Sunday, January 17, 2010


There is a new book out about St. Joan. It sounds interesting, although it is a mistake to try to make a medieval person into a contemporary one, especially one such as La Pucelle. (Via Joshua Snyder) To quote:
Taylor also ends up, despite due attention to Joan’s “voices,” oddly downplaying the Saint’s religious motivations. She draws attention to Joan’s expressions of confidence and determination, and then comments (repeatedly) that Joan “believed in herself.” But Joan didn’t believe in herself. She believed in God, and in her own role as God’s agent. Taylor points out, quite accurately, that Joan did not engage in the elaborate fasting and self-mortification typical of many female medieval religious figures—again something that makes her seem less strange in our eyes. But Joan nonetheless shared those women’s goal of immolating their individual selves so as to become pure instruments of the divine will, which is about as far from our Romantically-inflected notions of “believing in oneself” as can be imagined.


MadMonarchist said...

I would go so far as to say that believing in herself would have been rather ridiculous for St Joan. Her story has always seemed to me to be one of the most inarguable pieces of proof for the existence of God since there is no, reasonable, rational explanation for how an uneducated, teenage peasant girl could rise to command the armies of a nation and defeat an invading force on top of it. The only possible way such a thing could be explained is that there was a divine power guiding her.

Even today when we are so much more open to gender equality and advance by merit and have women in the armed forces, even today it would be unthinkable that a girl so young, with no formal military training, would be entrusted with a top army command and then go on to win battles. God is the only explanation for Joan of Arc, she knew that and so should we.

elena maria vidal said...


lara77 said...

Why do some authors feel they need to bring Joan "down" to modern definitions of youg women. Are faith and religion so alien to certain writers? I am amazed that after all the centuries they are still trying to redefine the Maid of Orleans! Please accept her for the miracle she was for France; God's hand at work again; this time through a poor peasant girl.