Joan of Arc has meant a wide variety of things to many different people over the centuries, but it’s this detail that most resonates with me. Joan knew the mores, but she had a larger mission; the tender scruples of others simply weren’t a priority. Thus, in a century of warfare, political strife, economic claims, and divine rights of kings, fought with swords, rituals, and betrayals amidst questions of faith, education, social status, and gender roles, a young girl who heard voices from God and saved a nation with her stubborn faith was executed… for not taking off her pants.
Joan of Arc
The story of Joan of Arc forces historians to deal with overtly spiritual claims and potentially miraculous outcomes in ways historians do not generally wish to do. We’ll cover the role of religion in the most general ways, if absolutely necessary, but we DON’T LIKE TO TALK ABOUT IT IF WE DON’T HAVE TO.
We don’t actually like to talk about it even when we DO have to.
Somewhere around age 13, Joan begin having visions and hearing voices from Saint Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine – telling her from God that she must be a good girl and stay faithful, and that she had a destiny and purpose far beyond her upbringing.
Divine communication. It’s a large part of what makes her so fascinating. It’s also the kind of thing which makes historians crazy, you understand...
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity…
(“The Second Coming”, W.B. Yeats)