Thursday, July 28, 2016

"it is not that the myth of Thoth concerning the supreme god and the treacherous scribe anticipates the positive truth of grammatology, but rather that grammatology just repeats (identically) the myth of Thoth."

     John Milbank, Theology and social theory:  beyond secular reason, 2nd ed. (Malden, MA:  Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 312, on Derrida (about whom I myself know next to nothing).  Milbank's point (throughout this chapter, and indeed the book) is that the latter ontological "conjecture" is every bit as plausible as the former.

"'embraced the executioner, and kissed the gore on his hands'"

Cavalieri (1584).
New York Public Library.
     "In the silence after Campion's death, broken only by the sound of weeping and groaning, [Fr. Ralph] Sherwin came up onto the cart.  Sherwin's actions on the scaffold help highlight by contrast how little theatre, and how much ritual, there had been in Campion's behavior.  Sherwin
embraced the executioner, and kissed the gore on his hands.  The crowd was very much moved by this, and there was a general murmur which dragged from the official in charge permission for this next victim to say what he wanted.
In fact, Sherwin, like Campion, was interrupted repeatedly by Sir Francis Knollys with the request that he 'come to the poynt, and confess your treason'; Sherwin finally expressed impatience with Knollys, and said, 'Tush, tush, you and I shall answere this before an other Judge', and even Knollys was prompted to admit that [Sherwin] was 'no contriver or doer of this treason, for you are no man of armes, but you are a traytor by consequence'.  The state's attempt to persuade the public that these Oxford scholars were traitors has descended to the point where Knollys, the Treasurer of the Royal Household, has to admit that the second scholar is only a 'traytor by consequence'.  This new legal category did not convince the crowd, who cheered him, saying 'Well done, Sherwin!  God receive your soul!' as the noose was put on this neck,and 'the noise lasted  quite some time' and did not 'die down even when he was dead'."

     Gerard Kilroy, Edmund Campion:  a scholarly life (London and New York:  Ashgate, Routledge, 2015), 341-342, quoting More, Historia missionis (1660), 134.
     "the gore on [the executioner's] hands" was of course that of Campion, who had just been disembowled and quartered (albeitthanks to the forceful last-minute intervention of Lord Charles Howardafter he was dead).
     The burden of this book is to show that Campion was entirely innocent of the charge of treason.
     Impressively, the Protestant martyrologist John Foxe was indefatiguable in his intercession on Campion's behalf (331-332, and and one point later in the book as well).