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Source: (consider it) Thread: Celtic Christianity
Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I think thee and me are at cross-purposes to an extent, Barnabas62.

Well let me also tick this comment from Jengie Jon

quote:
It is also not to say that the modern forms are to be ignored, their virtue is precisely the way they mirror back at us our concerns about the current church. They are a fertile way of re-imagining who the Church should be and even in some cases in testing it out.
That really is an excellent observation.

quote:
By Gamaliel:

Searle I know better by reputation.

Anyone who can turn to a Baptist minister friend after Bill Johnson has addressed a New Wine-ish audience and mutter, 'There's a theological term for that ... Bollocks' - has to get my vote.

Yes, that sounds like Roy.

BTW, one of his hobbies is Curling - there is a border league near his home town. Curling is a good test of patience and accuracy of eye. Plus you get to do a lot of sweeping ...

All useful skills when re-imagining.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
... Whatever the truth of the famous account of the Welsh bishops taking offence when St Augustine of Canterbury refused to stand up when they entered, there does certainly seem to have been tensions. ...

It is possible, and not even all that difficult, to pick up the impression from Bede's account of that event, that whatever he may have thought more generally, on that occasion he had some sympathy with the British bishops.

Of course, the bit about the Synod of Whitby that is rather skated over is that if the Anglo Saxons had chosen the British (i.e. Welsh) Church over the Roman one, the next thing that would have happened is that not the Irish but the British bishops would have insisted they had to submit to the British bishops, and arguably their kings, whose territory they were still expanding into. Rome, on the other hand, was a long way away and had no war bands.

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Gamaliel
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All good observations, although I tend to be a bit cynical these days about 're-imagining' things.

I couldn't really see what was so 're-imaginative' about Ron Searle's embarrassing music and movement routine at that Methodist church in the early 2000s.

It looked like synchronised Dad Dancing to me. They were making symbolic gestures of some kind but badly.

I'm sure he's a smashing chap but puh-leese ... taking up curling and going for coastal walks in Northumbria are all very well and good and rather lovely but I can't quite see them 're-imagining Christianity' in the 21st century.

That said, I'm all in favour of the kind of neo-monastic movements and so on - they remind me a bit of the medieval guilds and fraternities ... as long as they don't get like the Masons they're all fine with me ... [Snigger]

At least Ron Searle didn't roll up his trouser leg ...

On Enoch's observation, yes indeed. Rome is very convenient as the Big Baddy coming over and messing up the Celtic Church's thang ...

But if we read St Patrick's memoir it's chillingly clear what those Irish and British petty chieftains and kings could be capable of ...

What's often overlooked by those who romanticise Celtic monasticism and so on is how they could only operate with the blessing of the kings and chiefs.

It's no coincidence that the monastery on Lindisfarne is within sight of the royal stronghold at Bamburgh.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
That said, I'm all in favour of the kind of neo-monastic movements and so on - they remind me a bit of the medieval guilds and fraternities ... as long as they don't get like the Masons they're all fine with me ... [Snigger]

There were paramonastic movements in the middle ages. They were called Third Orders.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

There were paramonastic movements in the middle ages. They were called Third Orders.

Still are - several members of our parish are 3rd Order Franciscans (Anglicans).

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Barnabas62
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Gamaliel

The 'embarrassing' music and movement thing really got to you didn't it. I took part in something like that at Lee Abbey a few years ago. Thought it was good. It went down well. Maybe I just don't embarrass all that easily? Maybe Roy Searle has got wiser about his choice of venues to do that thing?

A weed is a flower growing in the wrong place?

So far as Curling is concerned, didn't you notice my tongue in my cheek?

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Galloping Granny
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My reading on the topic is rather scant and long ago. I've been absorbed by the extent of the discussion.

My impression was that

Whitby wasn't just tonsure and Easter but the acceptance of bishops and obedience to the Pope.

That Roman structure wasn't exactly forced on the Irish stream but was a reasonable conclusion to amicable debate.

That what was lost was the authority of women in leadership roles.

Comments?

GG

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Jengie jon

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According to my supervisor (so maybe hearsay) on the eve of the Reformation, there were guilds that basically were groups of individuals who would get together for spiritual development. You might think of them as a cross between third orders, spiritual workers education societies and cell groups if you believe his description.

What the Reformation did was take the norms of these groups and try and extend them to the whole of sChurch. In the extreme, it could be wrongly argued that Calvin's Geneva was a monastery writ at the scale of a city. I say wrongly, powerful though Calvin was it was never as total as the zealots on both sides would have you believe.

If that is the case, many of the modern 'Celtic' communities have striking similarities.

Jengie

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Gamaliel
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I'd agree with that, Jengie Jon.

@Barnabus62,no the silly music and movement thing didn't make a big impression, but I was expecting something better given what I'd heard on the tape I got from Lindisfarne.

Also, I can be a critical bastard at times. If people want to 'Dad Dance' it's up to the but this this was piss-poor by anyone's standards. up

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Also, I can be a critical bastard at times. If people want to 'Dad Dance' it's up to the but this this was piss-poor by anyone's standards. up

Care to correct? You being a critical bastard and all? [Biased]

(We did very well at Lee Abbey! Mrs B says so anyway, and she is never wrong ...)

On a more serious note, the Northumbria Community experience isn't for everyone. A retreat I was on a few years ago persuaded one Baptist minister to leave early (and ask for a refund of part of his donation). But another Church minister (an Anglican) signed up to go through the process of becoming a companion. Different strokes for different folks? Not everyone "gets" the ethos.

I once heard Steve Gaukroger (another previous Head of the Baptist Union) observe this way. "I am a Baptist Minister. I don't like mess".

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Gamaliel
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To be honest, I'd forgotten about the facile music and movement routine until we had this conversation. It wouldn't be a deal breaker as far as I was concerned in terms of recommending the Northumbria Community to people.

Heaven knows, I've seen a heck of a lot worse in church circles. It wasn't going to win any prizes for choreography and I couldn't see the point of it, what it was trying to convey or achieve.

That doesn't mean I'd write Ron Searle off, far from it. Nor would it make me want to put anyone off going on a retreat up there or joining the Community.

I can be a critical bastard but I can keep things in proportion and proper perspective.

I hope ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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Barnabas62
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By "correct" I meant the syntax! Sorry, Gamaliel. I should use emoticons more ..

Like [Biased]

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Gamaliel
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Yes, I realised that after I'd posted.

Peace be to all.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
That said, I'm all in favour of the kind of neo-monastic movements and so on - they remind me a bit of the medieval guilds and fraternities ... as long as they don't get like the Masons they're all fine with me ... [Snigger]

There were paramonastic movements in the middle ages. They were called Third Orders.
There still are.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
That said, I'm all in favour of the kind of neo-monastic movements and so on - they remind me a bit of the medieval guilds and fraternities ... as long as they don't get like the Masons they're all fine with me ... [Snigger]

There were paramonastic movements in the middle ages. They were called Third Orders.
There still are.
No shit? Well knock me down with a feather.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Mockingbird

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quote:
Originally posted by andras:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by andras:
Carlisle was certainly a focus of continuing civic life as late as 683, with a working aqueduct and well-maintained city walls, as St Cuthbert found when he was given a tour of the place.

Interesting Andras. I've not heard that before. Have you got a source for it? Does it say what the walls were made of? After all, one would imagine that most chieftains, whether British, Anglo-Saxon or Pictish had some sort of earthwork or palisade round their stronghold. The same would have applied to most monasteries. And when you say 'aqueduct' do you mean something on brick or stone arches in tiers, or something that was really a leat?
That's from Bede. The walls and water supply were Roman and apparently still going strong. Remember that the Saxons refortified the walls of York, so it's not a unique situation.
Bede's Church History 4.29 mentions Cuthbert's visit to Carlisle but says nothing about an aqueduct. Do you have a more detailed citation?

[ 20. November 2016, 14:58: Message edited by: Mockingbird ]

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Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.

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andras
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He mentions the fountain, and apparently it was fed by an aqueduct in the usual Roman fashion.

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Mockingbird

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quote:
Originally posted by andras:
He mentions the fountain, and apparently it was fed by an aqueduct in the usual Roman fashion.

Where? I can't find any mention of a physical fountain either in HE 4.29 or in Life of Cuthbert 28.

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Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.

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Mockingbird

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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingbird (me):
quote:
Originally posted by andras:
He mentions the fountain, and apparently it was fed by an aqueduct in the usual Roman fashion.

Where? I can't find any mention of a physical fountain either in HE 4.29 or in Life of Cuthbert 28.
Found it. It's in Life of Cuthbert 27:
quote:
The day after his arrival the citizens conducted him round the city walls to see a remarkable Roman fountain that was built into them.


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Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.

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Barnabas62
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That's a classical example of incidental detail. Extremely unlikely to be made up. Bede's writings demonstrate all the literary and historical challenges you would expect, given their subject material and antiquity.

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andras
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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingbird:
quote:
Originally posted by Mockingbird (me):
quote:
Originally posted by andras:
He mentions the fountain, and apparently it was fed by an aqueduct in the usual Roman fashion.

Where? I can't find any mention of a physical fountain either in HE 4.29 or in Life of Cuthbert 28.
Found it. It's in Life of Cuthbert 27:
quote:
The day after his arrival the citizens conducted him round the city walls to see a remarkable Roman fountain that was built into them.

That's it!

I'm currently writing a novel set in that exact time and place, and Cuthbert's visit occurs towards the end of it. Having said that, I presume that the fountain was actually not in the wall but in the town square, itself the successor of the Roman forum.

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fletcher christian

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Posted by JJ:
quote:

One of Ian Bradley books looks at this in detail. We are not the first generation to project our own concerns on and we read Celtic Christianity through the concerns of others.

I was two thirds of my way through this when I saw your post, so I didm;t want top respond until I finished it which is why I'm essentially resurrecting an old thread. The book is 'Celtic Christianity'. I found him excellent on the early period through to the high medieval age. He's a tad wooly and uninteresting during the Reformation and then peaks a slight bit of interest around Carmichael and the Victorian age. Sadly, I found his modern context really lacking which feels all the more stark after such an impressive first half.

I guess there are always going to be issues with trying to summarise enormous swathes of history and he is always going to be very selective, especially with his own self declared revisionist tendencies. Two things irked me though; he showed a real lack of understanding of it all in the irish context and totally misread both Hyde and Lady Gregory, and secondly, he never actually goes into the understanding of the various early saints lives, their Vita's or the information that has been garnered from their sites - I found this to be a really glaring omission.

Overall it is quite good and he makes something of a point; but to me it was only something of a point. At the end he comes to no summary of conclusion; perhaps because he isn't convinced himself that there is one.

I'd be interested in your thoughts if you can bare to resurrect this thread with me, albeit in a strange tangent.

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Enoch
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I haven't read the book, but does he pay any attention to the Welsh Revival or Presbyterianism in either its Hebridean or Ulster forms? Or are they all just not Celtic in the sense he is interested in?

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fletcher christian

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He does talk about Scottish Presbyterianism and specifically that of the islands. I had the impression he really meant the western side islands, but I could have picked that up wrongly. However, it is in with dealing with huge swathes of history, so it's not in any great detail; more or less noting that they considered aspects of their worship style and aesthetic in worship to be consonant with a 'Celtic' thread. He talks about Iona quite a bit, but to be honest, I felt he over emphasised that aspect.

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Staretz Silouan

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
He does talk about Scottish Presbyterianism and specifically that of the islands. I had the impression he really meant the western side islands, but I could have picked that up wrongly. However, it is in with dealing with huge swathes of history, so it's not in any great detail; more or less noting that they considered aspects of their worship style and aesthetic in worship to be consonant with a 'Celtic' thread. He talks about Iona quite a bit, but to be honest, I felt he over emphasised that aspect.

It's the western ones that have the claim to be Celtic. The northern ones are more Scandinavian in heritage. Scots people may well tell me I'm wrong, but I get the impression that Lewis (the top half of the northernmost of the Outer Hebrides) is the real stronghold of Gaelic Presbyterianism.

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Jengie jon

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Ian Bradley is a Church of Scotland minister, do you really expect him to ignore Presbyterianism. However, he has several books out on Celtic Christianity and there is a progression of views held within those books. If I recall correctly then:
  • The Celtic Way is his earliest work and most pro-Celtic Christianity
  • Celtic Christianity is his next and most sceptical book
  • Colonies of Heaven is his final (if you exclude the Columba anniversary book) and is a more balanced reflection.
I have read at least the last two, and am recalling what Ian himself says in Colonies of Heaven.

Jengie

Disclaimer I follow Ian's work with a bit more than a casual interest as I first came across him when he was training for the ministry.

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fletcher christian

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Thanks JJ, I must look out for that last book. It would be interesting to see how his thoughts might have moved.

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Staretz Silouan

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Mockingbird

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:

Of course, the bit about the Synod of Whitby that is rather skated over is that if the Anglo Saxons had chosen the British (i.e. Welsh) Church over the Roman one, the next thing that would have happened is that not the Irish but the British bishops would have insisted they had to submit to the British bishops, and arguably their kings, whose territory they were still expanding into. Rome, on the other hand, was a long way away and had no war bands.

I don't believe this. What would have happened is this: the Northumbrians would have continued using the Celtic-84 computus until its flaws became too great to ignore, then they would have switched to the Alexandrian computus. There would have been no change in anyone's political arrangements.

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Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.

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Cottontail

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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
I personally think it is possible to identify distinctive markers. For me, that journey began by looking at the prominence of Enoch and the use of the allusions to Moses and Elijah which appear absolutely everywhere in terms of the early Irish church and persist for a very long time.

May I ask you to expand upon 'the prominence of Enoch'? Do you mean the Enoch of the Bible (the one who walked with God), the apocryphal Book of Enoch, or St Enoch? What is being said, and where might I find references?

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fletcher christian

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Enoch as in the apocrypha. To be fair, it's not only Enoch but large sections of what is now considered apocrypha. I mentioned Enoch because it has a special prominence in Saint Patrick's Tripartite Life document. Overall there are lots of rather strange references to apocryphal writings and if you aren;t familiar with the apocrypha then its not always possible to pick up on the parallels as a casual reader. The parallels with Moses and Elijah are quite strong and usually very easy to pick up. I'm essentially referring to the 'Life' or 'Vita' documents in relation to Irish saints. Some of them also have what may be pagan stories tied into them. For instance; Saint Cronan moves between the Aran Islands by swan (it could be one of the other Tipperary Saints as it has been a little while; apologies if I'm confusing tales). That could be a reference to a local ancient tale worked into a Christian narrative, or it could be a reference to the dead, using a pagan tale for a spiritual point, or it could be a nice way to describe a boat - who knows! The problem is we don't really know how these things were read at the time. There are some tantalising hints that they may have formed part of the liturgy of the church on a saint's feast or may have been part of a breviary of some kind, but we just can't be sure, To start picking apart apocryphal references in vita documents would require considerable space and time here, but if you're interested keep an eye out for work being done by Padraig O'Rian. He's currently working on this alongside references to ancient pagan tales and folklore as part of a wider attempt to look at the vita documents in much more serious manner. I suspect the appearance of his findings might take a while though. There are others who have domes some work in this area, but only fleetingly back in the 70's and 80's.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

Posts: 5173 | From: a prefecture | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged



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