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Apr 09 2014

Stephen Colbert finds the Holy Grail

Although Monty Python and the Holy Grail is one of my favorite films, I had not really thought about where the idea of the Holy Grail originated or what it represented. To me it was just another bit of medieval folklore whose origins were lost in the mists of time. In this clip, he explains some things about it.

(This clip aired on April 3, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)

5 comments

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  1. 1
    sigurd jorsalfar

    The holy grail? That’s not a bad find, but I’m still quite happy with my piece of the true cross. It’s sitting on my desk right next to me as I type.

  2. 2
    weatherwax

    There’s a real good history of the grail in Tony Robinson documentary on the Da Vinci Code.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAtoP5nFhh4

    Basically, the grail was invented for a novel in the 12th century, Chrétien de Troyes ‘ Perceval, the Story of the Grail’.

  3. 3
    brucegee1962

    The funny thing is that Chretien, when he first introduced the Grail, didn’t actually say it was the cup used at the last supper, or that it had any kind of Christian symbolism at all. It was just part of a mysterious procession, along with a mysterious spear – possibly ancient fertility symbols. The word grail didn’t even mean cup – it was a wide dish that you’d serve eels in. It was heavily foreshadowed that later on Perceval would find out what the Grail actually was, but de Troyes never finished the story. Later people were the ones who came up with all the religious symbology.

  4. 4
    LykeX

    Somewhere on the intertubes, there are some interesting lectures by Joseph Campbell floating around, where he goes into the origin of the grail myths and how they draw on other non-Christian myths. Unfortunately my bookmark has gone dead, but maybe someone can dig up a link.

  5. 5
    Timothy

    Monty Python rocks!

    Joseph Campbell followed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in interpreting psychologically the Grail legend.

    Here’s an excerpt from Bill Moyer’s excellent interview with Joseph Campbell:

    http://www.slc.edu/magazine/lost-found/2013-03-15-the-holy-grail-mag.html

    Many Jungian authors have written about the Grail legend. Here’s a great starting book for those interested:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Grail-Legend-Emma-Jung/dp/0691002371

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