Celtic Spirituality

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Translated and Introduced by Oliver Davies
With the Collaboration of Thomas O’Loughlin
Preface by James Mackey
Publication Data: New York, NY/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1999
Format: softcover
Number of Pages: xxii + 554
Dimensions (l × w × h): 22.8 cm × 15.3 cm × 3.6 cm
ISBN-10: 0‒8091‒3894‒8
ISBN-13: 978‒0‒8091‒3894‒4

Translated and Introduced by Oliver Davies
With the Collaboration of Thomas O’Loughlin
Preface by James Mackey

A volume of The Classics of Western Spirituality: A Library of the Great Spiritual Masters

“There is something peculiarly attractive about the Christianity of the early Celtic-speaking peoples, which continues to exercise a considerable fascination on many today. The vivid and complex gospel illustrations, which are perhaps the best known and most frequently reproduced creations of the Christianity of the insular world, suggest a self-confident, brilliantly original civilization in which the skills and ingenuity of the individual artist are given a prominent place. The intricate, interweaving designs and natural motifs convey the impression of a religion that is in close dialogue with nature rather than withdrawn from it, and the rich adornment of the biblical text is a reminder of the great status accorded to the Word of God. If we were to explore further, we would find that such gospel books were often believed to have a mystical power as objects of incarnate grace and that the understanding that the presence of God could be felt and discerned in the natural and human landscapes of our world was widespread among Christians from Celtic cultures. God was present to them in images and signs, in poetry and art, in sacrament and liturgy; and their own response to God was no less direct, for it was commonly a physical one, expressed at the level of the body in the embrace of a life-transforming penance. Indeed, it is these two themes, penance and creativity, that are the guiding motifs of Celtic Christianity. Both speak of incarnation, and of the affirmation and transformation of life, since creativity is the mark of the Spirit and penance is the gate to glory.”
—“An Introduction to Celtic Spirituality”


   An Introduction to Celtic Spirituality
   The Concept of a Celtic Spirituality
   The Origins of Celtic Christianity
   Celtic Christianity: Mission and Maturity
   Toward a Celtic Spirituality
   The Sources: Introduction to the Translated Texts
   Hagiography (“The Patrick Tradition” by Thomas O’Loughlin)
   Monastic Texts
   Devotional Texts
   A Note on the Selection and Translation
   1. The Patrick Tradition (by Thomas O’Loughlin)
      i. Patrick’s Declaration of the Great Works of God (the Confessio)
      ii. The Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus
      iii. The Sayings of Patrick (the Dicta)
      iv. The Life of Patrick by Muirchú
      v. Patrick’s Breastplate (by Oliver Davies)
   2. The Brigit Tradition
      i. Ultán’s Hymn
      ii. The Life of St. Brigit the Virgin by Cogitosus
      iii. The Irish Life of Brigit
   3. The Voyage of Brendan
   4. The Life of St. David by Rhigyfarch
   5. The Life of Beuno
   6. The Life of St. Melangell
Monastic Texts:
   1. The Preface of Gildas on Penance
   2. The Penitential of Cummean
   3. The Rule for Monks by Columbanus
   Irish Poems
   1. A Hymn of Praise
   2. The Lord of Creation
   3. The Scribe in the Woods
   4. My Speech
   5. All Alone in My Little Cell
   6. Grant Me Tears, O Lord
   7. On the Flightiness of Thought
   8. Three Wishes
   9. The Saints’ Calendar of Adamnán
   10. A Prayer to the Archangels for Every Day of the Week
   Welsh Poems
   11. Almighty Creator
   12. Padarn’s Staff
   13. Glorious Lord
   14. Praise to the Trinity
   15. Praise to God
   16. Alexander’s Breastplate
   17. Praising God at the Beginning and End
   18. The Advice of Addaon
   19. Elaeth’s Englynion
   20. The Song of Elaeth
   21. The First Word I Say
   22. Maytime Is the Fairest Season
   23. Fragment of the Dispute Between Body and Soul
   24. To the Trinity
   25. Lord of Heaven
   26. The Deathbed Song of Meilyr the Poet
   27. Meilyr Son of Gwalchmai’s Ode to God
   28. The Deathbed Song of Cynddelw
   29. The Loves of Taliesin
   30. Poem to the Virgin Mary
Devotional Texts:
   1. May Your Holy Angels
   2. O God, Lord of Creation
   3. The Breastplate of Laidcenn
   4. The Broom of Devotion
   5. Litany of the Virgin and All Saints
   6. Litany of the Creation
   7. May This Journey Be Easy
   8. The Path I Walk
   9. The Prayers of Moucan
   10. The Protection of the Father and the Son
   1. The Tract on the Mass in the Stowe Missal
   2. Two Eucharistic Chants From the Stowe Missal (by Thomas O’Loughlin)
   3. Communion Hymn
   4. Hymn at the Lighting of the Paschal Candle
   1. The Evernew Tongue (1–22)
   2. The Creation of Adam
   3. The Power of Women
   4. The Vision of Adamnán
   1. A Mystical Interpretation of the Beati (Psalm 118)
   2. Gloss on Psalm 103
   1. Sermons of Columbanus
      i. Sermon Five
      ii. Sermon Eight
      iii. Sermon Eleven
      iv. Sermon Thirteen
   2. Catechesis Celtica: Commentary on Matthew XVI, 24
   3. An Old Irish Homily
   4. The Cambrai Homily
   5. Three Sunday Catecheses (by Thomas O’Loughlin)
   1. On the Christian Life by Pelagius
   2. “The High First-Sower” (the Altus Prosator) by Columba (by Thomas O’Loughlin)
   3. Homily on the Prologue to The Gospel of John by John Scottus Eriugena
   4. The Food of the Soul
   Select Bibliography
   I. Principal Printed Sources of the Translations
   II. Other Primary and Secondary Sources
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