WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

The indisputable highlight of July is one day of patriotic fireworks, parades, and red-white-and-blue flags waving in national fervor. I’m speaking, of course, of July 14—Bastille Day, the most important holiday in France. So crank “La Marseillaise” and allow quiz show champ Ken Jennings to help you out with his formidable! knowledge of all things French.

French Myth #3: Joan of Arc was from France.

Joan of Arc, the peasant girl who helped lead resistance to the English in the Hundred Years’ War, is today the patron saint of France and a bona fide national heroine, depicted in countless statues, stamps, and oil paintings. She and Napoleon were France’s only representative time-travelers in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, if that lets you know what a big deal she is. But depending on where (literally) you draw the line, Joan wasn’t from France at all—the Gallic equivalent of finding out that Abraham Lincoln was a secret Canadian.

Portrait of the heretic as a tough girl

Joan (actually Jeanne) was born around 1412 in the village of Domrémy, which is today in northeastern France. But in the 15th century, Domrémy was part of the Duchy of Bar, a small independent territory that wasn’t annexed by France until 1766. The Duchy of Bar lay between France and the Holy Roman Empire, and a typically convoluted series of feudal alliances meant that the King of France might have had no sovereign claim on the land where Joan grew up, depending on the exact (and long disputed, by historians) course that a nearby brook happened to take past her house! Her neighbors certainly felt loyalty to the French crown in the Armagnac-Burgundian civil war going on at that time—Joan said at trial that she knew only one Burgundian in Domremy, and she wished she could cut off his head. But she also spoke many times of traveling from her village “into France.” The Barrois (residents of Bar) at the time clearly did not consider their province a part of France proper.

Just as with her birth, much of what you know about Joan of Arc’s death could probably use some debunking as well. When Joan was examined, she was found to be a virgin, and church law at the time insisted that women who consorted with the devil were literally, you know, consorting with the devil. So she was never accused of witchcraft, only “heresy.” In May 1431, Joan renounced her heresy—the divine voices she claimed to hear—and agreed to switch to women’s clothes, which saved her from execution. But she was burned at the stake a week later because she had started wearing men’s clothing again, either because her dress had been stolen, or as a defense against rape (accounts differ). In the end, her capital crime was against fashion, not theology.

Quick Quiz: Joan is sometimes called “the Maid of” what French city, where she liberated from siege in 1429?

Ken Jennings is the author of Because I Said So!, Brainiac, Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

dwootshrute


quality posts: 2 Private Messages dwootshrute

The Maid of Orleans.

jcolag


quality posts: 8 Private Messages jcolag

Hm. By that standard, Nikola Tesla wasn't Croatian (his home town was in the Austrian Empire when he was born) and, heck, all of the founding fathers were British, rather than American.

It's worth noting as interesting, of course, but it seems more semantic than substantive to say that it's wrong to claim a connection to France as if Jeanne was one of the Coneheads.

buggsy2


quality posts: 8 Private Messages buggsy2

Speaking of France, did Marie Antoinette really say "let them eat cake"?

cmackin


quality posts: 0 Private Messages cmackin

Pfft, Jesus is the biggest fake of all time!

Outside of Christian literature there's no evidence at all of his existence, the New Testament was written by men who never knew him!!!!!

Debunk that myth next please.

BJGumby


quality posts: 3 Private Messages BJGumby
cmackin wrote:Pfft, Jesus is the biggest fake of all time!

Outside of Christian literature there's no evidence at all of his existence, the New Testament was written by men who never knew him!!!!!

Debunk that myth next please.



There is a general consensus among biblical scholars that the Gospel of Matthew was written at least in part by the Aposlte. Plus, scholars also generally agree that Josephus's writing about Jesus are authentic

slothful1


quality posts: 1 Private Messages slothful1
BJGumby wrote:There is a general consensus among biblical scholars that the Gospel of Matthew was written at least in part by the Aposlte. Plus, scholars also generally agree that Josephus's writing about Jesus are authentic



Roman historian Tacitus also refers to Jesus' life and crucifixion as simple historical fact.

kmclau1958


quality posts: 1 Private Messages kmclau1958
cmackin wrote:Pfft, Jesus is the biggest fake of all time!

Outside of Christian literature there's no evidence at all of his existence, the New Testament was written by men who never knew him!!!!!

Debunk that myth next please.



Actually there are more than that. Josephus (mentioned above) does testify not only to Christ, but also a few other details of miracle-working toward the end of the first century. A similar reference is found in the Jewish Talmud, which recounts a Yeshu of Nazareth was hanged on the eve of the Passover for sorcery, although the date for that is harder to place (probably 3rd century). There is a third from the Roman historian Tacitus who wrote at the beginning of the second century about his life and death, and the subsequent Christian movement that had spread. There is also a mention by Celsus who wrote toward the end of the second century, which is a bit later than Josephus or Tacitus.

On top of that, you have to wrestle with the dating of the gospels, which can be reasonably dated from 40-70, with John being 90-100. Then you have to deal with Paul, most of whose writings are considered authentic, writing most of his letters from 50-60.

You may reject Christianity, but understand you are proposing something not really held period until the beginning of the 20th century, then roundly rejected by the overwhelming majority of the scholarly community from Schweitzer forward. It's one thing to say that the Bible does not correctly recount the story of Jesus, and that it mixes fabrication with truth. It's another thing, and very radical step, to therefore suggest he didn't exist. Don't deny history because of your anti-Christian views, or you're no better than the Christians who accept history because of theirs.

Also, your comment about "men who never knew Jesus" that somehow has become a factually accepted statement in pop culture despite mountains of scholarly writings to the contrary should be reexamined. I would argue that in most cases, the names attached to the books are probably right, and to think that you or any modern skeptic living almost 2,000 years is in a position to know better than early Patristic writers who lived with 50-70 years of the actual writing of the books is highly arrogant. When you have authors who write within a lifetime (or men like Polycarp, who lived during it) about not only who authored the book, but what their sources were, what people they associated with, and why they are authoritative, those lend more credibility to their testimony than your fringe conspiracy theories.

jahutcherson


quality posts: 1 Private Messages jahutcherson

Nicely done!

kmclau1958 wrote:Actually there are more than that. Josephus (mentioned above) does testify not only to Christ, but also a few other details of miracle-working toward the end of the first century. A similar reference is found in the Jewish Talmud, which recounts a Yeshu of Nazareth was hanged on the eve of the Passover for sorcery, although the date for that is harder to place (probably 3rd century). There is a third from the Roman historian Tacitus who wrote at the beginning of the second century about his life and death, and the subsequent Christian movement that had spread. There is also a mention by Celsus who wrote toward the end of the second century, which is a bit later than Josephus or Tacitus.

On top of that, you have to wrestle with the dating of the gospels, which can be reasonably dated from 40-70, with John being 90-100. Then you have to deal with Paul, most of whose writings are considered authentic, writing most of his letters from 50-60.

You may reject Christianity, but understand you are proposing something not really held period until the beginning of the 20th century, then roundly rejected by the overwhelming majority of the scholarly community from Schweitzer forward. It's one thing to say that the Bible does not correctly recount the story of Jesus, and that it mixes fabrication with truth. It's another thing, and very radical step, to therefore suggest he didn't exist. Don't deny history because of your anti-Christian views, or you're no better than the Christians who accept history because of theirs.

Also, your comment about "men who never knew Jesus" that somehow has become a factually accepted statement in pop culture despite mountains of scholarly writings to the contrary should be reexamined. I would argue that in most cases, the names attached to the books are probably right, and to think that you or any modern skeptic living almost 2,000 years is in a position to know better than early Patristic writers who lived with 50-70 years of the actual writing of the books is highly arrogant. When you have authors who write within a lifetime (or men like Polycarp, who lived during it) about not only who authored the book, but what their sources were, what people they associated with, and why they are authoritative, those lend more credibility to their testimony than your fringe conspiracy theories.



marklamb


quality posts: 0 Private Messages marklamb
kmclau1958 wrote:Actually there are more than that. Josephus (mentioned above) does testify not only to Christ, but also a few other details of miracle-working toward the end of the first century. A similar reference is found in the Jewish Talmud, which recounts a Yeshu of Nazareth was hanged on the eve of the Passover for sorcery, although the date for that is harder to place (probably 3rd century). There is a third from the Roman historian Tacitus who wrote at the beginning of the second century about his life and death, and the subsequent Christian movement that had spread. There is also a mention by Celsus who wrote toward the end of the second century, which is a bit later than Josephus or Tacitus.

On top of that, you have to wrestle with the dating of the gospels, which can be reasonably dated from 40-70, with John being 90-100. Then you have to deal with Paul, most of whose writings are considered authentic, writing most of his letters from 50-60.

You may reject Christianity, but understand you are proposing something not really held period until the beginning of the 20th century, then roundly rejected by the overwhelming majority of the scholarly community from Schweitzer forward. It's one thing to say that the Bible does not correctly recount the story of Jesus, and that it mixes fabrication with truth. It's another thing, and very radical step, to therefore suggest he didn't exist. Don't deny history because of your anti-Christian views, or you're no better than the Christians who accept history because of theirs.

Also, your comment about "men who never knew Jesus" that somehow has become a factually accepted statement in pop culture despite mountains of scholarly writings to the contrary should be reexamined. I would argue that in most cases, the names attached to the books are probably right, and to think that you or any modern skeptic living almost 2,000 years is in a position to know better than early Patristic writers who lived with 50-70 years of the actual writing of the books is highly arrogant. When you have authors who write within a lifetime (or men like Polycarp, who lived during it) about not only who authored the book, but what their sources were, what people they associated with, and why they are authoritative, those lend more credibility to their testimony than your fringe conspiracy theories.



Jesus, that's a very informative reply with sound logical structure that pretty much lays waste to the original conjecture.

cjprof


quality posts: 0 Private Messages cjprof

Joan of Arc is NOT the patron saint of France: It is St. Denis.

whoiskenjennings


quality posts: 6 Private Messages whoiskenjennings

Guest Blogger

Joan and Denis are both regarded as patron saints of France. So are (less commonly) several other saints, include Martin of Tours and Therese of Lisieux.

It's true that Joan's nationality is largely a semantic issue, but I don't think it's quite parallel to an example like "Extra, extra! George Washington was born a British subject!" For one thing, everyone knows that; this whole "Duchy of Bar" business was news to me. Secondly, George Washington's case is a chronological loophole: he was born at a time when there WAS no independent America to be born in. Joan, on the other hand, lived at a time when France was a major world power. She just didn't live in it.

And we debunked "Let them eat cake" last year.

LarryLars


quality posts: 65 Private Messages LarryLars
cjprof wrote:Joan of Arc is NOT the patron saint of France: It is St. Denis.




From wikipedia:
"She is – along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux – one of the patron saints of France."


!

Have you checked your Private Messages lately?

JiggaWagga


quality posts: 1 Private Messages JiggaWagga
kmclau1958 wrote:Actually there are more than that. Josephus (mentioned above) does testify not only to Christ, but also a few other details of miracle-working toward the end of the first century. A similar reference is found in the Jewish Talmud, which recounts a Yeshu of Nazareth was hanged on the eve of the Passover for sorcery, although the date for that is harder to place (probably 3rd century). There is a third from the Roman historian Tacitus who wrote at the beginning of the second century about his life and death, and the subsequent Christian movement that had spread. There is also a mention by Celsus who wrote toward the end of the second century, which is a bit later than Josephus or Tacitus.

On top of that, you have to wrestle with the dating of the gospels, which can be reasonably dated from 40-70, with John being 90-100. Then you have to deal with Paul, most of whose writings are considered authentic, writing most of his letters from 50-60.

You may reject Christianity, but understand you are proposing something not really held period until the beginning of the 20th century, then roundly rejected by the overwhelming majority of the scholarly community from Schweitzer forward. It's one thing to say that the Bible does not correctly recount the story of Jesus, and that it mixes fabrication with truth. It's another thing, and very radical step, to therefore suggest he didn't exist. Don't deny history because of your anti-Christian views, or you're no better than the Christians who accept history because of theirs.

Also, your comment about "men who never knew Jesus" that somehow has become a factually accepted statement in pop culture despite mountains of scholarly writings to the contrary should be reexamined. I would argue that in most cases, the names attached to the books are probably right, and to think that you or any modern skeptic living almost 2,000 years is in a position to know better than early Patristic writers who lived with 50-70 years of the actual writing of the books is highly arrogant. When you have authors who write within a lifetime (or men like Polycarp, who lived during it) about not only who authored the book, but what their sources were, what people they associated with, and why they are authoritative, those lend more credibility to their testimony than your fringe conspiracy theories.



Usually I'd say "Please don't feed the trolls," but you certainly took this one to school. Well done.

jcolag


quality posts: 8 Private Messages jcolag
whoiskenjennings wrote:For one thing, everyone knows that; this whole "Duchy of Bar" business was news to me.



Sorry, shoddy editing on my part. At some point I tried to be clear that it was certainly interesting--I've never heard of the place--but just felt overstated.

pooterfish


quality posts: 0 Private Messages pooterfish

If Jeanne had entered a convent like the Church suggested, there's no doubt she would have been the best Bar Nun.

whoiskenjennings


quality posts: 6 Private Messages whoiskenjennings

Guest Blogger

pooterfish wrote:If Jeanne had entered a convent like the Church suggested, there's no doubt she would have been the best Bar Nun.



Hey oh!