Rise and Fall of Christian Ireland
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 352
Width: 24 cm
Height: 16 cm
Ireland has long been regarded as a 'land of saints and scholars'. Yet the Irish experience of Christianity has never been simple or uncomplicated. The Rise and Fall of Christian Ireland describes the emergence, long dominance, sudden division, and recent decline of Ireland's most important religion, as a way of telling the history of the island and its peoples. Throughout its long history, Christianity in Ireland has lurched from crisis to crisis. Surviving the hostility of earlier religious cultures and the depredations of Vikings, evolving in the face of Gregorian reformation in the 11th and 12th centuries and more radical protestant renewal from the 16th century, Christianity has shaped in foundational ways how the Irish have understood themselves and their place in the world. And the Irish have shaped Christianity, too. Their churches have staffed some of the religion's most important institutions and developed some of its most popular ideas. But the Irish church, like the island, is divided. After 1922, a border marked out two jurisdictions with competing religious politics. The southern state turned to the Catholic church to shape its social mores, until it emerged from an experience of sudden-onset secularization to become one of the most progressive nations in Europe. The northern state moved more slowly beyond the protestant culture of its principal institutions, but in a similar direction of travel. In 2021, fifteen hundred years on from the birth of Saint Columba, Christian Ireland appears to be vanishing. But its critics need not relax any more than believers ought to despair. After the failure of several varieties of religious nationalism, what looks like irredeemable failure might actually be a second chance. In the ruins of the church, new Columbas and Patricks shape the rise of another Christian Ireland.
Gribben the historian dons the mantle of a prophet, a good reminder that historical reflection can and should lead to wise action. * Michael A.G. Haykin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Brill * This is a book I will be reading again and no doubt referencing often. * Aaron Dunlop, The Krapf Project, Maghaberry, Northern Ireland, Evangelical Quarterly * Crawford Gribben has produced a fascinating history of Christian Ireland from its promising beginnings, in the age following the fall of the Roman Empire, to its dramatic decline in recent decades...the book pays considerable attention to the history of Ireland's more obscure Protestant communities. On the other hand, the book also gives ample attention to Ireland's pre Reformation era. * Piers Shepherd, Chronicles * Outstanding... Rarely have I found a book so compelling. * Jim Sayers, Evangelicals Now * a fascinating history, clearly communicated. It will no doubt fuel discussion and presage further illuminating analysis. * Brendan McNamara, Numen * the author's mastery of his subject... But the general reader should not to be intimidated, for the book is written in a very accessible style. * Raymond Blair, Evangelical Times * A remarkable book. * JP O'Malley, Irish Independent * An erudite, important and detailed account of the major developments in Irish religious history from the earliest times until the present day... This is an eminently readable book, and the author has a page-turning clarity which too few academics possess. * Alf McCreary, Belfast Telegraph * Admirable and scholarly. * Mary Kenny, History Ireland * A book of remarkable ambition... The attempt to tell the whole story from Celtic times through to the astonishingly rapid secularisation of today is what makes this book so special and important. * David Chillingworth, Church Times * A broad, sweeping, readable and concise history of the interplay of religion, politics and society in Ireland from pre-Christian times until the present. * David Quinn, Catholic Herald * A readable and impressive work of scholarship...The book is thought-provoking and rich in personalities and comment, which encourages the reader to return to the text. * Thomas Morrissey SJ, Irish Catholic * I'd recommend [the book] strongly to anyone who wants to understand recent upheavals on our island. * Ruth Dudley Edwards, News Letter * This fine volume, by a distinguished historian, meets a long-standing need for an overview of Christianity in Ireland... the book is written in a very accessible style. * Raymond Blair, Evangelical Times * Crawford Gribben's sweeping history surveys Ireland's grand past - and its importance for Western Christianity. * Jeremiah Rood, Foreword Reviews * A remarkable read... Gribben covers a vast amount of ground in a relatively concise text. His achievement is to provide much needed perspective on where Irish Christianity came from and where it may be headed. * Gladys Ganiel, Slugger O'Toole * [Gribben's] wide reading is very evident and anyone seeking a one volume survey of "Christian Ireland" will find this an admirable guide. * Dr Fergus O'Ferrall, Methodist Recorder * This thorough, explanatory and altogether credible book is a point-blank look and assessment of what its title purports to address...Vivid and readable, David Marx: Book Reviews Crawford Gribben has produced an outstanding contribution to understanding the complex tapestry that is Ireland, and all its people, from earliest history to the present day... it's a book that anybody interested in the evolution of the island of Ireland and all its people national and international, should read and have on their bookshelf. * Enda Kenny, Taoiseach, Ireland, 2011/2017 * valuable and moving history... For anyone who wants to consider the role of Christianity in the West, the test case of Ireland is as fascinating as it is instructive. * Professor D. G. Hart, New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church * If ever there was a lesson of church history, it may be that whenever an earthly state claims to be Christendom, the church will become repressive and corrupt. Ireland has long been heralded as the "land of saints and scholars," and indeed its role in the spread of Christianity in northern Europe was significant. Gribben argues that any form of "Christian Ireland" has clearly ended in the twenty-first century. This book offers a solid survey for a general reading public, and although it cannot cover all topics, it has clearly used the latest research when assessing many significant turning points and debatable areas. * John B. Roney, Sacred Heart University *