As I prepare the final post explaining why this is not an apologetics site, it seemed appropriate to shave this bit of it off and leave it here by itself.
In the ancient near east, cosmology, cosmogony, temple building, sacral kingship, and the war against chaos are all tied together. One might validly question whether these metaphors lead to the perennial identification of enemies to war against; alternatively, one might validly ask about whether the figures in this myth don’t honestly give expression to the fact that any achieved stability is temporary, has a remainder that cannot be included, and contains the shadow of what can and inevitably will undo it.
There is a widespread –and likely perennial– habit of flattening historical distance to assimilate everything to one’s own parochial universe. Children are like this. The Piglet is like this, for he
lived in a very grand house in the middle of a beech-tree, and the beech-tree was in the middle of the forest, and the Piglet lived in the middle of the house. Next to his house was a piece of broken board which had: “TRESPASSERS W” on it. When Christopher Robin asked the Piglet what it meant, he said it was his grandfather’s name, and had been in the family for a long time. Christopher Robin said you couldn’t be called Trespassers W, and Piglet said yes, you could, because his grandfather was, and it was short for Trespassers Will, which was short for Trespassers William. And his grandfather had had two names in case he lost one – Trespassers after an uncle, and William after Trespassers. [A. A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (New York, NY: Penguin — Dutton Children’s Books, 1996), 32]
(It is not at the center: the Piglet’s house is, in fact, on the southwest edge of the Hundred Acre Wood according to the map drawn by Ernest Shepard, the official illustrator.) Attention to historical detail requires attention to how the object under question is an artifact that, though it can be variously used by us, comes from a world that is, at least in some degree, different from our own.
This is now the third time I’ve tried to post this poem by way of the mobile editor…