Saturday, August 17, 2013

St Oswald - Phantom Time and Catholic Crimes

I was watching a documentary about the Anglo-Saxons and it got me thinking about St Oswald again. There are two St Oswalds;

One a 7th century King of Northumbria, the other a 10th century Archbishop.

It seems odd to me that there would be two saints of the same name in the same country separated by three hundred years. Especially as the first one was particularly important. You'd have thought when the second one came along they would have differentiated him by giving him a different name or something. It makes me wonder if this could be some sort of Fomenko style duplicate. Maybe the 300 year gap is a symptom of the Phantom Time Hypothesis.

Many aspects of these saints lives seem quite frankly made up as well. The second Oswald supposedly died washing the feet of the poor. And Bede tells a story of how the first piously broke up a silver dish and gave it to the poor.

The name Oswald also seems quite curious too. It means "Divine ruler". "Os" meaning God and "Wald" meaning wield in Anglo-Saxon. A pretty apt name for a venerated saint don't-cha think. "Wald" also means forest in German. I can't help but wonder if that meaning would work better - Forest of God, or maybe even Tree of God. This would tie in with stuff like the Dream of the Rood where there seems to be some sort of Pagan-Christian strand where the cross is more a real tree than an actual wooden cross.

The Waldensians also spring to mind. They were supposedly named after their founder Peter Waldo, but this seems tenuous to me. I'd wager that they originally worshipped outside in forests - or that they even maybe worshipped trees to some extent. Maybe both they and the Oswald myths and legends are echoes of a Northern Christianity that was suppressed and co-opted by the Catholic church.

On the topic of Oswald myths this caught my eye on the first Oswald's Wikipedia page;
Reginald of Durham recounts another miracle, saying that his right arm was taken by a bird (perhaps a raven) to an ash tree, which gave the tree ageless vigor; when the bird dropped the arm onto the ground, a spring emerged from the ground. Both the tree and the spring were, according to Reginald, subsequently associated with healing miracles. Aspects of the legend have been considered to have pagan overtones or influences—this may represent a fusion of his status as a traditional Germanic warrior-king with Christianity. The name of the site, Oswestry, or "Oswald's Tree", is generally thought to be derived from Oswald's death there and the legends surrounding it.
Not very Christian at all.

I should also mention the Oswald legend associated with Roseberry Topping which I spoke of in an earlier post. It tells the story of Oswald's son Oswy (who in the conventional historical record is actually Oswald's brother - hmm?). In it he drowns in childhood in a spring at the summit of the Topping - fulfilling a prophetic dream his mother had. A fuller version of the legend can be found here -

Interestingly there's a church dedicated to St Oswald in the nearby village of Newton-under-Roseberry.

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