Thursday, March 09, 2006

(150) Wolfram/Wolfman. Further name confusion

In early 1998 my wife received a review copy of the book The Holy Kingdom, by Adrian Gilbert, Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett.

On page 25, in a chapter headed The Once and Future King, there occurs an interesting typographical error.

They refer to one of the earliest writers on the Grail, Wolfram von Eschenbach and how in his twelfth century work, Parzifal, he depicts the Grail as a stone.

But the reference is not to Wolfram but Wolfman!

Why Wolfman should have thought of the Holy Grail as being a stone is not explained but it appears to act as some sort of magical altar.

They refer to Wolfram’s description of the Grail hovering in the air whilst a symbol of the Holy Ghost, a dove, flies down from heaven and places a communion host upon it.

They then debate the meaning of the Latin words that Wolfram uses to describe the Grail, lapsit excilis.
Following on from Emma Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz, Roderick Main (and myself) had already taken up this association (see Appendix Four in Part Two: The Narrative, Epilogues and Appendices).

The authors here suggest that it could also be a corruption of the Latin lapis excilis, meaning "paltry stone", and that such a seemingly valueless object should be the Grail could be a reference to that in Matthew’s Gospel to Jesus as the "stone which the builder rejected becoming the chief stone of the corner".

They then take up the very different interpretation, that lapsit excilis should be read as lapis ex caelis – that is, a "stone which has fallen out of heaven": a meteorite.

"Under this interpretation Wolfram, for whatever reason, seems to be linking a meteorite with the Grail legend."

In my wife’s 1996 book Double Act, there is a poem about me and also dedicated to me.

It is called Wolfman.

Note also the name of the actor playing Perceval in the film Knights of the Round Table in Part Two: The Narrative, Epilogues and Appendices.

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