Carmel in Britain: Studies on the Early History of the Carmelite Order. Volume III: The Hermits from Mount Carmel

By Egan, Keith J. | The Catholic Historical Review, October 2005 | Go to article overview

Carmel in Britain: Studies on the Early History of the Carmelite Order. Volume III: The Hermits from Mount Carmel


Egan, Keith J., The Catholic Historical Review


Carmel in Britain: Studies on the Early History of the Carmelite Order. Volume III: The Hermits from Mount Carmel. By Richard Copsey, O.Carm. (Faversham, Kent, England: Saint Albert's Press, and Rome: Edizioni Carmelitane. 2004. Pp. xii, 513. Soft cover. Available at Friars Bookshop, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7BX, UK.)

Old-style Carmelite historiography was a notorious minefield of legends and myths that unfortunately led historians either to avoid Carmelite history altogether or to rely on generalized bromides that too often have perdured even to this day. However, the last half of the twentieth century witnessed a new day that has given birth to a genuine renaissance in Carmelite scholarship, pioneered by the Institutum Carmelitanum, Rome, and its polyglot journal Carmelus. Carmel's past, admittedly with much yet to be explored, is no longer a minefield but a treasure trove of events and documents ready for the historian's critical eye.

Father Richard Copsey, former provincial of the British Carmelites and onetime editor of Carmelus, has in recent decades nearly singlehandedly made possible this new day in the history and historiography of the medieval Carmelite Order in England, Wales, and Scotland. Copsey has literally scoured the published and unpublished documents often hidden in sources many of which lie in the most out-of-the-way dusty corners that had not been explored for their Carmelite contents.

The preceding two volumes in this"Carmel in Britain"series are volume 1: People and Places of the Medieval English Carmelite Province and volume 2: Theology and Writings of the Medieval English Carmelite Province. Both of these volumes were published in 1992 during the 750th anniversary of the English-Welsh province; they were edited by Patrick Fitzgerald-Lombard, O.Carm., but they were the initiative of the then provincial, Father Copsey. These two volumes were published in Rome by the Institutum Carmelitanum. Volume 4, now in preparation, will be entitled Thomas Netter: Carmelite, Diplomat and Theologian. Netter was perhaps Carmel's most widely read medieval theologian.

The volume under review contains thirteen articles; four of them were published in Carmelus with five of them in other journals; four of them are published here for the first time. …

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