A passage from Alan Bennett’s 1981 diaries again reminds us of the perils of imagining early ritual/musical culture with our modern ears (see Bach, under WAM)—or feet:
I wear a pair of flip-flop sandals, the sort with a sole and one strap across—the biblical type, I suppose. When I was a boy and read of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, I thought of their feet as like my own in 1943, sweating in grey Utility socks and encased in heavy black shoes with stuck-on rubber soles. Consequently I regarded Jesus’s gesture as far more self-sacrificing, more heroic, than it actually was. After twelve pairs of such feet, I thought, the Crucifixion would have been a pushover.
For a sequel, see here.
3 thoughts on “Imagining early religious culture”
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