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Celtic Spirituality (Classics of Western Spirituality (Cloth))
Published in Hardcover by Paulist Press (1900)
Authors: Oliver Davies and Thomas O'Loughlin
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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.

Introduction to Business
Published in Hardcover by Scott Foresman/Addison-Wesley (1981)
Authors: Hal B. Pickle and Royce L. Abrahamson
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Boring and Important
Are TCP/IP protocols and services fun topics? No. This is not a "fun" book. But, if you need to know how an IP protocol works, this is a great source. Davies and Lee cover the critical protocols in deeply and understandabley.

A great update
The original book for Windows 2000 was a great look at the underlying TCP/IP protocols. None of the how to set it up or manage it - just a no nonsense look at the underlying protocols. This approach is continued in this useful update.

Well worth the price!

Organizational Learning From World Class Theories to Global Best Practices
Published in Hardcover by Saint Lucie Press (28 September, 1999)
Authors: David R. Schwandt, Michael J. Marquardt, and Betty S. Beene
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Best Introduction
Brian Davies' "The Thought of Thomas Aquinas" is to Aquinas what A. E. Taylor's "Plato: The Man and His Works" is to Plato and what John Randall's "Aristotle" is to Aristotle. An excellent introduction to difficult thought, written in clear and coherent simplicity, retaining the nuances that are unique to Aquinas by not oversimplifying.

The book for neophytes and neo-Thomists
If only every subject were taught with such clarity! The Revd Dr. Brian Davies, O.P. (of Blackfriars and St. Bennett's, Oxford U.) gives the central thought of St. Thomas' magnum opus, the Summa Theologiae. The Summa itself is overwhelming, the English editions are 3 to 5 vols. (approx. 5000 dense pages), the Latin & English edition (Blackfriars) some 60 vols.So, it is easy to miss the forest for the trees, so to speak, so naturally you'll need a tour guide. To study the Summa Theologiae- to do some Summa-wrestling- requires a good grasp of traditional logic (w/ 3 acts of the minds, as the scholastics termed them), a thorough grasp of Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics, and some Thomistic natural philosophy. Understandably, very few have this background, and that is the beauty of Davies' book. Believe it or not, the Summa Theol. was meant for beginners. It's not, but Davies' book certainly is. Davies assumes nothing more than a desire to understand St. Thomas and his greatest work.Davies' writing is both lucid and luminous, just like the fellow Dominican who's thought he is writing about.The Southern writer Flannery O'Conner once wrote (in _Wise Blood_) that "Thomism usually comes in horrible wrappers." Unfortunately Ms. O'Connor never had the pleasure of reading Brian Davies.

Collected Poems 1934-1953 (Everyman's Library)
Published in Paperback by Orion Publishing Co (09 November, 1989)
Authors: Dylan Thomas, Walford Davies, and Ralph Maud
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2 more poems
This "collected poems 1934-1953" has 2 poems that "collected poems 1934-1952" (which has all poems Dylan himself wished to be included at that time, 1952) doesn't have: "In Country Heaven" and "Elegy". Former was intended by him to be included in some future collection and latter, this is the last, but unfinished poem Dylan ever wrote.

Cranmer's godly order : the destruction of Catholicism through liturgical change
Published in Unknown Binding by Augustine ()
Author: Michael Davies
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Excellent introduction to the protestant reformation
This book focuses on the protestant reformation in England from the time of King Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth I. It draws extensively from quotes by key persons involved in the Anglican reformation, as well as opponents. The author's conclusions paint a very different picture from many other texts on the subject. Highly recommended.

Glimmer Train Stories, #35
Published in Paperback by Glimmer Train Pr Inc (01 May, 2000)
Authors: Linda V. Davies, Susan E. Burmeister-Brown, Karen Kovacik, Felicia Olivera, Thomas E. Kennedy, Susan Fox, Michael Upchurch, Daniel Wallace, Jiang Qisheng, and Siobhan Dowd
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Glimmer Train's got game
Glimmer Train features up and coming talented writers, and boy have they have one in Daniel Wallace. What a great writer. The folks at the Train have the ability to spot talent, so look for these authors elsewhere for other good reads. This is the new crop of the biggies. Especially Wallace. A++

The Directory of Northwest Intuitive Arts Practitioners
Published in Paperback by Trumpet Vine Press (1998)
Author: C. L. Evans
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An Excellent Commentary
Prof. Stevan Davies was one of the first scholars to take the Gospel of Thomas seriously as a first century text. An acknowledged expert in his field, he is fascinated by early Christianity, has few preconceptions as to its earliest form, and is always willing to try out new ideas.

This book contains a solid translation of the Gospel of Thomas, a good introduction, plus a new age preface by Andrew Harvey. The great strength of the book is the saying by saying commentary. Davies does not try to give a unified interpretation of the Gospel of Thomas, but to "offer suggestions, share observations, and participate in a reader's seeking..." Prof Davies has a way of wheedling out the system of thought that lurks beneath the text, and he looks at the sayings as clearly as he can, disregarding religious or scholarly commonplaces. This is one of the three or four best books on the Gospel of Thomas.

James and the Trucks (Thomas the Tank Engine Padded Board Books)
Published in Hardcover by Random House (Merchandising) (1997)
Authors: Robin Davies and W. Awdry
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An All Time Favorite
This is my 2 year old's favorite book. He takes it in the car, to grandma's, to bed, etc. The story is simple but entertaining for toddlers and preschoolers. James the Engine gets into trouble with some naughty freight cars and it's Thomas to the rescue! A classic board book.

The Politics of Antipolitics: The Military in Latin America
Published in Paperback by Univ of Nebraska Pr (1978)
Authors: Brian Loveman and Thomas M., Jr. Davies
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An Outstanding Examination of the Military in Latin America
Loveman & Davies are pioneers. They establish a trail that is difficult to overlook. I know of no book in the nation that covers so much ground with such a wide array of experts. This is clearly an important book for anyone who wants to understand the Military in Latin America.

Guerilla Warfare
Published in Paperback by Univ of Nebraska Pr (1985)
Authors: Che Guevara, Ernesto Guevara, and Thomas M. Davies
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Some good content hidden in jungle of propaganda
I purchased and read this book because I had read a biography on Che Guevera ("Che"), and was expecting hardcore, insightful, tactical and managerial information.

The truth, however, is that this books is crammed with Che's own political ideologies, and one gets the impression that the author (sorry Che) is more interested in "convincing" than he is in "explaining".

Truth be told, many people (including Che himself) have tried to stage and carry out revolutions based on the teachings of this book-- Che himself tried and failed twice, paying with his life the second time. I have no hard numbers on the others, but I suspect most of them are dead, or in prison.

There are mountains of condradictions in his work. He tries to make revolution seem as simple as baking a cake. Che wants you to believe in this so much that he does not properly explore his own ideas.

I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in the life of Che Guevera, but only as a tool to gain a better understanding of who he was.

As a book on tactics, there are some good tidbits, but I've seen other books with more quality information.

I am a fan of Che, but not of this book.

Principles of guerrilla warfare
Part theoretical treatise, part manual for guerilla tactics and strategy, Che Guevara, in his thesis, attempts to provide a formula for the creation and of a small, armed and disciplined guerrilla band which, he believes, would be capable of overthrowing a large organised army. The book is animated by an impassioned desire to whip up a hemispheric socialist revolution in the aftermath of his succesful invasion of Cuba in 1956, in which he, along with Fidel Castro, among others, set the stage for the overthrow of the Batista dictatorship. Guevara discusses the qualities needed by the successful guerrilla warrior, the organisation of the guerrilla band, the methods of indoctrination and training and the tactics that should be employed to guarantee the defeat of large disciplined forces. He stresses the mobility of the guerrilla band, which is a major geographical advantage over large government armies, who are limited to a relatively stationary position due to their bulk. While the enemy loses weapons, the guerrillas retrieve them, thus gaining strength by virtue of the enemy's weakness. He draws attention to the fact that, owing to their increased mobility and flexibility, the guerrillas can remain hidden, while the enemy has no option but to remain exposed. These are precepts of solid value, culled out from Guevara's own experience as organiser of a guerrilla force. His boldest theoretical claim, however, which may be called Marxist-Leninist in its orientation, is the belief that a socialist society can be realised by the peasants, Indians and rural proletariat of Latin America without any of the economic conditions that, as orthodox Marxists insist, are essential for a successful revolution against capitalism. The guerrilla forces, as such, become the vanguard of the revolution. His emphasis on the will, instincts, popular support (and, in a way that was ahead of his time, ethnic consciousness) as the key factors in causing a revolution goes against the tenor of previous Latin American brands of communism, which were more gradualist in character, in seeing that a sufficient economic and industrial base must be in place for any revolution to succeed. The defeatism of various Marxist theoreticians of the time leads Guevara to become increasingly virulent, not only against them, but against American imperialism. In his "Address to the Tricontinental" he condemns American imperialism and insists on causing "two, three, or many Vietnams" in the hope of driving a stake through the heart of American imperialism. However, Che Guevara's voluntarist practice and his theory of internationalist revolution have come to be seen as hopelessly outdated. His "foco" theory of guerrilla warfare has been overtaken by events, after it had disastrously failed to be applied in several Latin American countries. Guevara himself lost his life in 1967, after a failed guerrilla uprising in Bolivia, in which he attempted to put his theory into practice. Another weakness was that Guevara had generalised a very unique experience, -- the invasion of Cuba, -- into a normative standard for any successful insurrection. To many in the present generation, the idea of revolution has itself come to be seen as a dead-end or, at worst, a joke. Nevertheless, Che's life, a shining spark in the era of protest, violence, idealism and revolution, serves as a lesson in when to revolt, in how to refuse to be treated as an outcast and a servant, and in how dedicated a man can be in his struggle against the unjust social order that tyrannically oppresses its most disadvantaged members. It was not Cohn-Bendit, but Che Guevara whom Jean-Paul Sartre called "the most complete man of his time" in his selfless dedication, his courage, his vision and in the Christ-like sacrifice of his own life for the poor and downtrodden in whom he believed.

Guerrilla Warfare
I recall reading this book in highschool years ago as a study of the political climate during the 1960s (ironic considering that this book was written long before much of what the 60s were remembered as ever happened), and I've got say that it's still quite relevent, and important today.

I tend not to believe in the myth surrounding the freedom fighter know as Ernesto "Che" Guevara, but there is no denying his ability to write a handbook relating to the revolutionary ethics which he had used during the 1959 overthrow of the Batista dictatorship (which put Fidel Castro into power in Cuba).

Though little more than a rehash of the many revolutionary handbooks which currently exist (Abbie Hoffman's "Steal This Book", "The Warrior's Handbook" by Louis Hall, etc.) it's a great read none the less.

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