Light From Dark Ages?: An Evangelical Critique of Celtic Spirituality
The 'Dark Ages' (i.e. approximately the fourth to tenth centuries AD) are popularly considered a period of history about which people know little beyond the presumption that life was short and hard. Christianity, whether in or out of the monasteries,...
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The 'Dark Ages' (i.e. approximately the fourth to tenth centuries AD) are popularly considered a period of history about which people know little beyond the presumption that life was short and hard. Christianity, whether in or out of the monasteries, is often presented as a largely impersonal, formal religion - little more than the culture of the time. But is that a true picture? Or did 'the light of the glorious gospel of Christ' shine as brightly then as in other 'dark' periods of history? In particular, did it shine through the original Celtic version of Christianity in such a way that we may profitably imitate the Celtic Christians? And to what extent does it shine through the innumerable versions of the current revival of 'Celtic spirituality'? This Study surveys and evaluates the sources and features of Early Celtic Christianity, and compares them with the contemporary expressions of 'Celtic' spirituality. Readers will be helped to see the strengths and pitfalls, while being encouraged not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Marian Raikes is Dean of Women and Pastoral Studies at Oak Hill Theological College, where she teaches Spirituality. She is author of A Step Too Far: An Evangelical Critique of Christian Mysticism (Latimer Study 64, 2006), Presenting Everyone Mature: Evangelicals and Spiritual Growth (Orthos, 2004), a contributor to The IVP Women's Bible Commentary (IVP, 2002), and British editor of Stirrings of the Soul: Evangelicals and the New Spirituality (Good Book Co, 2003).