Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
This is another winner in the Modern Scholar series. Although one might wish for a more modulated voice (especially in the early lectures), Professor Potkay obviously knows her stuff. If you are like me, you know about the Grail in bits and pieces from the Arthurian legends, from movies and books. This course provides a fascinating context for those "pop culture" Grail references.
It's most interesting to find that legends of the Grail don't surface until the Middle Ages and that they are more European than Middle Eastern . We learn here a great deal more about people like Joseph of Aramathea, who supposedly brings the Grail to England; about the more obscure figures of The Fisher King and Prester John; and about Percevel, Lancelot, and Galahad and the Knightly quests for the Grail. There's discussion of the mysteries about the exact nature of the Grail, where it might be, and why anyone should look for it.
Potkay carries the story into the modern day with discussions of the popularity of books such as "The Mists of Avalon", "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," and even "The DaVinci Code." There's even a lecture on movies ranging from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". However familiar (or not) the listener is with the history and legends of the Grail, there is a lot of really terrific information here.
I wish everyone, atheist or non, would listen to at least the 3rd and 4th chapters of this book. We're all aware of the reasons why anger is sometimes an appropriate reaction to organized religion, but the book, to me, was not primarily about that. It's about reason and justice and whether or not human beings are really willing to offer more than lip service to these ideals which we claim to revere.
I would argue that those who consider themselves religious will not be particularly offended by this book, despite its "angry" title. You don't have to agree with Greta Christina to gain something from listening and to realize (and hopefully admit) that she makes some valid points here.
The author reads her book well and with conviction and humor - happily, not with anger. It's bound to make the listener look at religion in new ways.
I am not a person who listens or reads self-help books, or even many books on spirituality or religion. ( Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, and a few others being the notable exceptions)-- so I approached this warily. I have found though that John O'Donohue's writing describes my experience of Spirit, and his words are expanding my vocabulary for experiences I've had, a way of life I have known, but never managed to express.
I don't imagine his path is one that would speak to all seekers. But if you have been raised with a celtic consciousness, his writing will help to round out your living connection to Spirit and do it in a way that does not conflict with you Christian faith, but rather rounds it out and deepens it.
O'Donahue's voice is clear and musical, with a sort of clear high sound, like the wind working against the ancient stones. It can be a little tiring if you do not listen closely. My suggestion is to take in what he says in short bits. His writing is so full and deep, just like a rich fragrant dish of some delicious food, you don't want to consume it, but rather take it in slowly, and let it work in the hidden parts of your heart, and then go back for more. There is time. There is no need to rush.
Finally I just want to express my profound gratitude for the life and work of this man. He managed to bring together and make sense of the tangle of the celtic consciousness, which is hidden, almost lost in the rush and bright light of modern scientific western thought. -- I am sorry his "clay form" is no longer walking around among us, and yet so grateful that his wisdom has been shared and continues to be heard.