Rediscovering the Celts: The True Witness from Western Shores

Article excerpt

Rediscovering the Celts: The True Witness from Western Shores.

By Martin Robinson. London: HarperCollins, 2000. Pp. 204. Paperback L7.99.

A remarkable quest is underway--to recover the vision, life, and power of the "Celtic" Christianity that began with Patrick's fifth-century apostolic movement to the Irish, spread to Scotland, England, and continental Europe, reached the "barbarian peoples," re-Christianized Europe, preserved Greco-Roman learning, and thereby "saved civilization." This quest has produced a wave of new books about Celtic Christianity. Fortunately, readers can skip more than half the books! Some authors look into the Celtic pool and see their own reflection; others produce only retread material.

The books most worth reading fall into four categories. The ancient sources are now available in good English translations, from Patrick's Confessio to Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Some books, like those of Esther De Waal, focus specifically on Celtic Christian spirituality. Other books, like those of Ian Bradley, introduce Celtic Christianity as a whole. Finally, books like John Finney's Recovering the Past, Douglas Dale's Light to the Isles, and my own Celtic Way of Evangelism focus on the Celtic movement's distinct approaches to mission and evangelization. …