I had a really hard time with the Middle English lyrics. I think I spent three hours on 96 before I gave up. And I wanted to try to read them again after the resources were posted, but I had a migraine on the day of class.. However, Austen, who was in my group during the discussion, pointed out 197 and 208 were actually readable. I’m responding mainly to those poems, but I’m also going through the list of assigned readings and seeing if I can understand anymore of them. Hence why the response is late.
I think my main response to this is A) I probably need to take The Bible As Literature class at some point. I simply don’t know that much about the theology to really comment on the religious parts and unlike some of my peers I was raised in a totally non-Christian household. So the only context I have is mainly from remarks on it from medievalism classes. B) I also need to improve my skills with middle English. In short, my response to these poems is basically I lack the context of the Christian theology and the skill in middle English to really approach them. What I got from the two poems listed above was, this Virgin Mary is kind of like a demigoddess. Although, Austen said I should ask you, Dr. Obermeier, on the specifics because different Christian branches would see her divinity differently.
208 puts me in mind of a classical depiction of nature. It’s almost like the Christians have to go back to classical mythology in order to describe something that gives life. The poem confused me on two levels. Firstly, I’m not sure why they want to describe their religion in terms of life-giving. I was taught their beliefs were more of a death cult i.e. they’re not focused on the here and now, but they are obsessed with what comes after death. Secondly, I thought it was heretical to associate the Christian deity with other deities.In short, I’m confused and hopefully in the future will be able to appreciate these poems.