Related Subjects: Author Index Reviews Page 1 2
Book reviews for "Davies,_Oliver" sorted by average review score:

Celtic Spirituality (Classics of Western Spirituality (Cloth))
Published in Hardcover by Paulist Press (1900)
Authors: Oliver Davies and Thomas O'Loughlin
Amazon base price: $39.95
Used price: $25.00
Average review score:

I bind unto myself today...
Partly there is a problem dealing with Celtic spirituality, or indeed, Celtic anything. It is comparatively recently in history that the coalescence of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Briton, Manx, and other 'Celtic fringe' cultural groups have been classified as a unified Celtic society. Certainly the early people in these regions (not to mention those on the continent) would have seen differences as outweighing the similarities, and would have found unity only in being non-Roman and non-Germanic.

Certainly there is a sharing of story, world view, and spiritual sense, however, that helps us make sense of describing Celtic Spirituality as a category. This relates both to the earlier non-Christian Celtic religions (yes, there was more than one) and the ways in which Christianity spread to the Celtic regions.

'While recognising the importance of Celtic primal religion at the earliest and most formative stage of evangelisation of the Celtic-speaking cultures, it must be recognised that the surviving evidence for Celtic religion in sparse, and often comes from widely differing places and times. But something of its general character does emerge.'

Included in this character are a sense of place (which often includes woodlands, water, glades, springs, mountains, etc.). Ideas of treasure, particularly hidden treasure, and that being a treasure that is not always what the world would value, abound. Heroism and bravery, often at dramatic cost with a deep sense of loss even in the victories, goes through many tales. Other worldly and pantheistic imagery coexist in many ways. Animals and birds are often seen as messengers, harbingers, or symbolic -- many of the illuminated manuscript from Irish monasteries show the continuation of this sort of influence. Celtic religions are also predominantly oral, hence the popularity of story, song, and poem as opposed to argued technical essays or homiletic forms.

The texts in this volume are divided according to the following categories:

These are lives of the saints, often told as heroic (and sometimes tragic) tales. Of course the greatest cycle known to us is the Patrick Tradition -- those stories and legends that have gathered around St. Patrick, who lived in the fifth century. These include letters, declarations, a life story, sayings, and St. Patrick's Breastplate, known to many as a very long hymn, but which actually exists in many different forms. Apart from the Patrick stories are stories of St. Brigit, St. Brendan, St. David, St. Beuno, and St. Melangell, all unique Celtic saints.

Monastic Texts
In a recently issued popular history, entitled How the Irish Saved Civilisation, Thomas Cahill argues that the preservation of culture and learning in the Irish monastic movement gives us much of our knowledge and continuation from civilisation in the past. There is much to be said for this argument, for the early Irish love of books, knowledge, and historical sense of preservation of the valuable gives us much of Celtic wisdom, as well as much of the Greco-Roman tradition as well.

Early Irish and Welsh poetry are presented, most of it anonymous, and much of it seems very similar to Celtic devotional material of today. It still speaks to us with a very strong voice.

Blessing and brightness,
Wisdom, thanksgiving,
Great power and might
To the King who rules over all.

To the chosen Trinity has been joined
Before all, after all, universal
Blessing and everlasting blessing,
Blessing everlasting and blessing.

This could be a text from a modern hymnal. The Celtic peoples, with their love of number symbols in addition to natural symbols, fastened on the idea of the Trinity with very little difficulty. The trifold nature of the above poem, going several layers deep, shows this affinity.

Devotional Texts and Liturgies
These texts are meant to be used for lectio divina, a kind of spiritual reading, as well as prayers enacted in the community for blessing. Some litanies and excerpts from the great Stowe Missal give a sense of patterns of worship for Celtic peoples.

Apocrypha, Exegesis, Homilies, and Theology
These four categories include expansions of the biblical text (such as the story of The Creation of Adam), and interpretation of particular pieces (a Gloss on Psalm 103) which gives insight into how Celtic peoples interpreted the biblical texts, which come from a culture so foreign and yet so similar to their own. Also, the Homilies give a sense on what preachers found important; that these survive may give us a sense also of what the hearers considered important (most of my homilies will not survive the week they are delivered!). The theology texts here give a good flavour of the academic and spiritual side of Celtic learning and reflection. The theological treatises are introduced and interspersed with verse that drives home the spiritual dimension far better than any learned discourse could do.

Seventy pages of notes on technical and academic aspects of the texts (translation, interpretation, history, cultural notation, etc.) and a generous fifteen-page bibliography help round out this text, and make it useful both for spiritual direction and insight as well as for academic research and historical and literary investigation.

Edited and introduced by Oliver Davies with collaboration from Thomas O'Loughlin, Celtic Spirituality draws primarily from Latin, Irish and Welsh manuscripts to show the texts that have been 'rediscovered' frequently in Christian history as providing an 'alternative' to mainstream' Christian thought and practice. Perhaps it is the legacy and the gift of the Celtic peoples to always provide a fringe, from Roman times to the present, and from that fringe a freshness of ideas, approach, and insight comes forward to renew culture and civilisation in many facets.

This is part of a series of spiritual and mystical writings from many religious viewpoints, produced by the Paulist Press. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim texts are presented with clarity, careful translation that works for accuracy both of word and spirit, and interesting historical insight.

An excelent overview for the intelligent and serious reader

In my eighteen or so years as a Celtic Catholic, and especially in the past five years, I have seen the term "Celtic Christianity" applied to everything from the sublime (love of nature and the saints) to the ridiculous (giving communion to your dog) to the utterly intolerable (worshipping pagan gods). Some modern writers on the theme do an excellent job of interpreting this strand of the Christian Faith for the modern reader; others are better left unread. So where is a serious inquirer to go for "the real goods"? Where to find out what our ancient Fathers and Mothers in the Faith really believed, thought, and did? Davies's book is an excellent resource.

Limiting his own comments and interpretations to the introduction (and with an excellent preface by James Mackey), Davies contents himself with providing clear and easily readable translations of original source material. Some of the most important documents for understanding the mind of the early Celtic Christian are here. You can read all of St. Patrick's own writings and the ancient biography by MuirchĂș. Discover the most ancient accounts of St. Brigit, St. Brendan, St. David, and even the dear but little-known St. Melangell and her hare. But that's not all. There is the monastic Rule of St. Columbanus, ten Irish poems, twenty Welsh poems, and several devotional prayer-poems. You can find some of the oldest Celtic liturgical material, interpretations of Scriptural passages, ten ancient sermons, and some theology courtesy of Pelagius and John Scottus Eriugena.

This is all original material, carefully translated and presented in an easy-to-use format. But it's not dry dusty stuff: it breathes a freshness from the early days of the Faith that is sometimes missing from more modern writers. We've perhaps been around too long, thought about it too much. Our Celtic saints got the good news "hot off the press," and embraced it with a shocking enthusiasm which is good for us jaded post-moderns. I hope you read this book and enjoy it as much as I have.

Entering Celtic Spirituality
This is an excellent book, edited by the founder of the MA program in Celtic Christianity, at the University of Wales, Lampeter. The book brings the topic to life, and allows the reader to gain an insight into the spiritual world of the Celts. Dr. Davies presents the reader with a wide variety of works, that give an excellent representation of Celtic writing and thought. It is a book that must be read and reread, in order to gain the full effect of the excellent pieces of work offered. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Celts and/or spirituality.

Selected Writings (Penguin Classics)
Published in Paperback by Penguin USA (Paper) (1995)
Authors: Oliver Davies and Meister Eckhart
Amazon base price: $11.16
List price: $13.95 (that's 20% off!)
Used price: $8.37
Buy one from zShops for: $9.30
Average review score:

The best single volume I have seen
There are a lot of Meister Eckart books around, but this is the best I have seen. The introduction is especially illuminating. Oliver Davies dispenses with scholastic writings and materials related to the heresy charges, focusing, chronologically, on instructional works and sermons. The Meister Eckhart that emerges from these pages is one who, while taking good works and devotional practices for granted, is so immersed in the Christianized, Neo-Platonic inner life, that he appears, at times, totally unorthodox, at other times, wholly traditional. Reading him is a mind altering experience not to be missed. The translations are very good, and puzzling passages are annotated. References to ancient authors are likewise noted. As a side issue, several of the sermons contain glimpses of medieval scientific theory.

Mystic Master
This collection of writings by Meister Eckhart is one of the best. Collected without much bias towards him or against him, it is left to the reader to judge the writings (as opposed to books edited by Matt Fox, where he seems to say that one who doesn't believe Eckhart's writings must be a nut). Nonetheless, this intriguing book is filled with writings from the midevil mystic. A must have for all searching for the spiritual side of life.

Porsche 928 Performance Portfolio, 1977-94
Published in Paperback by Brooklands Book Ltd (1998)
Authors: R. M. Clarke and Brooklands
Amazon base price: $19.95
Used price: $0.31
Buy one from zShops for: $0.99
Average review score:

out of evil, good
Beauty for Ashes is clearly the most thoughtful, finely textured of the Sept. 11 remembrance books. John Farina, who has also edited the award winning Classics of Western Spirituality Series, has skillfully created a meditation on the Lord's Prayer from the 100 contributions of theologians, political leaders and artists.
Solidarity in suffering,providence, theodicy, forgiveness and healing are the themes presented, along with the practical questions of how religion influences political reactions and what is the future of Islamic-Christian relations.
This collection is not for the simple minded: because its different voices often speak in counterpoint. Hence there is something to both offend and more often enlighten every reader.

A great book!
Beauty For Ashes is an amazing collection. Instead of getting writing that all speaks from the same persective, editor John Farina draws from very different voices. No single person will agree with everything written here, nor should they. The point is to get a glimpse into the suffering and hope caused by the terrible events of Sept. 11th. While pieces by famous people such as Andrew Sullivan and Salman Rushdie are excellent, my favorites were the pieces by non-celebrities. Libba Bray's mini-diary is wonderful - immediate and heartfelt. John Jones's powerful "manifesto" on the need to forgive the terrorists is sure to make you think, whatever your religious beliefs. Forget the pretty picture books and fancy volumes. This simple, modest volume is a treasure.

This wonderful new resource comprised of a broad range of reactions to the attack on America includes the voices of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and others from a variety of religious movements. Provocative and profound.

Managing Technological Change
Published in Hardcover by Jossey-Bass (1999)
Author: Anthony W. Bates
Amazon base price: $36.00
Used price: $20.00
Buy one from zShops for: $30.00
Average review score:

Great Source Reading
Of the numerous books regarding the recent online learning movement that I have read, this book provided me with the most useful, applicable insights. I enjoyed the author's perceptive knowledge sharing. The resources provided in the book are definitely worth the price of the book. This author illustrates both the advantages and disadvantages of the unique contributions that technology can make in this evolving and exciting realm of online learning.

Great book for higher education!
This is one of the few books providing a framework for implementing technology in a college or university environment. The author uses a straightforward approach to technology. The text is easy to read and understand.

Excellent source for the intelligent use of technology...
Tony Bates writes an immensely practical guide for coping with changing technological needs and developing a rational and strategic process for making sound decisions. As a manager in a university department, I appreciated a resource that focused on the academic environment. In addition, I think the issues he raises and the process he proposes have relevance for other educational institutions and training facilities, especially those in the public or non-profit sector which tend to be financially conservative by nature. Bates offers best practices and expert advice on factors to address when confronting technological change, especially as it relates to teaching. As he points out, technology is a means to an end, so in order to best manage technology one must be aware of the inevitable impact technology has in society and, consequently, position the institution within changing markets and needs. Major investments in technological infrastructure must be paired with a corresponding vision of the organization. This book is about the art of managing cultural change as much as it is about incorporating new tools, taking into account the human factors and the hazards implicit therein.

The format of the book is also helpful. It begins with an executive summary, provides concluding summaries at the end of each chapter, provides a balanced perspective on the pros/cons to choices that the institution must make, and presents real-world case studies to give a flavor of principles in action. I highly recommend this reading for anyone in an administrative or teaching capacity who finds himself or herself faced with the difficult choices inherent in a technology transformation. The only thing that would have increased the value of the book for me is a deeper discussion and emphasis on the role of the library or technology center within this transformation.

Celtic Christian Spirituality: An Anthology of Medieval and Modern Sources
Published in Paperback by Continuum (1995)
Authors: Oliver Davies and Fiona Bowie
Amazon base price: $19.95
Used price: $21.95
Buy one from zShops for: $37.13
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Beguine Spirituality: An Anthology
Published in Paperback by SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) (24 August, 1989)
Authors: Fiona Bowie and Oliver Davies
Amazon base price: $
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Learning disability/minimal brain dysfunction syndrome : research perspectives and applications
Published in Unknown Binding by Thomas ()
Amazon base price: $
Average review score:
No reviews found.

The Man With The Beautiful Voice: And More Stories from the Other Side of the Couch
Published in Hardcover by Beacon Press (2003)
Author: Lillian B. Rubin
Amazon base price: $16.80
List price: $24.00 (that's 30% off!)
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Celtic Christianity in Early Medieval: The Origins of the Welsh Spiritual Tradition
Published in Paperback by Books Britain (1996)
Author: Oliver Davies
Amazon base price: $32.95
Buy one from zShops for: $25.90
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Discovering Welshness
Published in Paperback by Hyperion Books (1992)
Authors: Oliver Davies and Fiona Bowie
Amazon base price: $27.00
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Related Subjects: Author Index Reviews Page 1 2

Reviews are from readers at To add a review, follow the Amazon buy link above.