Manual Puritanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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For the former, they assume an organic connection between Puritanism and evangelicalism, which is historically debatable. They then helpfully wade through the upheaval of the s and s, though one gets the impression that the Puritans simply jumped on the opportunity that was the Commonwealth, rather than being partially responsible for the war and execution of king Charles I, which is a bit misleading.

Their historical survey ends with a discussion of Puritan marginalization throughout the rest of the seventeenth century.

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The small introductions to each chapter are quite useful. They consistently provide some necessary biographical material, as well as the primary purpose or intent of the chosen treatise, sermon, poems, etc. Notes on key themes and historical context also benefit the reader. These introductions also do a good job at showing the connections between these men, illustrating the godly networks that existed. Burroughs and Bridge served alongside each other in exile in the Netherlands. And many participated in the Westminster Assembly together.

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The suggestions for further reading are heavy on primary sources, though some helpful secondary sources are included at times. The subtitle of this little book promises to introduce the Puritans in their own words, and it makes good on that promise. The Classical texts ascribe to them a formidable variety of functions: they were philosophers, teachers, judges, the repository of communal wisdoms about the natural world and the traditions of the people, and the mediators between humans and the gods.

Yet, curiously, they are never referred to directly as priests sacerdos. In later texts and the vernacular literature, they appear more as mystics and magicians. Given the range of attributes, it is probably best to regard them as a caste of intellectuals. In support of this is often quoted the place-name Drunemeton where the Council of the Galatians met in central Anatolia.

While this could allow that Druids served the Celtic immigrants in Anatolia, it does not imply that they did. There is no need to suppose that this highly specialist caste of wise men assuming they were in existence at this time chose to migrate with the mobile factions of the community who moved out of their western European homeland in the 5th century.

Puritanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

A sacred place suggests the presence of priests but not necessarily Druids. Druids If, then, we take the cautious view in locating the Druids in Gaul, Britain, and Ireland, the question arises where and when did druidism arise? Julius Caesar is quite explicit: It is thought that the doctrine of the Druids was invented in Britain and was brought from there to Gaul; even today those who want to study the doctrine in greater detail usually go to Britain to learn there.

BG VI. How valid this belief was it is impossible to say but there is no reason why it should not have been true. We will return to this matter again below, in Chapter 2. On the question of when druidism emerged, there is little that can safely be said. There are reasons to suggest that Druids existed in the 4th century bc see Chapter 4 and it could be argued, as we shall endeavour to do later, that the caste has its roots deep in prehistory, possibly as far back as the 2nd millennium.

Julius Caesar is certainly one. He was present in Gaul subduing its inhabitants from 58 to 51 bc and made two brief expeditions to Britain in 55 and 54 bc.

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During this time, he had ample opportunity to observe the Gauls and Britons and, while he may have had access to earlier accounts, it is likely that his famous account of the Druids in his war commentaries, De Bello Gallico VI. One of the Gauls he befriended, Divitiacus, was himself a Druid. Two broadly contemporary writers, Strabo and Diodorus, together with the 2nd-century ad writer Athenaeus, used an earlier text that is generally agreed to be the lost works of Posidonius c.

The earliest sources are Classical writers living in the Mediterranean region who chose to write about the barbarian peoples of western Europe. Principal among them are Julius Caesar —44 bc , Diodorus Siculus late 1st century bc to early 1st century ad , Strabo c. The intriguing problem is that, with the partial exception of Julius Caesar, all were using second-hand sources whose authors had probably never encountered the Druids for themselves.

Their quotations are partial, selected, and are coloured to suit the viewpoint of the author and the prejudices of the time. Thus they need careful handling. It is necessary to identify the original sources and to assess the processes of transmission.

We must also try to understand how druidism changed over time and how the Classical perception of the Druids changed. We are dealing with highly dynamic processes of change, the only clues to which are the surviving words of a few Greek and Roman writers. Druids c. Histories no longer survives in its original form but was widely quoted and seems to have been the major source from which Diodorus Siculus and Strabo obtained their information on the Celts and the Druids.

They had also experienced the movement of the Roman armies, marching to and fro across their territory to the wars in Iberia throughout much of the 2nd century bc. Posidonius, clearly an acute observer, was well aware that he was seeing a people in a state of transformation. The process of transmission is open to debate and we will explore this later , but it is widely believed that among the earliest sources to be used were the works of Timaeus c.

The writings of Timaeus are known to us only through quotations surviving in the works of others. Not only was he a primary source on the Druids for the later Alexandrian historians, but he was also quoted widely by Diodorus Siculus and Pliny the Elder on matters of Atlantic geography. Where, then, did this Sicilian, 7 The Druids in time and space administrators, and traders — would have had the opportunity to have come face to face with Druids, should they have so chosen.

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The demonization of others to justify aggression is a familiar political ploy. Druids who spent the last 50 years of his life in exile in Athens, learn of Gaul, the Atlantic, and the North Sea? The most likely answer is from a book, On the Ocean, written by his near-contemporary, Pytheas of Massalia, about bc. It was probably largely through the works of Timaeus and the astronomer and geographer Dikaiarkhos of Messene that the writings of Pytheas became known to later authors in the Mediterranean: both quote him as a primary source. While it is tempting to expand upon the intriguing paths by which knowledge of the European barbarians was transmitted in the Classical world, we must restrict ourselves to what is relevant to the Druids.

It is not unreasonable therefore to suggest that Pytheas may have been the ultimate origin of the Alexandrian tradition. Could it be that these writers also derived their information about the Druids directly from him? It is even possible that Posidonius, and after him Strabo and Diodorus Siculus, derived some of his information on the Druids directly from Pytheas to augment his own observations. These issues are entertaining to debate but are unlikely ever to be resolved with any degree of certainty.

What they learned was selected and nuanced to suit the mood of the time and the political imperatives that prevailed. Clearly, this is material which needs to be handled with great care. The vernacular literature of Ireland and Wales provides a totally different set of sources complete with their own problems of interpretation. The position with regard to the Irish literature is succinctly summed up by Barry Raftery:. As a source of information on the Irish Iron Age it provides us with a challenge of exceptional complexity.

Pagan Celtic Ireland, p. There are two broad categories of texts — the sagas and the Law tracts. The earliest of these Recension I is preserved in a manuscript known as The Book of the Dun Cow which was composed in 9 The Druids in time and space combining fact and fantasy, myth and legend, ancient lore, Classical Druids the monastery of Clonmacnoise at the end of the 11th century. A fuller version Recension II , incorporating additional material but omitting interpolations and duplications, is given in the Book of Leinster, dating to the end of the 12th century, which may have been the product of the monastic establishment at Oughaval in Co.

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Before that the sagas were kept alive by oral transmission through the performances of storytellers. How deeply rooted in the past they were it is impossible to say for certain, but scholars are generally agreed that the sagas of the Ulster Cycle were being proclaimed at least as early as the early 5th century ad and are likely to be considerably older. What survive for us to enjoy today, in the vigorous and colourful texts translated from the 11th- and 12th-century manuscripts, are the end products — the fossilization — of continuously changing stories, each retelling and, later, each rewriting creatively modifying what had gone before.

The oral tales, proclaimed in heightened dramatic form to enthralled audiences in the 5th century, were no doubt very different in emphasis, structure, and detail to those written down by medieval Christian monks mindful to mould the stories to conform to the structure of Greek epic and the teachings of the scriptures and to include details of familiar material culture like Viking swords and silverwork. Yet behind all the accretions and editings, there remains a saga rooted in the values and behaviour of pre-Roman Iron Age society familiar in the writings of Classical authors describing Gaulish and British society.

These issues are by no means settled, but it is as well to raise them lest we are drawn to use the Irish sagas too simplistically. In the late Middle Ages, as the monastic libraries of Europe were being opened up to wider scholarship, the Classical texts which they had preserved for centuries came into the wider domain.

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With the advent of printing, they became further available in multiple copies to scholars throughout the Continent. This is among the last contemporary references we have until the Druids of the Classical world begin to enter the consciousness of the late medieval age.