Daily Archives: September 4, 2008

Lamed-Vovniks as Victim Souls?

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Cool Yup’ik Facts

Yup’iks (the tribe of folks from which Todd Palin is descended) are not Inuits. Inuits, Aleuts, Yup’iks et al are all part of the group of related tribes and languages that used to be lumped together as “Eskimos” and now are lumped together as “Inuits”. But this is like lumping together all Algonquian tribes as “Lenapes”. Or, in fact, “Algonquians”. But it’s a lot more annoying when Inuits are the tribe next door, one gathers. Steve Sailer has a good article on the Inuit/Eskimo/Yup’ik thing, which might come in useful nowadays.

Yup’iks have a unique naming convention. Each child born in a village is given the Yup’ik name of the last person in the village to die — man or woman, makes no matter. Hence, there are absolutely no sex distinctions in Yup’ik naming.

Navigating the Alaskan tundra, and riding snowmobiles over the “frozen waves” of snow or water, are  essential everyday skills for many Yup’iks. Here’s an interesting webpage that teaches you how a Yup’ik would find his way from Point A to Point B in a featureless (to my eyes, not his) frozen winter wilderness. It’s based on instruction given by a Yup’ik elder to some university folks, and is full of practical math and navigation stuff. Great for you homeschoolers and Scouts!

Finally, I’d love to see a Yup’ik move to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A Yooper Yup’ik.


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Laeta’s miracle baby is an Early Christian example of an oblate. Oblates were children dedicated to the service of God by their parents, and thus raised by nuns or monks or canons/canonesses as live-in apprentices. This was scripturally justified by the example of Hannah, a barren woman who swore in private prayer that if God would give her a son, she would give her son to God. She fulfilled her oath by giving her young son Samuel to the High Priest to raise.

This particular high priest was Eli, who had a lot of sons himself, but who was also incredibly corrupt and raised his sons that way. They were eventually all visited by divine vengeance and stuff, but only after they finished raising Samuel. Who became one of Israel’s greatest prophets, but still you can see that this is a rather odd Biblical event to want to emulate.

During late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, Heinrich’s book indicates that oblates were originally treated with a good deal of care and concern. They were supposed to be educated for everything, including life in the outside world. Then they were to be asked, when they came to adulthood, if they wanted to stay in the life. If they did want to leave, there were various schemes for getting them settled in society. Even if their parents had been slaves/serfs, they were to be free. And so on.

Unfortunately, later in the Middle Ages and from then on, oblates often got treated like crud. This is part of the reason we don’t see oblates anymore. (The other part is that it’s a bit weird.)

Some oblates were kids whose parents couldn’t afford to raise them, or didn’t want to. Some were “miracle babies”. Some were given away to get them out of unsavory situations, or to give a smart kid a better life than backbreaking work and poverty. But canonesses….

Well, every time a bishop misunderstood their mission of educating kids, and ordered them not to do it, they suddenly had a lot of oblates. Almost all of whom decided to leave, come the completion of their education.


UPDATE: Nowadays, I have been informed, it’s child oblates that don’t exist. There is such a thing as adult oblates, who offer themselves as adults, and serve in various ways. Here’s a post about some lay Benedictine oblates. (Sorry to have confused matters.)

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