Julius Thompson’s Grigori Anime

Julius Thompson is developing an anime film on the Grigori. The name “Grigori” is the Slavic for the Watcher angels who first appear in the book of 1 Enoch (ca. 300 BCE) and later in the biblical book of Daniel (ca. 163 BCE).

Thompson has an expanded definition of the grigori, however, including various gods, angels, monsters, giants and heroes mentioned in ancient literature from the ancient Near East and Greece. The Watcher angels Semjaza and Azazek are joined by the antediluvian patriarchs Enoch and Methusaleh, the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh (described as a giant in Enuma Elish) and the Annunaki, and the Greek Medusa and the Minotaur – among others. In recent decades, a number of writers influenced by ancient alien theories or speculation on the biblical end times have made connections between such diverse figures, and attributed supernatural powers to them. It will be interesting to see what Thompson does with these kind of traditions in his anime fiction.

As the first teaser trailer shows, Thompson’s Grigori will draw on the (spurious) accounts of the discovery of giant bones – stories told in ancient Greece 2600 years ago, as well as on the internet today:

Here’s Thompson’s illustration of Genesis 6:4,the highly allusive verse which – in the following two thousand years – has generated a mass of legends about Watchers, giants, and demons:

Grigori anime

It will be interesting to see how this project comes together. Looks like there will be lots of fighting, anyway:

epic_battle_scene__the_grigori

 

I Was Once Ignorant of Great Bones

In Flavius Philostratus, Heroikos 8.18, a character known as “the Phoenician” is told about the gigantic bones of various ancient heroes and demi-gods which had been found in various places.

After listening to the list, the Phoenician says that he didn’t formerly believe in such stories about Greek heroes and demi-gods, but does now on the basis of the ‘great bones” which have been discovered. And it gives rise to this great line:

ἐγω δε μεγαλα [ὀστα] μεν ἠγνοουν, ἀνοητως δε ἠπιστουν
“I was ignorant of such great bones, and out of ignorance I disbelieved.”

Adrienne Mayor argues in The First Fossil Hunters that the great bones which were found, and which were attributed to Greek heroes and demi-gods, were typically the remains of mastodons and whales.

However, none of these opinions of so-called modern science should pose any sort of problem for the true believer in giant heroes and demi-gods. As a believer in giant heroes and demi-gods, I don’t have the luxury of dispensing with things just because our culture thinks we should. Culture isn’t the final arbiter of truth. Revelation is. Sure, Adrienne Mayor may believe, based on the presuppositions of her materialist-naturalist worldview, that the giant bones of heroes and demi-gods are just “mastodons” and “whales”. But has anybody seen one of these so-called “mastodons”? No – so it equally depends on FAITH. We have different perspectives PRECISELY because I see life through the lens of faith in giant heroes and demi-gods and she does not. It is for this reason that our views on several issues differ…I simply recognize that, at the end of the day, we approach problems and issues from differing starting points.

2012: A Giant Year for Giant Movies!

Giants are so cool.

2011 may be almost over, and the Hitch and Kim Jong Il are no longer with us – but 2012 brings us two movies featuring Giants!

1. Wrath of the Titans – featuring the titanomachy in 3-D, and Titans who look like the volcanoes under which they were buried.

Watch the preview:

Wrath of the Titans
Wrath of the Titans

2. Jack the Giant-Killer – The story of Jack and the Beanstalk,  with the sci-fi-influenced addition of gateways between worlds for added realism.

Watch the preview:

Jack the Giant-Killer
Jack the Giant-Killer

On the Giant Height of Achilles, Ajax, and Orestes: Philostratus

Travis Jacobs, Steve Douglas, and Matthew Raymer at [Ad Hoc] Christianity have posted another round-up of biblical studies and theological blogging. In their podcast, “Episode #18: Blogosphere roundup, May 4, 2011“, they discuss a large number of blog posts over the last few weeks, including one from Remnant of Giants which was titled, “The Height of the Giants who survived the Flood“.

They also (and I speak in the plural, because I’m not sure if it was Travis, Steve, or Matthew) ask a question about the height given for Achilles, Ajax, and Orestes. Their height was depicted in this graphic art by homoerotic artist, He Thong:

In answer to your question, these statures appear in Heroikos, by Philostratus of Lemnos:

In his work Heroikos (“On Heroes”, ca. AD 230), the sophist Philostratus the Lemnian  addresses the general belief that ancient heroes averaged more than 10 cubits – equivalent to more than 4 meters or 12 feet – in height. Philostratus mentions, as an empirical evidence for giant heroes, the findings of  enormous bones in the places where the heroes’ tombs were traditionally assumed to lie.
 
On the basis of the sizes of those bones, Philostratus states that, for instance, Orestes – one of Agamemnon ‘s children – reached 3 meters or 10 feet; Ajax – king of Salamis and a principal character in Homer’s Iliad – was not less that 4.5 meters or 15 feet tall; and Achilles – the greatest warrior of the Trojan war, according to Homer – was a colossus 10 meter or 33 feet in height.
 
– He Thong
 
 So, this particular tradition concerning the height of Achilles, Ajax, and Orestes is quite late, from the end of classical antiquity – although Philostratus is reporting a belief about the height of these heroes which was already in existence in the early third century AD.

New online version of Liddell-Scott-Jones (LSJ)

Maria Pantelia
Maria Pantelia - Lexicographer

Following five years of hard work, “The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) is proud to announce the release of a new online version of Liddell-Scott-Jones (LSJ), the premier lexicon for classical Greek.”

Subscribers have access to the full LSJ. But even the hoi polloi have access to the abridged TLS corpus, which provides a very useful free online dictionary of ancient Greek.

Look – I’ve already made a useful search:

Gigas

h/t: Jim West, Zwinglius Redivivus

The Use of Myth in History: Ken Dowden

Monsters exist in order to be defeated and, preferably, slain. (134)

Ken Dowden
Ken Dowden

Ken Dowden’s The Uses of Greek Mythology (Routledge, 1992) provides an excellent guide to the ways in which Greek myth was used to construct Greek historiography that was set in the more remote past.

I particularly like the following quote from the book, which should be meditated upon at length by a fundamentally uncritical strand of scholarship which is unfortunately prevalent today within biblical studies:

No matter how fictional or artificial local myth seems to us, it is always capable of being treated as strict history by interested parties. (89)