OT: Parables (was: Re: Merlin (with spoilers) talent and not
rohina at shaw.ca
Thu Jun 5 18:56:13 EDT 2003
>I am not an historian or a philosopher, but it seems to me that the confusion
>between truth and fact sprung up in the Church in the Middle Ages, when a
>classical Greek ideas were flooding in from the Arab world via Spain. In the
>21st century we should be able to see now that there are more (and better)
>of communicating a truth than by relating facts; and that a truth told by
>parable is no less valid than one told by facts.
Speaking as a literary historian of the middle ages, I have to say this is
kind of a backwards view. In the middle ages, producers of texts did not
make the kinds of distinctions that we do now between fiction and
non-fiction. They didn't have a confusion between truth and fact because
there wasn't a distinction made between them as far as literature (and
related areas) were concerned. So actually, people in the middle ages had
what you have defined as a 20th century attitude - that it was quite
possible to know that a story (like the legend of the barnacle goose, for
example) wasn't literally true, but to understand that it still had meaning.
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