Everybody thinks that they know what the Holy Grail is, whether the person in quest of it is one of King Arthur’s knights or Indiana Jones: the cup used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, preserved by his followers and hidden until the right hero, with the right attitude, comes to find it. Some believe that it actually exists in the human world at the present day, embodied in particular vessels preserved at Nanteos in Wales, or at Glastonbury, or concealed at Rosslyn Chapel or Rennes-le-Chateau. Others, conversant with Edwardian British scholarship, think that it is a Christianisation of a pagan Celtic tradition of enchanted cauldrons, ultimately representing the divine feminine. This talk is a quest in itself, for the origins of the story, which can be pinpointed quite specifically, and for the process by which an idea with a precise origin grew into a motif capable of taking so many different forms. It also considers the claims of the Celtic cauldrons to be the ‘true’ grails and those of the vessels revered today by many people as the genuine one.
Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.
Here are some of his other talks you might be interested in
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