Cyrellys Geibhendach. The following is the latest in an ongoing discussion about the roots of American philosophy (Founders) and our Christianity. It shows the powers in the proverbial cookie-jar at the start and some of what has resulted ultimately in our modern circumstances. There are other pieces I’ve written as responses in the dialogs which are not included here as yet. Hopefully I will at some point get back and retrieve them for posting here.
David: There was no Christianity in 37 ad. None!
There was only ‘the fourth way’ of a massive movement, remarked on by Josephus, and led by Jesus and his family. His relatives were all the so called disciples, and that means James, John called the Baptist, their cousin, Judas and the other brothers and sisters.
As far as Ireland goes of course Canaanites had been coming there as well as England, France and Spain for the tin and copper for at least 1000 years, if not much longer. But those people were Cananites, not Jews at all. They did not exist at the time and indeed not until the Babylonian exile.
You are quoting the state of knowledge as of the 1970s – this falls under ‘intellectual hair-splitting’. But if you must know:“The traditions of the apostolic foundation of Christianity in Britain are deeply rooted in popular memory, and were repeated by the people of Somerset into modern time. “they are supported by the evidence of Tertullian and Origen writing in the Second Century and again in the Sixth Century, the historian St. Gildas declared that Britain was first illuminated by the light of ‘Christ the True Sun’ in the latter part of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, who died in the year 37 AD.” From the Myth of St. Patrick & Christianity in Ireland pg 143, by George Richards. Gildas who quoted Origen.
There is a mixed level of information available to most public schools, universities, and church orgs. Newer historical information is only now surfacing thanks to more modern tools for comparison and cross-referencing. If you take a look at the first century document the Didache which is an excellent example insofar as this discussion goes and you compare it to the Counsels of Cormac (New Translation by Thomas Cleary, based on recent updates to our academic understanding of the Old Irish Language) you will find some remarkable similarities. Cormac reportedly died wanting a Christian burial but the established academia only counts the presence of Christianity in Ireland from the fourth century not the third. Our understanding of history is riddled with these established inconsistencies which scholars unaffiliated with the mainstream establishment are going back and sorting out and surprisingly returning with a pile of new discoveries. Essentially doing the job the universities were once tasked with doing about 60+ years ago.
In 37 AD Christianity was in its infancy. The original generation was alive and kicking. Many of the ‘relatives’ themselves had students who in turn took to doing some traveling because in that time there were interactive discourses occurring between them and the intelligensia of Greece and Rome. Not only in Greece and Rome but also in Jerusalem and in Alexandria both powerful seats of intellectual learning and debates. The Greek method of Socratic style teaching was widespread and also occurred in these places. The learning and teaching infrastructure in first and second century became very hierarchical and there were literal fights and arrests made of individuals who partook to teaching or debating in the streets without ‘permission’.
QUOTE: The tradition of the rabbis grew out of influential debates over interpretation of the law between Hillel and Shammai and their followers. Hillel (70 BCE – 10 CE) was a liberal teacher in Jerusalem who emphasized personal piety and a concern for others in his teachings. His central teachings, grounded in a love both of peace and of study, anticipated and influenced the teachings of another early Jewish teacher, Jesus. Shammai (50 BCE-30 CE) represented a stricter, more conservative attitude toward the law. Because he was a leader of the Sanhedrin his views probably dominated during the years leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem; afterward those of Hillel achieved greater currency. — pg 139 book ENDURING LEGACIES: Ancient and Medieval Cultures, Second Edition by Phillip C. Boardman, ch: Pirke Avot. See also Church of Jerusalem.
QUOTE: (same source: pg 128) Tacitus was a senator who turned to the writing of history during the reigns of the ‘good emperors’ in the second century, when it was again possible to write freely and critically of the empire. Writing about the great period of colonial expansion, Tacitus studied closely the enemies of Rome. Because he was intent on exposing the corruption of emperors like Nero, he was willing to look at the cultures and practices of the Jews or the German tribes and praise their integrity where he found it, especially in contrast to Roman failures. The groups that Tacitus described — the Jews, the Christians, the Germans — developed in important ways….Christianity rode with travelers, Roman soldiers, and other converts to all parts of the empire, becoming at the same time a convenient scapegoat for emperors like Nero. Yet when Rome collapsed a skeleton of Roman Christianity was left standing. Judaism responded to Roman attempts to destroy its heart in Jerusalem by strengthening the preservation of its learning and tradition through rabbis at the periphery.
Tacitus wrote a eulogy to on Agricola, Vespasian’s third governor of Britain 78-83 AD who completed what Claudius began in 43 AD till he was ‘set back’ by Queen Boudicca in the reign of Nero. Tacitus thus gives us a a case study in Roman Imperialism and a description of the events in Britain around the time of 37 AD. Tacitus gives an account of a speech he attributes to Calgacus a Caledonian (Scot) Chieftain just before his final defeat by the Romans. This is described as a ‘description of Roman imperialism as it appeared to freedom-loving people, and is academically considered a balance to the Roman picture of the Pax Romana. Now not this following quote which is supported in the book Readings in Ancient History: From Gilgamesh to Diocletian by Nels M. Bailkey:
QUOTE: “whatever has been uttered aright by any men in any place belongs to us Christians!” — Justin. Excerpt CH 54 pg 430: To the intellectuals of the Greco-Roman world early Christianity appeared to be just another mystery cult of interest only to the uneducated lower classes; in the words of Tacitus, it was a ‘pernicious superstition,’ particularly unattractive because of its ‘hatred for the whole human race’. On the other hand, the earliest Christians were equally hostile to pagan philosophy, and they agreed with St. Paul that God had ‘made foolish the wisdom of the world’. Before Christianity could spread triumphantly through the whole classical world, taking into its fold men on all levels of learning, some solution to the conflict had to be achieved. We have seen that in the early Roman Empire Greek philosophy, notably Stoicism and a revived Platonism, became increasingly imbued with religious values; consequently, when men trained in Greek learning began to accept Christianity, an amalgamation of philosophy and Christianity was not difficult to bring about. This process the work of intellectual Christians known as Apologists and Church Fathers, began in the second century in the more Christian East and culminated in the work of St. Augustine at the end of the fourth century in the West. Various methods were used in giving an intellectual tone to Christianity. The personal God of the Jews and Christians was identified with the abstract god of the Greek philosophers (note: and same description for Druidic!) — a pure, invisible, incorporeal intelligence. The literal interpretation of the Old Testament was replaced by an allegorical one in which a deeper symbolical and spiritual meaning was found to lie behind the simple words of the text. Biblical truth wrote Origen, one of the outstanding third-century Greek Apologists, “is sometimes conveyed in what one might call literal falsehood.” Above all, use was made of the Logos doctrine, which explained how God was the source of all truth, both pagan and Christian. “Logos” was a term used in Greek philosophy to signify the powers of reason. It translated variously as ‘word’, ‘argument,’ and ‘reason’. Plato and other Greek thinkers referred to the Logos as eternal and divine, and the Christian Apologists adopted the term for the divine principle regulating all things and bridging the gap between God and man. They taught that the Logos (reason) of the Greek philosophers was one means by which God sought to enlighten and save mankind, but that when this attempt failed He then sent the Logos in the form of his Only Begotten Son, Jesus. “thus philosophy was a preparation,” wrote Clement, Origen’s predecessor as head of the Christian school at Alexandria, “paving the way towards perfection in Christ”.
The Celts of Gaul, Ireland and Britain already had a congruency with the teaching of Pythagoras that believed in the ‘immortality of the soul’. I’ve quoted Diodorus, Strabo, and others on the pre-Christian Celts previously in other emails to this group. The Drui also had a tonsure prior to any monasticism called airbacc giunnae. The word ‘mael‘ means bald and equally implies a title of tonsured. Later Christian Irish and Latin terms for it include: berrad mog and tonsura civilis. This form of tonsure involved a shaving at the front of the head, on a line from ear to ear, with the hair growing long at the back. In the fourth and fifth centuries this tonsure which was accepted practice by the later Celtic Christians came under heavy criticism from the Roman Church as being incorrect even though it predated all Roman Church practices. According to the Annals of Tigernach, the Roman tonsure (version) was not accepted at Iona until about 714 AD. Even beyond this time British Celts were still wearing the Celtic tonsure. Even the first Christian communities in Eire at Tallaght and Dairbre (modern Valentia in Kerry), the former which was later reformed and called the Cele De (Servant of God, i.e. Culdee) by Mael Ruain founder of a monastery there, are said to have worn the Celtic tonsure, their members wandering Scotland as late as the fourteenth century AD. Historically throughout the Indo-European world the tonsure was a mark of a dual caste member who was both belonging to a tribes warrior caste and to the intellectual or priestly caste. (google celtic culture stemming from Sanskrit) This can be seen in the time of the Breton king, Waroc’h II (c AD 577-594) who had certain champions who shaved their head with the same Druidic tonsure. Waroc’h successfully united Brittany against the attacks of the Franks.
It is historically accurate to say that monasticism did not arise in the Isles until the fourth century. With monasticism came in some quarters a certain anti-druidism. Colmcille demonstrates this with a poem:
It is not with the sneeze our destiny is, (metaphoric reference to both the drui ability to divine by a sneeze /sreod/ and Synchronicity i.e. the hand of God operating in Our living environment)
Nor with the bird on the top of the twig (metaphoric reference to natural science and the act of gaining wisdom from voices from birds, i.e. the natural world)
Nor with the trunk of the knotty tree. (metaphoric reference to ‘Oak Knowledge’ i.e. ancient Indo-European knowledge of one branch of the Drui scholarship)
Nor with an act of humming. (metaphoric reference to humming to cover spontaneous insight or intuition…the so called greek ‘Logos’)
I adore not the voice of birds, (this is the non-centralization of the drui intelligensia structure across nations who were exempt from taxation, mil service, and other privileges)
Nor the sneeze, nor a destiny on the earthly world, (metaphoric rejection of the revolution of lifetimes as a means to soul evolution ‘maturity’. He rejects reincarnation.)
Nor a son, nor chance, nor woman; (he rejects society and family; Celtic Christians were usually married and lived with their families except when their term to Serve as a leader or teacher)
My Druid is Christ, the son of God. (to call Christ the ‘Son of God’ rather than ‘Servant of God’ he is indicating the Alexandrian ideology not the earlier Celtic Christianity)
Colmcille was among the first to practice conscription as a form of intellectual violence in the Isles…see the scuffle at the fountain in Bruide, where Colmcille subsequently ‘blessed the fountain’ and harnessed it for Christianity, as part of a magical contest between him and a Drui named Broichan.
Just as the Roman Empire’s Christians turned to the Greek philosophers for legitimating their doctrines — so to was the more northern version Celtic Christianity using the Celtic academic establishment(drui) to lend their own issues credence (none of these people resided in bottles! always was there cross-referencing and modification from the root cultures within their reach): “Nennius who wrote Historia Britonnum (History of the Britons), about AD 829 using older documents, devoted 18 chapters to the career of Vortigern d. 458 AD (Vawr tigern, overlord – Ellis), the king of southern Britain in the wake of the Roman departure in the mid-fifth century AD He says that when St Germanus of Auxerre excommunicated Vortigern for adhering to Pelagian heresy, Vortigern engaged twelve druids to advise him.” Pelagianism is nothing more than a pigeon-hole term for Celtic Christianity with its Drui roots.
*Authors inserted note: The Jerusalem Church set up a church infrastructure in which 12 representatives or Fathers essentially led each membership. When they sent out missionaries it was in groups of 12 individuals. Celtic Christianity was organized in the methodology of the Jerusalem Church.
The Roman Church having Alexandrian roots took its authenticity from the Greek philosophers, while the Celtic Christians took theirs from the Drui (and Jerusalem Church). Today you have Roman Catholicism who’s roots are Illumined and Protestantism who’s scholars drew from Celtic Christianity. Its the pot calling the kettle black, lol. Me, I’m a descendant of the Fir Maighe Feine…and I can say that it is the commonality that brought acceptance of the new ‘way’. Not force. Not conscription. (The principles of conduct as outlined in the Didache.)
At the death of the king Gradlon in Brittany, a monk approaches the king as he lies in his final moments and finds a Druid there. The king admonishes the monk to not be harsh with the Drui, “the ills I have endured (in life) are as to nothing to the agonies through which he has passed.” After Gradlon dies a dialog commences between the Drui and the Monk…as the body of Gradlon is washed in a nearby spring and wrapped in linen the Drui turns and addresses Guenole the Monk as “brother, for are we not sprung from common ancestors?” The Drui asks Guenole to raise a church ‘to the Sorrowful Mother of your God’ on the spot, so that sick persons might find health and the ‘heavy laden, peace’. He then tells Guenole, “there was once a time, I was young then, when a block of red granite stood here (beside the spring). Its touch gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, hope to hearts in distress. May the sanctuary that you raise inherit the same virtues (of the old ways – note today we inherit ‘nature and natures God; nature’s laws! and other pelagian principles and Celtic virtues); it is my wish, the wish of one conquered but resigned to the changing order of the times, one who feels neither bitterness nor hatred. I have spoken.” We are told that Guenole felt great sympathy for the Drui in spite of the brief theological argument when the Christian Saint offered to teach him ‘the Word of Life’ (Didache) and was rejected by the Drui who pointed to the blue sky, observed that when the time came for one or the other to pass, either one might find ‘perchance there is nothing but a great mistake’. Guenole was scandalised. ‘To believe is to know, ‘ he argued in Christian fashion. His compassion for the Drui leads him to offer him refuge in the abbey at Landevennec. The Drui declines saying he prefers his woodland paths. ‘Do not all tracks lead to the same great centre?‘ It is a philosophy that our modern intolerant world finds difficult to accept. — Ellis. 1994.
Druids, by Peter Berresford Ellis
Readings in Ancient History: From Gilgamesh to Diocletian by Nels M. Bailkey
Enduring Legacies: Ancient and Medieval Cultures, second edition, by Phillip C Boardman
Medieval History and Civilization by Daniel D McGarry
On the Celtic Christian philosophy and concept legacy: (see it in action) Lysander Spooner on No Treason