The Grail Legend (Audio: Lecture I.6.4)
Galahad is a word from the Old Testament that means Mountain of Testimony; [Sir Galahad] is a mountain of testimony to Christ. The whole tradition of the virgin knight as the Grail knight belongs to a Cistercian monastic line.
Whereas the line of Wolfram is the secular line of a secular knight [Parcival] who is married. And as we’re going to see it’s because of his loyalty to his marriage under all circumstances and his courage and resolution in combat, fearlessness and also integrity in love that he becomes finally the Grail King. —Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell explores the historical roots of the Grail legend. He discusses the development of the Roman Catholic Church in the Dark Ages, and shows how new conceptions of love, marriage, and worship gave rise to a secular “religion,” that of courtly romance. He then examines the quest for the Holy Grail, both as an expression of these new ideas of love and as a reaction against the dogmatic practices of the medieval Church. Finally, in his own inimitable style, he recounts the Grail Legend.
Running time: approx. 60 minutes