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Celtic Christianity: Making Myths and Chasing Dreams

by Ian C. Bradley

Buy the book: Ian C. Bradley. Celtic Christianity: Making Myths and Chasing Dreams

Release Date: July, 1999

Edition: Hardcover

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Buy the book: Ian C. Bradley. Celtic Christianity: Making Myths and Chasing Dreams


At Last Some Sense

Writing on the subject of Celtic Christianity is beset with sentimentalism plus a generous dose of wishful thinking. Bradley's book is a sobering reflection on some of this writing - including his own! The author of "The Celtic Way" has had cause to stop and consider the scholarly accuracy of his previous work, something which takes great courage.

The result is this overview of a succession of Celtic revivals spanning from the 7th - 20th Centuries, including Victorian Celtic Romanticism. It is interesting that the first revival Bradley refers to is from the period which other popular commentators tend to include within the Age of the Celtic Church itself: 7th-9th Centuries. Yet Bede's nostalgia for a past era of holy and simple saints has a very familar ring to it!

The book concludes with the current revival and a whistlestop tour through the popular and scholarly writings that have sprung up recently, plus the wider cultural mainfestations of this such as Celtic music. [I too have played my part in this collusion of popular Celtica as singer and songwriter for the band eve & the garden(eatg).]

One discovery he makes is that despite much research by himself and his colleagues, there appears to be no reference to the term "Wild Goose" (representing the Holy Spirit)which pre-dates George Macleod, founder of the Iona Community in the 20th Century!

All is not lost in terms of the application of certain distinctive themes to the Church today, as Bradley's follow-up "Colonies of Heaven: Celtic Models for Today's Church" (Darton Longman & Todd, 2000) attests. The sobering appraisal of "Making Myths", however, stands as an initial guard on what can and cannot be said about the British Church in the early centuries of Christianity.

The one problem I would mention is that I would have preferred a more indepth analysis as to the possible reasons for the current revival - or maybe that's just because that's the essay question I'm currently working on!!

So if you have a tendency to go misty eyed and sentimental over the possibility of re-establishing the true church of the ancient British Isles, then you must, absolutely must read this book.

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