Celtic Christianity in Early Medieval Wales: The Origins of the Welsh Spiritual Tradition

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This first full-length theological study of sources from early medieval Wales traces common Celtic features in early Welsh religious literature. The author explores the origins of the earliest Welsh tradition in the fusion of Celtic primal religion with primitive Christianity, and traces some considerable Irish influence. These specific Celtic spiritual emphases are examined in the religious poetry of the Black Book of Carmarthen, the Book of Taliesin and the Poets of the Princes, and in prose texts such as The Food of the Soul and the Life of Beuno. Many of these Welsh texts appear here in English translation for the first time.

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Editorial Reviews

Reviews in Religion and Theology
“Davies' is, quite simply, a remarkable piece of writing and scholarship, quite the best book by a British theologian I have read this year . . . a brilliant achievement . . . Davies writes with passion and verve . . . I hope it is read widely, and studied carefully . . . warmly recommended.” –Reviews in Religion and Theology
Journal of Ecclesiastical History
“ . . . a welcome introduction to a difficult but rewarding subject . . . a stimulating and attractive book, which will do much to encourage study a early Welsh Christianity.” –Journal of Ecclesiastical History
“ . . . the best and most thorough exploration of the spirituality of early medieval Wales to date . . . the real treasure, finally managing to put some theological depth into the historical and literary surveys of Welsh Christianity in its earliest centuries.” –Planet
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780708313596
  • Publisher: University of Wales Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Series: CYMRU-Contemporary German Writers Ser.
  • Pages: 193
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Oliver Davies is Professor of Christian Doctrine and Head of the Theology and Religious Studies Department at King's College London.  He is the author of The Creativity of God: World, Eucharist, Reason in the Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine series (2004) and Transformation Theology: Church in the World with Paul D. Janz and Clemens Sedmak (2007).

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Points of Departure
        Spirituality and Culture
        Welsh Spirituality
1.  The Lives of the Saints
        The Historical Background
        The Lives of the Saints
           The Life of Samson
           The Life of Beuno
           The Life of David
2.  The Black Book of Carmarthen I: Poems of Penance
        'The Advice of Addaon'
        'A Collection of Englynion'
        'Praising God at the Beginning and End'
        'Maytime is the Fairest Season'
        'The First Word I Say'
3.   The Black Book of Carmarthen II: Poems of Praise
        'Almighty Creator'
        'Praise to God'
        'Praise to the Trinity'
        'Glorious Lord'
        The Origins of the Welsh Spiritual Tradition
4.   The Book of Taliesin
        Druidic Survivals
        Three Christian Poems
           'Alexander's Breastplate'
           'To the Trinity'
           'The Loves of Taliesin'
5.  The Poets of the Princes
        The Ode to God
           'To God I Give Sacred Service'
           'May God Grant Me'
           'Strengthener Whose Home is Heaven'
           'The Protection of the Father and Son'
        The Death-bed Song
           'King of Kings'
           'From God I Beseech'
6.  Welsh Religious Prose
        The Food of the Soul
           'On Divine Love'
           'The Beauty of the Son'
Select Bibliography

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