Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lecter series - unified analysis - part 48: Lecter's baptism


The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove descending on the Holy Family, with God the Father and angels shown atop, by Murillo, c. 1677. [Image from the Wikipedia 'Holy Spirit in Christianity' page, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.]

There is a kind of baptism called Baptism with the Holy Spirit, and Lecter undergoes this kind of baptism, upon Clarice Starling's arrival outside his cell for her first interview of him (we know from the analysis of The Silence of the Lambs that Clarice represents the 'presence' of the Holy Spirit). Baptism with the Holy Spirit is believed by some to be what is described in the Acts of the Apostles (verses 8:16 and 10:44), by the falling of the Holy Spirit on individuals.

The evidence that Lecter has been so baptized is that soon after meeting Starling, there occurs an instance of him doing something called speaking in tongues. Pentecostals teach that the initial physical evidence of Spirit baptism is speaking in tongues; this is when a believer speaks in tongues for the first time. These Pentecostal denominations consider this to be the sign of that believer being filled with the Holy Spirit. Also, some biblical scholars have noted the close association of biblical references to baptism in the Holy Spirit with descriptions of speaking in tongues. In the Acts of the Apostles, there are three specific references to individuals speaking in tongues (in verses 2:4, 10:46, and 19:6). Each of these instances of tongues-speaking is immediately subsequent to or contemporary with an experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.[a]

Glossolalia or speaking in tongues is the fluid vocalizing (or, less commonly, the writing) of speech-like syllables, often as part of religious practice. Though some consider these utterances to be meaningless, those that use them consider them to be part of a holy language. William J. Samarin, a linguist from the University of Toronto, has found that glossolalic speech does resemble human language in some respects. The speaker uses accent, rhythm, intonation and pauses to break up the speech into distinct units. Each unit is itself made up of syllables, the syllables being formed from consonants and vowels taken from a language known to the speaker.[b] Lecter is speaking in tongues when he makes the following statement to Starling: "You use Evyan skin cream, and sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps, but not today." The way Lecter says, "wear L'Air du Temps", sounds highly similar to "wear a leather t(h)ong." And, 'Evyan' can be interpreted as 'naive' spelled backwards.

a. Wikipedia, 'Baptism with the Holy Spirit'. Web, n.d. URL = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism_with_the_Holy_Spirit.
b. Wikipedia, 'Glossolalia'. Web, n.d. URL = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossolalia.


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