Friday, November 22, 2013

Gargoyles & Grotesques- Anglophile Friday

At Kilpeck Church

A commonly-held belief about gargoyles and grotesques can be summed up by this excerpt from Wikipedia:

Gargoyles were viewed in two ways by the church throughout history. The primary use was to convey the concept of evil through the form of the gargoyle, which was especially useful in sending a stark message to the common people, most of whom were illiterate. Gargoyles also are said to scare evil spirits away from the church, this reassured congregants that evil was kept outside of the church’s walls. However, some medieval clergy viewed gargoyles as a form of idolatry. In the 12th century St. Bernard of Clairvaux was famous for speaking out against gargoyles.


There has been controversy over the origin and meaning of grotesques, but I'd never before heard the following explanation. I thought it was so interesting and well worth considering!


The following was excerpted from an article by Jim Jordan for Biblical Horizons.  

Read the entire article HERE.

"In the First Covenant, the war between God’s people and God’s enemies was fought on the human level against Egyptians, Assyrians, etc. With the coming of the New Covenant, however, we are told that our primary battle is against principalities and powers, against fallen angels who bind the hearts and minds of men in ignorance and fear. We are assured that through faith, prayer, and obedience, the saints will be victorious in our battle against these demonic forces. The Spirit assures us: "The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly" (Romans 16:20).

"The Festival of All Saints reminds us that though Jesus has finished His work, we have not finished ours. He has struck the decisive blow, but we have the privilege of working in the mopping up operation. Thus, century by century the Christian faith has rolled back the demonic realm of ignorance, fear, and superstition. Though things look bad in the Western world today, this work continues to make progress in Asia and Africa and Latin America...

 At Rievaulx Abbey

"What is the means by which the demonic realm is vanquished? In a word: mockery. Satan’s great sin (and our great sin) is pride. Thus, to drive Satan from us we ridicule him. This is why the custom arose of portraying Satan in a ridiculous red suit with horns and a tail. Nobody thinks the devil really looks like this; the Bible teaches that he is the fallen Arch-Cherub. Rather, the idea is to ridicule him because he has lost the battle with Jesus and he no longer has power over us...

At Fountains Abbey

"The gargoyles that were placed on the churches of old had the same meaning. They symbolized the Church ridiculing the enemy. They stick out their tongues and make faces at those who would assault the Church. Gargoyles are not demonic; they are believers ridiculing the defeated demonic army."


 At York Minster

It makes so much sense, doesn't it! With a risen Savior, the Christian Church has no reason to fear satan. He has been defeated! There would be no reason to put up gargoyles and grotesques to 'ward off evil spirits.'

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All Authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' - Matthew 28:18-20



Jesus IS King! 





Next Anglophile Friday I'll be posting some detail shots taken at York Minster. York, by the way, has had a verifiable Christian presence since the 300's A.D.  I'm trying to remember what we were doing in the U.S. in the 300's. Oh wait...


Photobucket

This post is linked to Weekly Top Shot


18 comments:

Bossy Betty said...

Fascinating! Thanks for this info! Mockery! I totally get this.

Sandra said...

since we don't have these on our buildings here in he south, i never really thought about why they were there, and i am trying to think if i have ever seen one except in movies and photos.... the last explanation does make a lot of sense to me...

podso said...

I've never liked gargoyles even if they are mocking the devil! And I hadn't heard the word grotesque as a noun describing these ---or similar-- I always learn something when visiting you! Have a good weekend.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Very interesting idea. I haven't really thought about it much. But there MUST be a reason they are there!

TexWisGirl said...

i do not like gargoyles or grotesques. :)

Margaret Adamson said...

hi. Interesting post but I don,t like the grotesque stonework.

Susie said...

I really do not like looking at those creepy looking things. I would rather see stain glassed windows and steeples. I do remember when I first attended church looking at the biblical scenes in the stained glass for long periods of the sermon.:):)Many blessings to you,xoxo,Susie

Vee said...

Very interesting!

Pamela Gordon said...

A very interesting post. I don't like the looks of gargoyles, they're creepy.

Lynn Blaylock said...

I am so proud of you for your post! I have thought about this when the Gargoyles movie came out. I have to say I feel guilty when I straddle the fence. I grew up in a home that did not practice Halloween, Easter bunnies, and Christmas trees(that was always a toss up between Mama & Daddy) & we didn't go to movies. I'm afraid I would extremely shock folks at my gut feeling about a lot of these things. To my family I come across as a "Wishy-Washy Christian" but I don't want to be so unforgiving in certain areas that I send my children running away from God. Society has most Christian people afraid to just say the plain truth for fear of a backlash.

Wow...that was a lot to write in a comment. I do appreciate all the tidbits of knowledge you share with us. Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

NanaDiana said...

That really does make sense, Judy. I always heard it was to ward off evil spirits, too. Thanks for the research-they still kind of freak me out- xo Diana

Donna said...

Very interesting! I just know that I like to photograph them, LOL.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams said...

That's a great explanation, and very comforting to know that they have such a history.

Jen

Lady Linda said...

Interesting blog post. Kind of creepy, but interesting.
Linda

Lady Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Sexton said...

I've always loved gargoyles and have a few around the house. I must have read this interpretation somewhere ages ago. I usually interpret them as laughing (sometimes sneezing) and seeing them brings me comfort and strength.

Terri D. said...

Very interesting!! Thanks for the lesson and this post!

J_on_tour said...

Thanks for that, I never ever thought of it like that before and often wondered what was going on in the minds of the norman & medieval stonemasons with all the crossover pagan stuff.

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