|Glastonbury Tor at the London Olympic Opening Ceremony - see Monkey business|
An interesting article cropped up in yesterday's BBC News - The strange myth in the song Jerusalem.
Within, the author, Gavin Rubin, tells us of how the song appears likely to be adopted as England's own national anthem and explores the "myth" behind the poem which sprung the tune - And did those feet in ancient time - which in itself is based on the legend of a visit by Jesus, in the company of his great uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, to the British Isles.
Gavin discounts the legend given lack of evidence and instead points to the tales of King Arthur :
Instead, the legend of Jesus walking upon England's mountains green is part and parcel of the cycle of medieval legends about Britain's own King Arthur. Those stories say that after Jesus's Crucifixion, Joseph took the Holy Grail to Glastonbury, where he established the first English church. But that's not all he left. According to the 14th Century monk John of Glastonbury, Arthur, the greatest of British heroes, was Joseph's great-great-great-great grandson - and therefore related to Jesus himself.
One of the most famous legends about Joseph's time in Glastonbury states that one night he struck his staff into the ground and went to sleep. When he awoke he saw that a hawthorn tree had miraculously sprung from the staff...
Gavin then surmises that Blake "probably" wrote the poem as a way of expressing his dissatisfaction over the Industrial Revolution and it's effect on humanity and was simply looking back at the simplicity of prior life. He concludes his piece by quoting from Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of church history at the University of Oxford, who claims the story is "totally implausible...it obviously didn't happen. Why should a carpenter's son from the eastern Mediterranean even think of coming here. It's just silly English self-promotion. Nothing more to it than that."
Thus what Gavin appears to be asserting is that there was no visit by Jesus, which may well be the case, and that the legend has sprung to life because King Arthur is a blood relative of Jesus.
Curiously, if we look at the wikipedia entry for And did those feet in ancient times, there is no mention of the King Arthur legend however there is reference to a "second coming", the Book of Revelation and a New Jerusalem. Apparently, the English Church uses Jerusalem as a metaphor for heaven - "a place of universal love and peace".
Prince William Arthur Louis, born on the summer solstice 1982, appears to be fond of the song, it was one of the three hymns at his wedding, with Druid and Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, as celebrant.
When Rowan became a Druid in 2002 there was some controversy. His white robed initiation involved stepping into a stone circle, "reciting prayers which don't mention Jesus Christ". However, Rowan hit back : "Some people have reached the wrong conclusion about the ceremony. If people had actually looked at the words of the hymns and text used they would have seen a very Christian service." (The Guardian). Thus, can we glean there are strong comparisons between the Druid and Christian "faiths"and if so, which influenced which ?
|Tartan (many colours) clad, Ben Hur, meets a Druid whilst waiting for Jesus|
Just to close it's worth reiterating that back in 2013, the Scottish Church, in a report on Israel, stated :
"The 'promised land' in the Bible is not a place, so much as a metaphor of how things ought to be among the people of God. This 'promised land' can be found - or built - anywhere." (Crypto jewology)
Note that the legend of the hawthorn tree sprouting from a staff is not as far fetched as it may sound. In horticulture it's called a hardwood cutting, although admittedly, it usually needs to over-winter before sprouting roots.