Summarizing Ian Bradley, Following the Celtic Way

This is a summary and commentary on Ian Bradley’s recently published book, Following the Celtic Way: A New Assessment of Celtic Christianity.

Part 2: Exploring the Way

21 themes, all P:

Marks of the Church

Attributes of God

Appropriate Human Responses

Ways to Follow

Marks of the Church and Expressions of Faith

  1. Prayerful. “Monastic life is prayer-soaked.” “While the monks were called to undertake three labors – prayer, manual work and reading – there was a clear sense in which prayer dominated and also permeated the others.” Prayer arose spontaneously and included a prolific folk culture.
  2. Psalm-centered. Irish monks chanted the psalms more ofte than Benedictine monks. Psalms show up in the classic texts.Communal chanting.Nature imagery.
  3. Poetic.  From exposure to the psalms,  but matching nature imagery.  Also consider the druids and bards, and bardic culture.  Strong Welsh influence.
  4. Puritanical perfectionism.  Some of this is hagiography.  Note that these sources are coming from monastic documents, not folk. But desert spirituality influenced the desire for asceticism.
  5. Physical. Physically ascetic prayer. Physical elements of nature. physical locality, to tribe, king, neighbor.  Overlap between spiritual (warfare) and physical.  Physical landscape.
  6. Provisionality (this life is fleeting).  Provisionality in the building structure of the church. Temporariness rather than legacy. Journey and “pilgriamge” but really peregrination
  7. Patterned (spirals and knots, but).. rhythm of life, rhythm of prayer.  Diamond lozenge. Ringed with purple and gold; majesty.

Attributes of God

Appropriate Human Responses

Ways to Follow

  1. Pastoral presence.
  2. Peace making.
  3. Pilgrimage (but really peregrinatio).

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