career. In some Roman eyes therefore Caesar had been divorced twice, once under the state's volition from Cornelia and once under his own from Pompeia. However, even though in both cases the state and its laws of the day overrode all other considerations of what constituted a marriage partnership's public legal standing, it had crucially had no say in how the two parties privately judged the issue of whether they were married or not. Caesar, in declaring his recognition of this hierarchy of legality in which the state trumped everything - even when it hurt one where it mattered most, one's assets - except of course one's personal interpretation of a relationship being termed a marriage, cleverly translated his divorce from Pompeia (an extremely political manoeuvre at the time in which he distanced himself from a potentially damaging political faction of no further benefit to him anyway) into a public affirmation that one never really gets divorced at all in a strictly legal sense, the changing identity of one's spouse being of importance only to the individual and their close circle of family and friends, and that everyone's real marriage anyway was to the state. His "personal" status of marriage being transferred from Pompeia to Calpurnia had no bearing on his legally defined marital status and obligations, both of which he still respected. In fact he described his divorce from Pompeia purely as a protection of Roman "dignitas" which as a good and honourable Roman he was obliged to do, even though he liked her and publicly stated that she herself had done nothing wrong, despite the lurid rumours circulating after the "Bona Dea scandal" (many of which he had most likely set in motion himself). At one stroke he countered his conservatively religious and prudish political opponents who objected to any dissolution of a marriage and who wished to use his divorce as proof of his opportunistic disrespect for law when it suited him, and the late republic radicals - very much a nouveau riche set - who hoped they could protect and isolate issues of ownership from state intervention simply by calling them aspects of a marriage "contract" in a new society in which such commercial contracts were a legally unimpugnable basis of order, a group with which he most certainly did not want to be identified even if they chose to see him as their champion. He had behaved simply as a good citizen and servant of the state, as all Romans should aspire to be.

This was important as it was seized upon later under Christian rule to be a very notable precedent to the church's injunction that no one could get divorced, period. God had superseded the state but the same rule regarding who had the ultimate say in property ownership applied, in other words, though now it extended beyond physical property to the very "souls" of the parties themselves. Any "private" interpretation of status meant nothing against that imposed by the higher authority when it came to being a "good" citizen, as before, the crucial difference now being that this authority had nothing any more to do with social conventions, contract and organisation, but was deemed to emanate from an unassailable and supernatural realm, a realm moreover in which retribution would be taken against anyone who dared to attemptedly adhere to a "private" interpretation which contradicted the imposed one. It was a gross subversion, in fact an absolute perversion, of the old Roman legal principle but once undertaken gave this rather new take on the matter an apparently ancient philosophical and somewhat legal pedigree, dubious even to contemporary onlookers but sufficient in its day to facilitate enactment into law itself.

All of which of course has nothing to do with any associated public declaration of loyalty (let alone obedience) between the marrying parties, which was something however that under religious rule became very much a crucial clause shoehorned into the legal bundle, the extent to which it then became part of the binding contract variable, depending on how much control the religious body subsequently assumed or was allowed to exert at any given time in that society. Which all sounds very pedantic to we Europeans who for the most part have mitigated such influence from the religious side in these matters, until one takes into account the often horrendous punishment such rules still entail for breaches of that part of the deal, such as in cases of "unfaithfulness", as interpreted by these religious legislators where they still retain that power, in particular punishment dished out to women.

So you are right - when reduced to the disposition of inanimate property marriage has only a tangential bearing on any political interpretation of social cohesion. It is simply one aspect among many to a very complex legal structure contributing to such cohesion. But when the concept of property is extended to the very much animate parties entering the contract, and when enforced with theological rather than logical justifications, then the same enforcers' view of what constitutes social cohesion comes very much to the fore and in fact sometimes overrides the basic principles of justice themselves.

Romance it ain't.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sat 18 Feb 2017, 22:14

@Meles meles wrote:
@Temperance wrote:
.... a civil contract, followed by a service of blessing for those who are religious, seems far more realistic for everyone, be they gay or straight. Isn't that what happens in France?

In France and Belgium, and I believe in many other European countries too, only the civil secular marriage is the legal one ... you can then go and have whatever ceremony, religious or otherwise, you like but the civil one is the only one that has any legal standing. This of course also neatly gets around any objections from specific religions  and I cannot see why this wasn't adopted in the UK as it would have avoided the C of E, the Kirk, and any other strict churches/temples/mosques getting themselves into a tizz about being "forced" to perform gay marriages. In France marriage is now no longer legally defined as being only possible "between a man and a woman", and so same sex couples can now legally marry (and with all that entails ... despite what the churches say this marriage lark isn't just a carte blanche for promiscuity, bestiality and group sex). Meanwhile the catholic church in France, as well as all other sects and persuasions, can still happily and legally refuse to perform gay marriages ... their own religious "marriages" don't legally count for very much anyway. And so everyone is appeased.

I was never married but had a PACS - Pacte Civile de Solidarité - which has evolved into the French form of a Civil Partnership and is now recognised as such under UK law. It was originally a bit different. As originally constructed it created a legal basis for shared ownersip of property, inheritance rights, inheritence of pensions, next of kin rights etc. outside of marriage. And so originally it was not unusual for it to be undertaken by siblings, brother and sister, two brothers or two sisters, so for example an elderly brother and sister, both unmarried/widowed, living together in the same house. ... Or just two life-long friends. However in all cases I think it was restricted to just two parties. But as it was equally applicable to same sex couples, during the 1990s it became increasingly used by gay couples ... and in the early 2000s it was the simplest means for I and my partner to secure our mutual rights once we'd bought property in France (and bearing in mind he was Belgian and I was British).

There wasn't much romaticism nor even any ceremony in becoming PACSed. We had a rendez-vous with an official in the town hall, turned up with the required documents (getting all those was a real palaver) and then in a scruffy back office, full of filing cabinets, box files and the photocopier, the legal document was typed up and we both signed (as I recall the wording was that I 'swore on my honor' that my declaration was true and I was freely entering into this contract, so much like any other legal contract) ... and that was it.

But a PACS just like a marriage is really all about securing and guarding social rights (to property, inheritance, pensions etc) and with responsibilities (to debts, support in old age and ill-health etc) ... rather than any romatic ideal or motives of social cohesion. They are both legal documents that primarily affect one's civil status. And crucially they are binding. I have a friend in Belgium who, many years ago when she was young, had a fling with an older guy and then suddenly got married whilst on a romantic holiday in Morocco. It was a very simple civil marriage but nevertheless because of international agreements it was fully recognised as valid and binding under Belgian law. They split up a few years later but not before his self-employed business had collapsed leaving large debts which she was legally co-responsible for ... and she was still having to help pay them off many years later, even once they had become legally divorced. She could ditch the man but not the debt. But rights come with responsibilities and so at the same time the now ex-husband was naturally forced to contribute to their son's upbringing.

Just as when one marries any previous wills become invalid the same applies with a PACS. Interestingly my UK Will was rendered invalid, not when I was PACSed as it was not recognised in Britain at that time, but some years later when UK Civil Partnerships became legal and similar civil registrations in Europe (including the French PACS) were recognised as equivalent in UK law. Through no direct action on my part my UK legal status had changed and so when Civil Partnerships came in my will was rendered invalid. As I say marriages and civil partnerships are all about legal status and its crucial effect on property, money, tax and inheritance.

Of course it is a legal contract as you and Nordmann says, even going back to the Roman legislation. Just have read a book about Cicero: Dictator from Harris among others about the legal marriage of Cicero, but I will highlight if further in a reply to Nordmann...
Back to the legal contract. About free cohabitating...I divorced without children...my wife divorced with children...we cohabitating without declaration at the municipality...Some of the municipality pushing me to make the declaration...

It is in Dutch but I have also something in French...
https://www.notaris.be/huwen-samenwonen/ongehuwd-samenwonen/erfbelasting
https://www.notaire.be/se-marier-vivre-ensemble/l-union-libre-ou-la-cohabitation-de-fait

As we are in "union libre" I have to make a testament to my wife as she is legally a stranger to  me. But the tricky one is that as we cohabitate more than one year in "union libre" (now some 34 years) or is that "cohabitation de fait"? she with that testament has all the rights of heritance as any sibling of me in direct line, hence interesting inheritance taxes...
But again some tricky in Belgium that is only in the Flemish region (since 2001) in the Brussels region you have to have to legitimate your cohabitation before you can have this interesting inheritance taxes...but with this legitimation there comes again some legitimate consequences as within a marriage...I guess you have then to have to divorce again to gain again the status of before...?

Yes Meles meles you know me...Union fait la force...now the three regions make different legislation...it is nearly as in the US states...
For instance since 1 january of this year in the Flemish region on all secondary roads there is maximum speed of 70 km pro hour (43 miles pro hour) and the exceptions have to be marked with 90 km pro hour. In the Walloon and Brussels region it is still a maximum of 90 km and the exeption of 70 km has to be marked by panels...seemingly those of the Flemish region want to mark that you enter the Flemish soil... Wink  and now there is a battle about the flying above the Brussels region...a bit the Heathrow debate...only that in Belgium it is always an interregional "struggle"...

Kind regards from you Belgian friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 19 Feb 2017, 13:03

Thank you for these interesting and erudite replies. I am especially thoughtful after reading about Roman law. The marriage of Roman and Jewish law has proved difficult for women over the ages; yet, in its own way, it could be said that it offered women "protection", too. Obedience comes with a price tag.

I'm reminded of Anne of Cleves: her wedding ring was engraved with the hopeful and naïve words: "God send me well to keep". She returned it to Henry VIII when her marriage settlement had been determined by his lawyers, enclosing a message and a request: "...the ring delivered unto her at their pretensed (sic) marriage, desiring that it might be broken in pieces as a thing which she knew of no force or value."


Anne was sensible enough to know when she was well shut of her husband: in her relief that it was not to be a matter of "til death us departe", she couldn't sign the divorce settlement fast enough. She knew what a good thing she was getting:

1) an extraordinary annual income;

2) three manor houses of her own including Hever Castle, the late Queen Anne Boleyn's childhood home;

3) title of the "King's Sister". She would be second only to (whoever happened to be) the Queen of England in rank. She was one of the first independently wealthy women of the age.

I suppose all "feminists" (please note ironic inverted commas) should cheer her.

But it was a bad business, gentlemen, as women have always known.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 19 Feb 2017, 14:11

"Pretensed" is quite ok in that sentence, meaning as it did "intended" or "not yet happened". And it wasn't rude to return it for the reasons stated - her keeping it would have shockingly implied she still saw a meaning to retaining it which would have been quite an insulting contradiction of what she had just been told, so the words used are simply a polite confirmation of what his lawyers had said was his will in the matter. All very nice behaviour in those days.

I'm not sure it's fair to imply that Christian marriage evolved as a fusion between Roman law and Jewish law. By the time Christians were in a position to impose legal rules surrounding marriage they were very much of local origin and any Jewish heritage had long been dismissed as a backstory. The Christian injunction against divorce, I reckon, was in fact a direct descendant of the Roman conservative lobby in the senate and magisterium (a concept with the same name retained to this day in the Catholic Church) which had always pressed for legislation that protected the original highly patriarchal make-up of top Roman society, and specifically with a view to limiting power to a handful of "families". Whenever they had the upper hand Roman society saw a sizeable shift of real power and wealth into the hands of a very few, a perfect model - and moreover a tried and trusted one - to adapt to a theocracy which had reasons of its own not to democratise its machinery. Divorce in Roman law therefore followed after some very basic assumptions regarding, for example, women's place and role in society. They could divorce. They could even initiate a divorce. But only if they had another patrician in mind who would accept them as their property, or to which they could revert as property. It was an expensive and highly political maneouevre, not open to the minions except in liberal times, and one which the Catholic Church continued in that vein in the form of judicial annulments (also expensive and only available to the rich and powerful).

What little I know about Jewish law on the matter is that as long as everyone played by the theological rules the divorce option was present and available to both sexes regardless of social status, though it was couched in terms of "disownment" rather than marriage dissolution. I see no evidence of that attitude ever having made it into established Christian society once it ran on theocratic lines.

I really believe that any society's real attitude to what marriage entails is to be deduced most accurately from how it handles divorce, or at least the attitude of the ruling class on the matter. While the plebs can be forced to behave within very severe restrictions and be fed a lot of gumph about loyalty, obedience and "til death" etc, it is often simply a political expedient to ensure that those who are rich enough to bypass these restrictions pay through the nose for the privilege. Henry VIII's major crime may not have been that we wished to have a divorce at all, but that he went about it on the cheap. In the first two hundred years of Christianity in Scandinavia, for example, in a general society which in effect very closely resembled the old mafia-style Roman patriarchal power structure with all the shifting alliances and marriage unions these entail, there was hardly a king who did not secure permission for at least one divorce, and some even more than Henry ever needed, even if one counts the two executions he ordered as divorces of a kind - Henry style. Yet none of these merited even a footnote in history, and definitely never precipitated a theological dilemma for the Church.

Like the conservative Roman senate, even under the emperors, anything was possible for potentates as long as due deference and procedure was paid and followed, the bit that Henry in his impudence chose to ignore, or at least not pay for. The restrictions were reinforced through being strictly applied to the plebs, and then the expensive workarounds could be negotiated with those who could afford it in that light. I see no difference between the traditional Catholic Church behaviour in this regard from its Roman precedent whatsoever.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 19 Feb 2017, 14:56

Regarding divorce procedures in RC Church, the Dutch novelist Anton Roothaert, do in his description 'Vlimmen contra Vlimmen' [I refer to a Danish translation from the 1950'es] who somewhat humorously describes these, as happening in the Southern Provinces (primarily Northern Brabrant) of the Netherlands in the 1930'es - then largely RC dominated.

I have no means of verifying what Mr. Roothaert depicts, but it seems not far from Nordmann's above, but do refer to this link https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Roothaert
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 19 Feb 2017, 14:58

"Pretensed" meant rather more than your narrow definition. It was such a clever word for Anne to have chosen ( and I rather think it was she, rather than her advisors, who plumped for this particular, very telling word). Here are the many meanings or interpretations of "pretensed". Henry was clearly - and very politely - being invited to take his pick:

pretense
(Ostentation), noun affectation, affectedness, airs, artificiality, blatancy, bravado, demonstration, display, empty show, false appearance, false show, fanfaronade, flagrancy, flashiness, flourish, fuss, garishness, gaudiness, glare, glitter, grandiosity, histrionics, impressive effect, insincerity, loftiness, mockery, obtrusiveness, ostentation, ostentatiousness, outward show, panache, parade, pomp, pomposity, pompousness, pose, pretension, sham, show, showiness, splash, splurge, theatricality, unnaturalness, window-dressing.

pretense
(Pretext), noun appearance, beguilement, bluff, camouflage, cheat, claim, cloak, color, cover, deceit, disguise, duplicity, empty words, excuse, fabrication, false appearance, false plea, false show, falsehood, falseness, falsification, feint, forgery, fraud, fraudulence, guise, hoax, hypocrisy, imitation, invention, lie, mask, mendacity, ostensible purpose, ostensible reason, plea, professed purpose, ruse, semblance, sham, show, simulation, subterfuge, trick, trickery, untruth.


Associated concepts: false pretnese, fraudulent pretense, larreny by false pretense.

See also: appearance, artifice, bad faith, color, counterfeit, cover, deceit, disguise, excuse, false pretense, falsehood, falsification, fraud, histrionics, hoax, hypocrisy, imposture, indirection, look, misstatement, pretext, rodomontade, role, sham, story, subterfuge


As for the marriage of Roman and Jewish law as regards marriage, divorce and the status of women, I refer you to the book I have just finished: "The Illegitimacy of Jesus: A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the Infancy Narratives" by Professor Jane Schaberg.

As a not-very-good-but-tries-very-hard Protestant, I've never had much time for the Virgin Mary and all that embarrassing Catholic Marian idolatry stuff. Schaberg's brilliant book has made me think again. "Obedience" has taken on a new meaning. The Virgin Mary was a feminist heroine of the first order, whatever Celsus said.

I await your howls of execration.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 19 Feb 2017, 15:13

"Pretense" would be defined in a modern dictionary just as you describe. I'm not sure how many of these Anne of Cleeves had access to however.

Execrations over - the Church's theological take on the evolution of its practices has always differed, sometimes rather crucially and fundamentally, from the plain historical narrative even its own records reveal. I'll definitely read that book - it's just the kind of thing Scandinavian winters are designed for in my view so the timing is perfect - but I will read it as the theological dissemination it was intended to be by the late Professor of Religious Studies and not as history. Deducing feminist angles within Christian scripture is a tough proposition, and I believe Schaberg did it with some literary aplomb. In the alternative universe to hers however, in which "Jesus", "Mary" and the rest of the cast are less historical characters than theological constructs, there is little historical deduction to be gleaned from the exercise except maybe in how theologians subsequently thought while the real world persisted in going on around them. But we'll see ...
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 19 Feb 2017, 15:14

PS This is the picture on the cover of my copy of Schaberg's book. I think it is beautiful. It is "The Virgin Annunciate" by Bernardo Cavallino ( 1616 - c. 1656).

I had never seen this picture before.


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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 19 Feb 2017, 15:14

Crossed posts.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 19 Feb 2017, 15:23

Yes, Cavallino probably painted it - little is known about the guy's life except that he featured in two adultery cases and that he died young, probably of the plague that hit Naples in 1656. However back in the 1800s it was decided that any offbeat and unattributed Virgin Mary or related saint-type from southern Italy in the first half of the 17th century should be credited to him as this was about all that anyone knew he had been noted for artistically in his day - defying artistic conventions regarding colour schemes, faces and poses etc. So now these are officially ascribed to him whenever a real culprit cannot be found.

This one is also rather striking and offbeat for its day. Another Cavallino BVM looking remarkably like she was probably a mistress of the artist:



But we digress ... even from the execratory stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 19 Feb 2017, 17:26

@Nielsen wrote:
Regarding divorce procedures in RC Church, the Dutch novelist Anton Roothaert, do in his description 'Vlimmen contra Vlimmen' [I refer to a Danish translation from the 1950'es] who somewhat humorously describes these, as happening in the Southern Provinces (primarily Northern Brabrant) of the Netherlands in the 1930'es - then largely RC dominated.

I have no means of verifying what Mr. Roothaert depicts, but it seems not far from Nordmann's above, but do refer to this link https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Roothaert

Another digression, but well worth it so please forgive me. I had forgotten Vlimmen, Nielsen. For those of us who aren't Paul one can use the autotranslate setting in YouTube to enjoy the excellent "Dokter Vlimmen" from 1979. It could be subtitled "Vlimmen versus the Christians", but then so could all three of the books.

For English members: think "All Creatures Great And Small", but better.

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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 09:42

@nordmann wrote:
"Pretensed" is quite ok in that sentence, meaning as it did "intended" or "not yet happened". And it wasn't rude to return it for the reasons stated - her keeping it would have shockingly implied she still saw a meaning to retaining it which would have been quite an insulting contradiction of what she had just been told, so the words used are simply a polite confirmation of what his lawyers had said was his will in the matter. All very nice behaviour in those days.


The request for the smashing to pieces of the ring was perhaps not necessary, though?


@nordmann wrote:
I'm not sure it's fair to imply that Christian marriage evolved as a fusion between Roman law and Jewish law. By the time Christians were in a position to impose legal rules surrounding marriage they were very much of local origin and any Jewish heritage had long been dismissed as a backstory. The Christian injunction against divorce, I reckon, was in fact a direct descendant of the Roman conservative lobby in the senate and magisterium (a concept with the same name retained to this day in the Catholic Church) which had always pressed for legislation that protected the original highly patriarchal make-up of top Roman society, and specifically with a view to limiting power to a handful of "families". Whenever they had the upper hand Roman society saw a sizeable shift of real power and wealth into the hands of a very few, a perfect model - and moreover a tried and trusted one - to adapt to a theocracy which had reasons of its own not to democratise its machinery. Divorce in Roman law therefore followed after some very basic assumptions regarding, for example, women's place and role in society. They could divorce. They could even initiate a divorce. But only if they had another patrician in mind who would accept them as their property, or to which they could revert as property. It was an expensive and highly political maneouevre, not open to the minions except in liberal times, and one which the Catholic Church continued in that vein in the form of judicial annulments (also expensive and only available to the rich and powerful).

What little I know about Jewish law on the matter is that as long as everyone played by the theological rules the divorce option was present and available to both sexes regardless of social status, though it was couched in terms of "disownment" rather than marriage dissolution. I see no evidence of that attitude ever having made it into established Christian society once it ran on theocratic lines.


I think you are wrong about that. But this is not the thread to argue about such things and I doubt anyone is interested anyway.


PS Of course the Virgin Mary is "a theological construct". That's what Schaberg's book is about. But her thesis is that Luke and Matthew were not actually to blame: read carefully, their nativity narratives, although their main purpose was to explore the theological significance surrounding the peculiar origins of Jesus of Nazareth, also try to give - or at least hint at - the truth about what may really have happened to the girl who gave birth to him. Schaberg is suggesting that the suffering and disgrace of the mother at the beginning of this significant life paralleled the suffering and disgrace of the son at its end. And all this shame and humiliation had a purpose: it was necessary. Mary suddenly becomes a real person - and the words of the Magnificat take on a whole new meaning. But, again, this is not the time nor the place for such discussion. Back to history - to allegiance and obedience.

Great traitors in history anyone?
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 10:11

"Luke" and "Matthew" are theological constructs too, you know. Trump didn't invent the post-truth world - it has an ancient and very religious pedigree.

There is no issue about what "really" happened to the girl - in exactly the same way that there is no issue about what "really" happened to Tess, or Lorna Doone, or Lucy Beale for that matter. There might be an interesting discussion about what the author "really" intended, but in a case where even the authors are post-truth concoctions this becomes very difficult anyway, if not actually just more pointless. I assume Schaberg just took them all to be "real" and started from there. Well, of course she did - otherwise there's no book.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 10:31

@nordmann wrote:
"Luke" and "Matthew" are theological constructs too, you know. Trump didn't invent the post-truth world - it has an ancient and very religious pedigree.


I am fully aware that we have no idea who "Luke" and "Matthew" really were: they are just names. But someone wrote the texts; they are there, in black and white, and some human, whatever his name (unlikely to have been a woman) produced them. Whoever they were, they included some very disconcerting details in their stories. Unlike the fundies, I do not believe God sent them to us by celestial fax machine; had he done so, perhaps his would have been an appropriately sanitised and acceptable version of events. That's what the fundies have tried to turn these writings into - and it just doesn't wash.


@nordmann wrote:
There is no issue about what "really" happened to the girl - in exactly the same way that there is no issue about what "really" happened to Tess, or Lorna Doone, or Lucy Beale for that matter. There might be an interesting discussion about what the author "really" intended, but in a case where even the authors are post-truth concoctions this becomes very difficult anyway, if not actually just more pointless. I assume Schaberg just took them all to be "real" and started from there. Well, of course she did - otherwise there's no book.


Schaberg, like most serious New Testament scholars (not just nutty religious types), accepts that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical personage - someone who lived, a real flesh-and-blood human being. He therefore had a real mother like us all, unless you take the docetic view that he was a sort of first century hologram (unlikely, but I suppose these days you never know). The real Mary is just that - real: she is not a "fiction", a sort of Jewish Tess of Galilee,  although the early Church undoubtedly later turned her into a "construct", and a very useful one too.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 10:51

Serious New Testament scholars may be serious scholars, but they are also in fact highly qualified hypotheticians - though you will never hear this said out loud by any of them.

Were I to attempt to convince you that I could psycho-analyse the "real" Lady Macbeth based on her character in Shakespeare's play you would rightly think of me as a crank. However I could refute this by pointing to the intellectual rigour I applied to the task, and that I was fully aware I was working with a construct. I could even acknowledge that there's some doubt that Shakespeare actually wrote it. I'd be arrogant and rather stupid if I did so, but of course I could do it all the same.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 11:19

Point taken, but then would it not also be stupid and arrogant for someone to be forever suggesting that Shakespeare was writing total crap - and that his ideas were not worth analysing and discussing simply because the characters in the plays were "made up"? The New Testament is a strange mixture I grant you, much of it "made up", but the woman known as Mary lived, and gave birth to a son who was later executed by the Romans. Schaberg is not attempting to "psychoanalyse" her - that's a nonsensical thing to suggest: this respected scholar is looking at some of the very odd things that Luke and Matthew - or whoever - wrote about her and about her husband, Joseph, details from the nativity narratives that are usually ignored, certainly never discussed, but details which, when explored by an expert like Schaberg, make one see things in a whole new light. It's interesting intellectually if nothing else. Certainly not "stupid" writing for presumably "stupid" readers.

But what's the good of wittering on like this? Pointless. I should never have introduced these ideas: it was asking for trouble. Yet more frustration at the impossibility of discussing such things on this site. It's the old row, isn't it - done to death by you and Tim and which everyone is sick to death of - did any of these people actually exist? As if that's all that matters. It is not.


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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 11:26

Right then, oaths and religious loyalty have had an airing - but what about loyalty without either? Loyalty to ideals and ones country - or family, warts and all - with dog-like devotion? When does the strength  become a weakness?
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 11:35

That's a good point, Pricilla. When "loyalists" in Northern Ireland, for example, start baying for the blood of the queen's appointed ministers when a policy is proposed to which the "loyalists" are opposed, exactly what or who are they being "loyal" to? Every time this question is asked (and at this point quite a number of times over the last few decades) it elicits a different answer from whoever you ask - loyalty to orange principles, loyalty to the crown but not its government, loyalty to the principle of monarchy but not the current set-up, loyalty to one's "tradition", loyalty to one's "community" etc. So in theory one could have a room full of "loyalists" no two of which would agree with each other exactly what they were being loyal to at all.

This isn't so much a "warts'n'all" blind loyalty in the sense you mean it, but the end result is equally as blind, and in fact if pushed into a corner all of them would defiantly claim to be "loyal through thick and thin, etc etc", just as you mention, to the point that they would "never surrender" to any other principle or alternative political arrangement. So one cannot really dispute their right to be collectively grouped, or their fervour, or their zealously applied sense of loyalty, just its actual definition.

A dangerous emotion, in other words. It leaves its owner open to extreme manipulation since any cleverly worded definition will always trump their own vague version and oblige them to follow suit (obligation being another aspect to loyalty).

PS: Just to clarify - even though the "other crowd" in that neck of the woods don't describe themselves as "loyalist" they exhibit all of the same, just with the vague objects of loyalty as described above replaced with equally vague objects relevant to their political view.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 18:17

Ah! But the simple point is the lot in the room are all loyal to each other  because they are not of the "other crowd." And these others are as loyal to their own crowd for the same reason. 
I suggest that Jeremy Corbyn has problems because his true loyalties are deeply ingrained whilst  knowing he cannot hope to achieve pie in the sky aims from the muddier stew of venal reality....... well I know what I meant, anyway.  Loyalty is ever perplexing..
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 20:04

@nordmann wrote:
@Nielsen wrote:
Regarding divorce procedures in RC Church, the Dutch novelist Anton Roothaert, do in his description 'Vlimmen contra Vlimmen' [I refer to a Danish translation from the 1950'es] who somewhat humorously describes these, as happening in the Southern Provinces (primarily Northern Brabrant) of the Netherlands in the 1930'es - then largely RC dominated.

I have no means of verifying what Mr. Roothaert depicts, but it seems not far from Nordmann's above, but do refer to this link https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Roothaert

Another digression, but well worth it so please forgive me. I had forgotten Vlimmen, Nielsen. For those of us who aren't Paul one can use the autotranslate setting in YouTube to enjoy the excellent "Dokter Vlimmen" from 1979. It could be subtitled "Vlimmen versus the Christians", but then so could all three of the books.

For English members: think "All Creatures Great And Small", but better.


 Nordmann,

when you click on it is not available in our country...did some one hour search...with youtube and dailymotion...even on Russian sites...all where not available anymore...tried "my way" and all that to have downloads and tehn they directed me to Google again and no film to download...first time that I don't find a film on the internet...
But now I see they have the DVD in our local library Bruges...will rent it...because I remember to have read positive critics in the time on that book...that has to have been in  the fifties...
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Vlimmen

There is even a Nazi film about the book from 1944. And a boring remake from 1956




Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 20:44

@nordmann wrote:
Property ownership is of course something that any cohabiting couple should address, if only for their own protection, and bundling this in with other related contracts regarding inheritance, debt management and the like is simply practical, whether it is then called a "civil partnership" contract (choose your term) or not. Such legislation has ancient roots - the example you mention above of how it has applied in the past in France to siblings parallels exactly Roman law (and probably can be traced directly back to actual Roman Law in that region), and this is an interesting point in fact. The bottom line in such a contract is not so much the result of a negotiation of terms by the "partners" but a legal affirmation by both parties that they recognise and abide by the rules already pertaining to the disposition of such property anyway. As you say, essentially a civic declaration unrelated to religion, or indeed love, at all.

In ancient Rome this also had nothing really to do with marriage as such (a union of two parties often arranged and enforced through third parties) but with formalising ownership and transfer of property as life and time progressed, and for that reason any subsequent divorce, even one bilaterally agreed by the partners, had little or no bearing on the terms, rights and claims to property that applied to the nominal members of the union, as Julius Caesar acknowledged when he decided his divorce from Pompeia had to be accompanied by a public declaration that her standing in law had not been affected in any way - in other words her "share" remained intact subject to the intervention of the state. He could no more divorce Pompeia than a brother could divorce his sister, at least when it came to property and legal rights, and he was telling everyone he knew this.

Caesar had good reason to make this a public declaration - in his first marriage both parties' legal ownership of assets had been usurped by Sulla as a politically motivated punishment measure and then returned to Cornelia but not to him, effectively rendering their marriage not quite illegal but an arrangement of no further legal significance regarding joint property, and as a consequence ending Caesar's ability to use this property as collateral in financing his career. In some Roman eyes therefore Caesar had been divorced twice, once under the state's volition from Cornelia and once under his own from Pompeia. However, even though in both cases the state and its laws of the day overrode all other considerations of what constituted a marriage partnership's public legal standing, it had crucially had no say in how the two parties privately judged the issue of whether they were married or not. Caesar, in declaring his recognition of this hierarchy of legality in which the state trumped everything - even when it hurt one where it mattered most, one's assets - except of course one's personal interpretation of a relationship being termed a marriage, cleverly translated his divorce from Pompeia (an extremely political manoeuvre at the time in which he distanced himself from a potentially damaging political faction of no further benefit to him anyway) into a public affirmation that one never really gets divorced at all in a strictly legal sense, the changing identity of one's spouse being of importance only to the individual and their close circle of family and friends, and that everyone's real marriage anyway was to the state. His "personal" status of marriage being transferred from Pompeia to Calpurnia had no bearing on his legally defined marital status and obligations, both of which he still respected. In fact he described his divorce from Pompeia purely as a protection of Roman "dignitas" which as a good and honourable Roman he was obliged to do, even though he liked her and publicly stated that she herself had done nothing wrong, despite the lurid rumours circulating after the "Bona Dea scandal" (many of which he had most likely set in motion himself). At one stroke he countered his conservatively religious and prudish political opponents who objected to any dissolution of a marriage and who wished to use his divorce as proof of his opportunistic disrespect for law when it suited him, and the late republic radicals - very much a nouveau riche set - who hoped they could protect and isolate issues of ownership from state intervention simply by calling them aspects of a marriage "contract" in a new society in which such commercial contracts were a legally unimpugnable basis of order, a group with which he most certainly did not want to be identified even if they chose to see him as their champion. He had behaved simply as a good citizen and servant of the state, as all Romans should aspire to be.

This was important as it was seized upon later under Christian rule to be a very notable precedent to the church's injunction that no one could get divorced, period. God had superseded the state but the same rule regarding who had the ultimate say in property ownership applied, in other words, though now it extended beyond physical property to the very "souls" of the parties themselves. Any "private" interpretation of status meant nothing against that imposed by the higher authority when it came to being a "good" citizen, as before, the crucial difference now being that this authority had nothing any more to do with social conventions, contract and organisation, but was deemed to emanate from an unassailable and supernatural realm, a realm moreover in which retribution would be taken against anyone who dared to attemptedly adhere to a "private" interpretation which contradicted the imposed one. It was a gross subversion, in fact an absolute perversion, of the old Roman legal principle but once undertaken gave this rather new take on the matter an apparently ancient philosophical and somewhat legal pedigree, dubious even to contemporary onlookers but sufficient in its day to facilitate enactment into law itself.

All of which of course has nothing to do with any associated public declaration of loyalty (let alone obedience) between the marrying parties, which was something however that under religious rule became very much a crucial clause shoehorned into the legal bundle, the extent to which it then became part of the binding contract variable, depending on how much control the religious body subsequently assumed or was allowed to exert at any given time in that society. Which all sounds very pedantic to we Europeans who for the most part have mitigated such influence from the religious side in these matters, until one takes into account the often horrendous punishment such rules still entail for breaches of that part of the deal, such as in cases of "unfaithfulness", as interpreted by these religious legislators where they still retain that power, in particular punishment dished out to women.

So you are right - when reduced to the disposition of inanimate property marriage has only a tangential bearing on any political interpretation of social cohesion. It is simply one aspect among many to a very complex legal structure contributing to such cohesion. But when the concept of property is extended to the very much animate parties entering the contract, and when enforced with theological rather than logical justifications, then the same enforcers' view of what constitutes social cohesion comes very much to the fore and in fact sometimes overrides the basic principles of justice themselves.

Romance it ain't.

Nordmann,

"Romance it ain't."
While you are referring to Rome and the legalities of the Roman marriage...and it seems mostly to have to do with only the wealthy...because I suppose if there are no "goods"... Wink
Just finished the third novel of the trilogy about Cicero from Harris...He seems to have done quite a study about the subject, while he did it on a period of 12 years
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictator_(Harris_novel)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Harris_(novelist)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicero
About the mariage with the 14 year old girl Publilia...
"In the 50s BC, Cicero's letters to Terentia became shorter and colder. He complained to his friends that Terentia had betrayed him but did not specify in which sense. Perhaps the marriage simply could not outlast the strain of the political upheaval in Rome, Cicero's involvement in it, and various other disputes between the two. The divorce appears to have taken place in 51 BC or shortly before.[32] In 46 or 45 BC,[33] Cicero married a young girl, Publilia, who had been his ward. It is thought that Cicero needed her money, particularly after having to repay the dowry of Terentia, who came from a wealthy family.[34] This marriage did not last long."

Not to say that one can't love each other and feel responsible for each other...but has that anything to do with the marriage...?

Kind regards, Paul.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Tue 21 Feb 2017, 08:11

@Priscilla wrote:
Right then, oaths and religious loyalty have had an airing - but what about loyalty without either? Loyalty to ideals and ones country - or family, warts and all - with dog-like devotion? When does the strength  become a weakness?



This is not really history as such, but it perhaps links to Priscilla's remarks above - those I have highlighted.

I have just started reading a very interesting book about how children who grow up in alcoholic or otherwise "dysfunctional" - often chaotic - homes grow up with all kinds of weighty baggage; and in the chapter on the characteristics later displayed by adults who have grown up in such environments I found - to my surprise -  loyalty is listed, but a loyalty described not as a positive thing, but as"loyalty to a fault". This is what the author (who is a psychiatrist, not a psychobabbler) says:

Adult children from addicted families tend to be loyal even with evidence that loyalty is not deserved. They will stay in jobs or friendships or relationships where they are taken advantage of, or in abusive relationships. They question their own feelings and simply keep trying harder, just as they did as children in their alcoholic families. They often believe that "change is just around the corner" if they hold out, again just as they did in their families of origin.

The writer later makes this dramatic claim - "For some Adult Children of Alcoholics, loyalty is a life-or-death matter." Made me think of the motto (not the punk band): "Death before Dishonour" . The great military leaders of history have surely always found it extremely useful having  followers who believe that. But can such loyalty - such devotion - actually be pathological,  not true "loyalty" at all?

I'm thinking too of the Hitler Youth - members of which organisation were often young people who grew up in another kind of "dysfunctional" home; not alcoholic or addicted maybe, but where the discipline - usually corporal - was horribly strict and oppressive, where "respect", obedience and loyalty were demanded, not earned.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Tue 21 Feb 2017, 14:50

@Temperance wrote:

I'm thinking too of the Hitler Youth - members of which organisation were often young people who grew up in another kind of "dysfunctional" home; not alcoholic or addicted maybe, but where the discipline - usually corporal - was horribly strict and oppressive, where "respect", obedience and loyalty were demanded, not earned.

.... and I'm thinking of the fanatical child soldiers and suicide bombers recruited/coerced by ISIS.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Tue 21 Feb 2017, 15:53

@Meles meles wrote:
@Temperance wrote:

I'm thinking too of the Hitler Youth - members of which organisation were often young people who grew up in another kind of "dysfunctional" home; not alcoholic or addicted maybe, but where the discipline - usually corporal - was horribly strict and oppressive, where "respect", obedience and loyalty were demanded, not earned.

.... and I'm thinking of the fanatical child soldiers and suicide bombers recruited/coerced by ISIS.



Yes - and another point made in my book is that "addictive" families are not always those in which the addiction is to alcohol or drugs or gambling: religious addiction (rather than a healthy, sane spirituality) can be just as much a cause of "dysfunction" as the usual culprits. In this age of Isis and of the so-called "Christian" Far Right in the USA we should all be afraid - very afraid.

PS Nordmann - I have edited my message above. I mention this because it was addressed to you and I want to make sure you note the edited version.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Tue 21 Feb 2017, 22:46

@Temperance wrote:

There was more than mere practicality behind the change from the white toga of the citizen to the blood red tunic of the legionary. The symbolism was such that the blood of the vanquished would not stain him.

I hate to sound like an uncouth barbarian, but... RUBBISH!!
Although it's a common belief that the Roman Army wore red, there's absolutely no definitive proof.  White appears in the artistic record as often as red.  The Praetorian Guard seem to have worn white tunics (they certainly wore white togas on guard duty, conveniently hiding their sword, and a nod to the convention of armed soldiers being banned from Rome).  Some suggest that red was worn only by centurions, and the ordinary troops wore white (or vice versa).  Others argue that there was no standard colour, or that different units adopted different colours.  The evidence suggests that the red, in any case, was certainly not "blood red" (at least in some cases it seems to be closer to a rather unmasculine salmon pink!)  There is some evidence to suggest that the ordinary gregarius ('squaddie') had three tunics: white 'full dress' (there are references to soldiers on parade wearing "shining whites"), undyed 'fatigues' (probably the same colour as the local sheep) and red 'battle dress'.  The Marines may well have worn blue.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Wed 22 Feb 2017, 07:29

@Anglo-Norman wrote:
@Temperance wrote:

There was more than mere practicality behind the change from the white toga of the citizen to the blood red tunic of the legionary. The symbolism was such that the blood of the vanquished would not stain him.

I hate to sound like an uncouth barbarian, but... RUBBISH!!
Although it's a common belief that the Roman Army wore red, there's absolutely no definitive proof.  White appears in the artistic record as often as red.  The Praetorian Guard seem to have worn white tunics (they certainly wore white togas on guard duty, conveniently hiding their sword, and a nod to the convention of armed soldiers being banned from Rome).  Some suggest that red was worn only by centurions, and the ordinary troops wore white (or vice versa).  Others argue that there was no standard colour, or that different units adopted different colours.  The evidence suggests that the red, in any case, was certainly not "blood red" (at least in some cases it seems to be closer to a rather unmasculine salmon pink!)  There is some evidence to suggest that the ordinary gregarius ('squaddie') had three tunics: white 'full dress' (there are references to soldiers on parade wearing "shining whites"), undyed 'fatigues' (probably the same colour as the local sheep) and red 'battle dress'.  The Marines may well have worn blue.



As I had no recollection of ever having written anything about Roman tunics of whatever colour or design, for one glorious moment I thought you had mistakenly attributed that remark to me and that it was nordmann who was guilty of having posted information which you - obviously in some exasperation - describe as "RUBBISH!!" Alas, no, it was me, sort of - but please note that I didn't actually write the comment about the colour of tunics: I merely quoted it from what I described in all honesty as "a very simple history site". I do not pretend to know a thing about them there Romans.

But I do remember when I visited the most haunted house in York (where people have seen  Suspect  all sorts of very odd things) the guide telling us - we were down in the very spooky cellar at the time - that one lady had, when the cellar was first put on public view, experienced a funny turn there, and had claimed to have seen a group of soldiers, soldiers whom she identified as Romans: their tunics, she insisted, were green. The idea of green tunics on Roman ghosts was dismissed as being even sillier than the ghosts themselves, until one history chap confirmed later that towards the end of the Roman occupation of the North, green cloth (from nearby Lincoln perhaps?) had indeed been used by the military. Not a detail the average person knows: we all think red because, as you say, that's what we've seen in films, pictures and on television.

But I know nothing of Roman military attire. I think the soldiers defintiely did wear tunics, though, of whatever hue (perhaps they could choose the colour that suited them?) and the very posh people wore nicely-ironed togas. The Emperor had a purple one.  

So I wasn't talking rubbish really, just merrily quoting it - so there, barbarians all.  tongue


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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Wed 22 Feb 2017, 08:34

Apologies, Temperance - I didn't mean to blacken your good name; I realised you were only quoting, and had no intention of implying otherwise.  Next time I see a centurion I shall invite him to give me a good thwack from his vine staff as punishment.

Interestingly the 'Asterix' books rarely portray the Romans in red; IIRC green is preferred, although a variety of colours appeared.  And yet at school we were told that the depiction of the Roman Army was wrong because we "know they wore red"!  (Tunic colour is probably the least of the accuracy issues in the Asterix books, but then no-one - I'd (naively?) like to think - reads them for their historical information.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 13:31

@Meles meles wrote:
But rights come with responsibilities and so at the same time the now ex-husband was naturally forced to contribute to their son's upbringing.

Surely this was a basic reason for marriage itself which seems to have been lost in much of the the debate on the institution in recent years. It established paternal responsibility. This is not the same, of course, as paternity as such. Having the financial wherewithal to raise children was what it was all about. Thus bachelors would tend to seek a bride with a dowry while spinsters would similarly tend to seek a suitor of means.

One might take a pauper or even a wastrel as a lover but it would be foolish to take one as a spouse. And being an unmarried mother in particular was to risk social ostracism and/or extreme poverty for you and your child. Getting a ring on one’s finger, on the other hand, was a significant (although sometimes dubious) insurance against this. And this was the case for centuries and until very recently. In the UK, for example, it was only in the 1970s that unmarried mothers first qualified for outdoor state relief – i.e. child benefit for lone parents.

With the state taking on the role (which had previously been the responsibility of a husband) the institution of marriage lost a major plank of its status. This was compounded when some politicians then began confusing paternal responsibility with paternity in their social pronouncements on ‘neglectful fathers’ which, of course, is a contradiction in terms. Although the ideal (as evidenced by the wedding vows given earlier) was/is that the husband would also be the biological progenitor of his wife’s children, this was/is not always the case. To risk being ‘cuckold’ was/is a reality for any married man. It goes with the territory. And there are, of course, plenty of examples of unmarried mothers subsequently marrying someone not necessarily the blood of their child and also widowed mothers remarrying. What counts, however, is how good one was/is as a father. Does one have the means (both financial and emotional) to raise the child and does the child correspondingly value and respect one as its parent? The unconditional loyalty of a parent (male or female) to a child is the ideal but as suggested earlier with the example of alcoholic parents etc the evaluation of this form of loyalty is highly subjective.

Interestingly Napoleon Bonaparte’s Code Civil of 1804, while trying to grapple with these complex issues (following the sweeping away of the ancient régime), stated in one of its articles that ‘la recherche de la paternité est interdite’, thus outlawing paternity suits and so reinforcing paternal responsibility and granting all husband-fathers (cuckold or otherwise) legal honour. Intriguingly, however, the following article stated that ‘la recherche de la maternité est admise’ i.e. maternity suits were indeed permitted. It might seem strange to think that maternity is something which can be questioned, although, with concealed pregnancies and infant abduction etc then the scope for contested maternity is probably more common than we might care to imagine. It was certainly significant enough in early 19th Century France for Napoleon and his legal team to warrant this inclusion.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 14:08

Excellent post, Vizzer - thank you.

One of my reasons for mentioning the Virgin Mary book was not me being all God-Squaddy (God forbid), but because I am fascinated by the idea of Mary as the archetypal disgraced "unmarried mother" figure, and the possibility that her eldest child suffered terrible humiliation as a result - as the archetypal "bastard", a man with no known father. Schaberg examines in some detail what the law laid down in Deuteronomy in the case of "a betrothed virgin who was raped or seduced". It was a terrible position for any girl to be in, especially when she was later found to be with child; a position of humiliation and disgrace - for mother and child - that has, as you point out, persisted until fairly recently.

Even today women want marriage - that ring on the finger that seems to promise so much: loyalty, everlasting love, a "respectable" position in society and that elusive thing that we all crave - security. Here is Beyoncé's take on the whole matter: the lyrics are for women; the superb sexy dancing for the men. But girl power this certainly ain't.

It has been viewed on YouTube over 555,000,000 times.


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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 14:39

Temp wrote:
I am fascinated by the idea of Mary as the archetypal disgraced "unmarried mother" figure, and the possibility that her eldest child suffered terrible humiliation as a result

But she wasn't, she was married to Joseph. And in fact the loyalty dilemma is well represented in the story, but from Joe's point of view when he threatens "apolusai" (divorce) and then gets persuaded by an angel to do the decent thing and not to make God's son a bastard (Matthew verses 19 to 24) by doing anything so silly as get all disgruntled over his missus's infidelity.

The notion of "betrothed" which is mentioned several times in this fable relates to marriage as it was understood then - a publicly ratified union, which in this couple's case had already obviously taken place. Mary's stated problem seems only concerned with the mechanics of pregnancy in that she asks the angel who gives her the news how she could be pregnant not having had sex (the story doesn't say whether she means ever or just since last menstruating). Joe's problem however is the one of the cuckolded husband - a test of loyalty if ever there is one no matter who it happens to. He eventually comes round to being loyal to his missus, but only after God sends a "persuader". Mind you, once persuaded he seems to have been a pretty good egg about it, training the lad to be a carpenter and all - not that the little ungrateful bastard ever thanked him afterwards.

When all is said and done, out of that whole family's saga it's actually Joe who comes out best as a decent skin and above all suspicion. And because he potentially sacrificed his manly reputation in the small community in which they lived the errant Mary and her little prig of a love-child were spared the very opprobrium you refer to above.

Schaberg may be right in her interpretation of Deuteronomy, but she's definitely playing down Joe's beautifully humane and self-sacrificial gesture of life-long loyalty to the other pair if she thinks Mary risked anything like she's hinting at once he'd stepped in and bailed her out. They had other kids afterwards, I believe, (which we assume are his - Mary's previous however doesn't make this very safe an assumption), so kudos to Joe, I say. There's loyalty, right there.

He's up there with Judas as one of my favourite blokes from that sad and sorry story of a fictional family's ups and downs in late Iron Age Judea.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 14:59

@nordmann wrote:
...and her little prig of a love-child were spared the very opprobrium you refer to above.


You are such an intelligent man, nordmann: why do you always have to be so vulgar when anything religious is discussed?

The law in Galilee was not the same as in the more lenient region of Judea: it is extremely unlikely that Mary and Joseph as a  "betrothed" couple had intercourse before the "taking-home" ceremony. It is a  distinct possibility that Mary was raped - the old Pantera story that Celsus repeats with such malicious glee. You and Celsus have a lot in common.

Joseph was indeed a "just man". At least on that you and I can agree.

There are later references (in John's Gospel, too) that Jesus was not spared humiliation about the circumstances of his birth: the public goading of the man on several occasions suggest he was known not to have been the son of Joseph - note also that insulting reference to him as "the son of Mary".

But it is a wise child who knows its spiritual father: our physical, genetic, bodily inheritance - that cluster of dividing cells - is one thing; but the soul - from whence and at what point in our development in the womb does that come? Did Plato say anything about this?

But we digress, as usual.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 15:10

We're  discussing loyalty, and as a parable about loyalty then Joseph's takes some beating.

Temp wrote:
It is a  distinct possibility that Mary was raped

That's an awful thing to say about God, especially from a religious person, but I fully agree - the story fudges this issue somewhat. Which still doesn't take anything from Joe's basic humanity about the sorry mess they were in and how his decent skinness saved the day.

Temp wrote:
But it is a wise child who knows its spiritual father

Or a brainwashed one, in my experience.

I'm not convinvced about the "law in Galilee" thing - I've heard it before (from Christian "scholars") and I've also heard it very snottily refuted by Jewish historians who rightly point out that there was no civic ordinance which took precedence over religious law in this matter, and this law was clear. Whether Mary and Joseph hadn't consummated their Jewish marriage as you suggest or they had, the point was that in the Jewish religious custom, which had the force of law, they were married.

The soul does not develop in the womb, since you ask. It develops, like any concept, in the mind - normally after being put there once the mind has been subjected to religious instruction. The question would be a profound one, right enough, if it related to consciousness, but otherwise it is indeed a digression - not just from the loyalty theme (and even Plato could join in).

But you're right, let's stick to loyalty.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 15:56

@nordmann wrote:
 That's an awful thing to say about God, especially from a religious person, but I fully agree - the story fudges this issue somewhat.

Why? Is it "awful" to question received wisdom - or received stupidity? I do not think so. I am not a "religious" person, by the way: I have always said that being of a spiritual persuasion is not the same as being "religious".

But I am in an awful position indeed - despised by the likes of you for being a "brainwashed" fool, and hated by fellow "Christians" for not going along with the usual stuff churned out since the fourth century. Yet I know where my loyalty - which is unswerving - lies.

So you can all, atheists and Christians, sod off for all I care.
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 16:06

You sound like Mandy when asked by the mob is she a virgin and demanding to see her son, the messiah.

I don't see your position as being awful, at all, and the "fool" inference is one you yourself have projected onto my opinion, not one I ever inferred at all, just as you project the term atheist on my views - a word I have always distrusted and in my case falls very short of my actual opinion indeed.

In fact your stated position's inherent refusal to settle for received wisdom (which can indeed sometimes be merely stupidity dressed up) is admirable in my view, even if I find myself wondering always why you still insist on replacing semantic obfuscation foisted on you by religious types with some rather obfuscatory terminology of your own.

Keep at it though, is what I say. Or join us Christian and Atheist sods as we sod off into the sodden sunset. See if I care! (Mandy's parting words to Brian in The Greatest Story Ever Told)
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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 19:14

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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 19:26

I've nothing but sympathy for gingers, they get it rough. Poor Ed, unwashed and all as he may well be, he deserves a break - poor git ends up driving into a tornado at the end of that one (whatever "that" actually was - a biopic of wee Bernadette it most certainly wasn't).

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PostSubject: Re: Loyaute Me Lie - Loyalty Binds Me.   Sun 26 Feb 2017, 19:35

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