- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (27 Oct. 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691020752
- ISBN-13: 978-0691020754
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,269,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Grail: From Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol (Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology) Paperback – 27 Oct 1991
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In terms of serious scholarship, there has been little that supersedes or countervenes this work from a major Authuriad scholar at the height of his powers. -- Parergon
In terms of serious scholarship, there has been little that supersedes or countervenes this work from a major Authuriad scholar at the height of his powers. -- "Parergon
"In terms of serious scholarship, there has been little that supersedes or countervenes this work from a major Authuriad scholar at the height of his powers."--Parergon
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According to Loomis, the Holy Grail is not the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper, but rather a mistranslation of the archaic compound word "sankgreal," meaning "royal blood" rather than "holy grail." This will sound familiar to anyone familiar with the novel "the Da Vinci Code," but this is more or less where the similarities end. Loomis does not view the Grail as an essentially literal object and says that it refers to a mythical bloodline. He further objects to the characterization of the grail as a cup, showing that before it was identified as a chalice, it had previously been portrayed as a flat dish and even a rock (!). He says that myth of the Fisher King lay in Celtic mythology and that Christian symbolism was later attached to it when the Grail myth hit continental Europe from a French monk and scholar living in Wales. The concept of the grail as an ever-replenishing source of sustenance is based on another linguistic misinterpretation that has an archaic Welsh word for "cup" being mistranslated into French as "body," as in the body of Christ (i.e. a communion wafer). Loomis illuminates a consistent series of parallels between the circumstances of Arthurian legend and Celtic myth and shows how overlapping stories in the former are based on archetypal forms from the latter.
Why 4/5? While Loomis presents a compelling theory, it is complex and at times difficult to follow despite Loomis' effort to make his book as accessible as possible to the average reader. Likewise, there is a fair amount of redundancy in this book that might turn some people off. Finally, the theory is so complex and each part is so dependent on the assumption before it that if one aspect is successfully refuted, the whole theory would be in jeopardy. Still, it's a fine book that advances an intriguing hypothesis about one of Western Civilization's most enduring symbols and deserves a thorough examination.
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