Episode 264: Indiana Jones and the Theology of the Holy Grail

June 14, 2014


Featuring Matt Anderson and Ben De Bono

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3 comments on “Episode 264: Indiana Jones and the Theology of the Holy Grail

  1. Enjoyable study of the grail mythology. Although I have taken several classes on Medieval history, Church history and literature. I have never had those thoughts come together in the same study.

  2. I was surprised in that I think you missed one, and Ben is usually on top of such things.
    My favorite interpretation of the Graal myth is ‘cautionary tale’ or perhaps it would be better described as an guideline of behavior for a warrior caste. In the Medieval period, when you had knightly orders coming into more concrete forms, there was the conflict between the spiritual side of a Christian knight, and the violent, earthly side. When, on the one hand, you have religious orders arising wherein self-deprivation and worldly renunciation are being praised, you still have the need for the guys who are going to be able to go out and protect Christendom from pagans.
    In the Graal myth, the greatest warriors are incapable of finding the graal, and the pure, innocents who do find it, die. It is probable that they don’t die from awe, but rather because having attained that heavenly experience/epiphany, they simply give up on living. Having sacrificed themselves in this quest, the fellowship is missing key components when…
    The evil that is ignored, Mordred/Mordraut is able to make material gains against the fellowship because they are all off seeking a mystical experience, while the physical realm (that is the purview of the warrior class) is ignored. In the ensuing war, the fellowship is severely weakened by the Graal quest, many dying, others lost, or, for some, the morale, bravery, spark of life, is gone out of them at their acknowledgement of their personal failure in the quest.
    In the end, seeking a treasure that is meant for someone else, is what collapses and destroys the kingdom. …leaving it open to conquest by the un-Christian Angles, Saxons, Norsemen, (Saracens in later writings) etc.
    Compare and contrast Lancelot, who goes to a hermitage, instead of facing his failings, and misses the penultimate battle, with Gawain, who, early on with the quest of the Green Knight, takes his flaws on as reminder that he is called to something more than what he currently is.

  3. twebb2 Jun 29, 2014

    Hey Ben,

    Technically, as I understand it, a “mcguffin” (a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock, I believe) is something that everyone is trying to get, but it doesn’t really matter what it is… it could be a suitcase of money, or of jewels, or the secret recipe for Coca-cola. The key is, if you change the “mcguffin”, then the story does not fundamentally change. It is essential to the story of Indy Jones & the Last Crusade that the object everyone is seeking be the holy grail, so I don’t think it really counts.

    Keep up the great work, I love your ‘cast. Ben, I am waiting to pounce on your next “bonus offer”!!!


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