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Excersus CIV: The James Sprenger Show


First, along the lines of Shameless Self Promotion, I'd encourage everybody around and about England right now to pick up a copy of The Freethinker - I have a bit of an article in there about Atheist Literature, and come September will have one about La Mettrie and the non-existence of the soul, so you might as well pick up a subscription while you're at it!

One of the wonderful (and by wonderful I mean horrid) things about theology from the 5th through 15th centuries was its endless cleverness at finding ever more elaborate reasons to believe what they wanted to be true in order that they could then continue acting as they wanted to act. It's nearly adorable, the transparency with which huge gaping holes in fundamental reasoning exist side by side with intensely intricate analysis of secondary concepts. The master at this was Aquinas, but Sprenger and Kramer are funnier in that they clearly WANT to be taken as seriously as Aquinas, but can't quite bring themselves to the effort. Therefore you often see them starting an argument and then just giving up, literally writing "ETC" in place of actually finishing their thought, or alternately breaking down in a string of references to other authors in place of working through the concepts themselves. They want to be serious theologians, but at the same time really want to get on to the good stuff, about their experience with impotence witches, and like a kid telling a story with a great ending, a bunch of things get Left Out along the way.

- Count Dolby von Luckner