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Tony Grist

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Melchizidek [Sep. 5th, 2018|11:14 am]
Tony Grist
The other case of synchronicity had to do with Melchizidek. I knew him as a Biblical character and someone who you keep tripping over when you're "dabbling" in magic and the esoteric- but I'd never really thought about him- so I decided I would.

Melchizidek appears in the Book of Genesis, arriving mid-story, without prior introduction, hosts a parley between Abraham and the King of Sodom, provides bread and wine- and gives Abraham his blessing. He is described as King of Salem (meaning Peace) and priest of the Most High God (the first person in the Torah to be given the title "cohen") and everybody seems to defer to him.

He has haunted the Judaeo-Christian imagination ever since. Tradition says he never died. He has been identified as the Messiah, The Holy Spirit, an Avatar of Jesus, Jesus himself....

The essential thing about him is that he stands outside any sacerdotal lineage or initiatory tradition. He is inherently priestly. To be a "priest in the order of Melchizidek" is to owe your priesthood to no-one but God.

I've filched this picture from Wikipedia. It's by the Netherlandish painter Dieric Bouts and depicts the meeting of Abraham and Melchizidek. Abraham ( a sprightly 71 at the time of the encounter) is the guy in armour.

[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2018-09-05 03:14 pm (UTC)
Was Dieric Bouts the painter friend of Gerard in The Cloister and the Hearth? Or was that Hans Memling?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-09-05 05:49 pm (UTC)
I don't think Bouts appears in the Cloister and the Hearth.

Hans Memling features as the well-meaning drunk who is entrusted with the letter that gets switched by Gerard's brothers for one falsely announcing Margaret's death. Gerard's painter friend in Rome is Pietro Perugino.

The real Hans Memling was a prolific and highly successful artist and I find this hard to square with Reade's portrayal of him as a chuckle-headed boozer.
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[User Picture]From: qos
2018-09-06 01:57 pm (UTC)
To be a "priest in the order of Melchizidek" is to owe your priesthood to no-one but God.

I've heard this phrase a lot over the years, and never really understood what it meant -- but this makes perfect sense!

He's a fascinating figure. Part of me wishes we knew more about him, but he probably wouldn't be as interesting if we did.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-09-06 05:23 pm (UTC)
I think he fascinates us precisely because we know so little about him.
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