Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday February 16, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:16 AM

The Judas Seat

Janet Maslin in today’s New York Times:

“The much-borrowed Brown formula involves some very specific things. The name of a great artist, artifact or historical figure must be in the book’s story, not to mention on its cover. The narrative must start in the present day with a bizarre killing, then use that killing as a reason to investigate the past. And the past must yield a secret so big, so stunning, so saber-rattling that all of civilization may be changed by it. Probably not for the better.

This formula is neatly summarized….”

Cover illustration
The Judas Seat:
The Narrative:

The Secret:

Part I

“Little ‘Jack’ Horner was actually Thomas Horner, steward to the Abbot of Glastonbury during the reign of King Henry VIII…. Always keen to raise fresh funds, Henry had shown a interest in Glastonbury (and other abbeys). Hoping to appease the royal appetite, the nervous Abbot, Richard Whiting, allegedly sent Thomas Horner to the King with a special gift. This was a pie containing the title deeds to twelve manor houses in the hope that these would deflect the King from acquiring Glastonbury Abbey. On his way to London, the not so loyal courier Horner apparently stuck his thumb into the pie and extracted the deeds for Mells Manor, a plum piece of real estate. The attempted bribe failed and the dissolution of the monasteries (including Glastonbury) went ahead from 1536 to 1540. Richard Whiting was subsequently executed, but the Horner family kept the house, so the moral of this one is: treachery and greed pay off, but bribery is a bad idea.” –Chris Roberts, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme

Part II

“The Grail Table has thirteen seats, one of which is kept vacant in memory of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ.” —Symbolism of King Arthur’s Round Table

“In medieval romance, the grail was said to have been brought to Glastonbury in Britain by Joseph of Arimathea and his followers. In the time of Arthur, the quest for the Grail was the highest spiritual pursuit.” —The Camelot Project

Part III

The Log24 entry
for the date–
February 13, 2007–
of the above Bible scholar’s death,

and the three entries preceding it:

“And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
they can tell you, being dead:
the communication of the dead is tongued with fire
beyond the language of the living.”

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

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