At 01:39 AM 5/1/97 PST, Jim wrote:
>This is a repetition, but one of what I've seen presented as proofs is
>the relationship of the Church to the ancient "pagan" literature and
>art. That it was the Church that preserved it speaks of a
>non-antagonistic relationship...in other parts of Europe, indeed, the
>Spanish in Mexico, because of the resistance of the people to
>conversion, the Church felt the need to destroy all the effects of the
>paganism, all its props. Hence, what we have of Celtic literature comes
>primarily from Ireland.
>For what it's worth.
Your point is well-made and well-taken. But Kenney also points out this is
a feature of the 9-12th cens, not the earlier lit. He himself notes that
"it is likewise possible that it results from the fuller acceptance of
Christianity by the people." (303) - He seems to ignore the possible
implications of this shift in his remark 70 pages later. BTW, the book is
excellent, a remarkable piece of research and exceptionally broad in scope.
He makes a few errors, but considering the breadth of his topic, they're
relatively minor. That's one of the reasons I initially put the passage out
there for clarification, because Kenney is on the whole a damn good scholar
and I wondered if someone knew some earth-shattering bit of evidence that I
didn't know about. You and Paul have put up a good 'fight', but I remain
unconvinced. And then today I received some amount of 'vindication'.
Kathleen Hughes compares various sources of Irish history in her *Early
Christian Ireland* (1972): archaeology, secular laws, ecclesiastical
legislation, the annals, secular lit, ecclesiastical learning (where she
points out the rapidity with which Spanish works reached Ireland - the
connections are all over the place), hagiography, and art and architecture.
All of these sources give a slightly different perspective, together
illuminating the whole. And she remarks, in her section on ecclesiastical
legislation: "The society which the canons depict is still quite definitely
pagan. Christians are believers in the midst of pagan practices. ... They
reveal a Church separating itself off from pagan society, with clerics who
are not yet completely incorporated into the aristocracy, with a system of
jurisdiction not yet supported by secular law. They thus invalidate the old
view of a conversion completed by 500." 70-71
Hughes has answered my question, I think. Kenney was making an assumption
for which not only is there no evidence, but there seems to be solid
evidence to the contrary. Maybe you and Paul will still disagree with
Hughes, but as for me, I'm satisfied.