Monday, October 22, 2007

Out Of The Hogwarts Broom Closet

The Christian right wing bigots that already fear and hate Harry Potter and attack the novels and movies for being about magick and witchcraft can now add the heresy of sorcery = sodomy to their inquisitional charges.

Dumbledore was gay, JK tells amazed fans

Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone
The late Richard Harris as Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
There could hardly have been a bigger sensation if Russell Crowe, Rod Stewart or Sven-Goran Eriksson had come out of the closet. Millions of fans around the world were yesterday digesting the news that one of the main characters in the Harry Potter novels, Albus Dumbledore, is gay.

The revelation came from author JK Rowling during a question-and-answer session at New York's Carnegie Hall. It instantly hurtled around the internet and the world. News websites in China and Germany announced starkly: 'JK Rowling: "Dumbledore is gay".' One blogger wrote on a fansite: 'My head is spinning. Wow. One more reason to love gay men.'

After reading briefly from her mega-selling book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, on Friday night, Rowling took questions from an audience of 1,600 students. A 19-year-old from Colorado asked about the avuncular headmaster of Hogwarts School: 'Did Dumbledore, who believed in the prevailing power of love, ever fall in love himself?'

The author replied: 'My truthful answer to you...I always thought of Dumbledore as gay.' The audience reportedly fell silent - then erupted into prolonged applause.

Lynda Harris writes, rather charmingly, "In medieval Europe, the Cathars were often referred to as 'Bougres.' This was an acknowledgement of the fact that their religion had originally come from Bulgaria." Yes, and also that the Cathars, like many other heretic groups, were accused of unconventional sexual acts, hence our word "buggery." We know that this word was current in fifteenth-century Italy at least, because Michael Rocke lists it among the terms used by accusers of sodomites in Florence at that time:
abbracciare to embrace
buggerare to bugger
fottere to fuck
servire to service
sodomitare, or sodomizzare to sodomizen
And we read in Gabriel Audisio's Waldensian Dissent, p. 76f.:
According to Hansen, a German historian at the beginning of the twentieth century, the label vaudois was apparently used for the first time to refer to sorcerers in the French-speaking regions of Switzerland and in Savoy. In these parts, vauderie meant lust, and sodomy in particular. A man accused of this in France was called bougre (Bulgarian, or bugger), in Savoy vaudeis. Since bougerie or vauderie was believed, wrongly, to be an act of heresy, heretics tended to be accused of bougerie or vauderie. In these regions, during the great wave of persecutions at the beginning of the fifteenth century, people commonly called sorcerers vodeis or vaudois. Meanwhile, the notion spread that the satanic Sabbath was a practice common to Cathars and the Waldensians. A theologian, for example, entitled his treatise against sorcerers written in 1450, Errores gazoriorum seu illorum, qui probam vel baculum equitare probantur (Errors of Cathars or those who ride on brooms or rods). Jurists and theologians, finding the term vaudois applied to sects of sorcerers, equally used the expression without further consideration. In this way, the double confusion grew up, between vaudois meaning bougres (sorcerers) on the one hand and vaudois meaning heretics (Waldensians) on the other.

"Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers ...".(Revelation 22:15)(Critical Essay)

Revelation 22:15 lists practitioners who do not have the approval of the writer: "the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." Unlike the "blessed ... who wash their robes" (22:14), they have no right to attain the tree of life nor to enter the city. They are "outside."

Nearly all, if not all, scholars read this list, and its parallels in 21:8 and 9:21, as a "catalog of evildoers" (Schussler Fiorenza: 110) or a list of moral vices (Kraft: 279) that the writer saw in his social world. Typical is Massyngberde Ford, who says that 22:15 "appears to refer mainly to unethical conduct: the dogs are sodomists, the 'sorcerers' ... refer to poisonous magicians or abortionists, then follow the prostitutes ... murderers and idolaters"

The odd one out in this list is the very first: "the dogs." All others are obviously humans who practice certain vices. But to whom or what does the term the dogs refer? Are they to be understood at all in relation to the next group on the list, the sorcerers (pharmakoi)?


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