From the fall of Rome to the rise of Charlemagne – the 'dark ages' – learning, scholarship and culture disappeared from the European continent. The great heritage of Western civilisation – from the Greek and Roman classics to Jewish Christian works – would have been utterly lost were it not for the holy men and women of the unconquered Ireland.
In this delightful and illuminating look into a crucial but little-known 'hinge' of history, Thomas Cahill takes us to the 'island of saints and scholars', the Ireland of St Patrick and the Book of Kells. Here, far from the barbarian despoliation of the continent, monks and scribes labouriously, lovingly, even playfully preserved the West's written treasury. With the return of stability in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning. Thus the Irish not only were conservators of civilisation, but became shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on Western civilisation.
This rich and diverse collection of texts newly translated from Latin, Irish and Welsh marks a landmark in the study of Celtic Christianity. In these pages we find saints' lives, sermons, liturgy, monastic rules, penitentials and exegesis a well as devotional texts, poems, and works of theology. The effect is to create a sense of a Christian civilisation that is deeply life-arffirming, imbued with a pervasive sense of divine presence and wonderfully at ease with itself.
An A5 giant print (24 pt) booklet with the liturgies for Morning, Midday and Evening Office plus the Meditations for each day of the month from Celtic Daily Prayer. Can also be purchased in Large Print (18 pt), Braille (Grade 2 Braille) and normal print versions.
Edward C Sellner has recently published a revised and expanded edition of his important work Wisdom of the Celtic Saints, which presents the stories of 27 of the most important of the Celtic saints from Ireland, Scotland, northern England, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. However, this is currently only available in hardback form and the author has permitted the Northumbria Community to publish his excellent introduction to his book in this booklet form, making it more widely accessible.