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Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions

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Author Topic: Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions  (Read 5762 times)
Crissy Herrell
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Posts: 3407

« Reply #255 on: February 22, 2009, 12:53:15 am »

So many questions have been raised concerning the mysterious community, called Culdees, and such various opinions have been expressed concerning them, that one may be excused inquiring whether in their midst we can trace reminiscences of old Irish faiths. The notion has been long prevalent that the Culdees were only Scotch, having nothing to do with Ireland; whereas, they were originally from that country.

Their most bitter enemy in early Christian days was the Venerable Bede, who denied their claims to orthodoxy. But, since he was a Saxon, and a priest under Roman rule,

p. 280

his charges have been slightly heeded. Their maintenance of an hereditary priesthood was not merely Jewish, as he supposed, but of Druidical sympathy.

Prof. Rhys judiciously remarks--"Irish Druidism absorbed a certain amount of Christianity, and it would be a problem of considerable difficulty to fix on the period where it ceased to be Druidism, and from which onwards it could be said of Christianity in any restricted sense of that term."

As both St. Patrick and St. Columba have been regarded by some modern writers as simply Culdees, and not following orthodox views and methods, might not the many stories told of their conflicts with Druids have been brought forth by ancient chroniclers, in refutation of the slanders abroad concerning their heretical, Druidical tendency? The same supposition may be equally directed against the early Welsh missionaries, though these were almost all from Ireland. Certainly their assumed miraculous powers inclined to the old traditions of Druidical performances. They had all of them a control over the powers of nature, and had' even raised the dead; at least, their biographers claimed it for them.

Dr. Carpenter speaks thus:--"The incidents in St. Columba's life have been originally recorded in the contemporary fasti of his religious foundation, and transmitted in unbroken succession to Abbot Adamnan, who first compiled a complete Vita of his great predecessor, of which there exists a MS copy, whose authenticity there is no reason to doubt, which dates back to the early part of the eighth century, not much more than one hundred. years after St. Columba's death. Now, Adamnan's Vita credits its subject with the possession of every kind of miraculous power. He cured hundreds of people afflicted with inveterate diseases, accorded safety to storm-tossed

p. 281

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