Throughout history, there have been periods characterized by renewal and spiritual hunger. At times, people have tried to further understand their spiritual life by reverting to the origins of their faith. As the second millennium neared its end and at the beginning of the third one, organized religions of the world were unable to establish the connection they had been looking for. In the present times, people have been exploring the Celtic tradition in a bid to be in touch with what they have regarded as the Sacred Divine.
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For years, a collection of many books has been written in an attempt to fully understand the pre-Christian Celtic culture and history. Anthropology and archeology have gradually started to provide some useful information concerning the Celts. However, there have been many challenges presenting themselves when trying to understand this history and culture.
One of the challenges that can be pointed out is that the process of interpreting the available literary and archeological materials can only be achieved through thorough comparisons which take a lot of time to complete. For instance, the earliest existing sources are derived from a period when the earlier practices and beliefs had been replaced by Christianity. The challenge is that scholars who try to explain the history and culture of the Celts today must document things that were stated as facts and the ones that were not stated.
Many people today might think that Celts were one race but this was not the case since they were a group of societies characterized by diversity. They were different tribes living in different locations but who shared value systems and beliefs. In addition, they had common cultural roots and linguistic affiliations.
The term Celtic is used to refer to ‘of or related to indo-European languages Celtic group.’ For a long period of time the term was used to make reference to everything pertaining to individuals believed to have lived in regions where Celtic languages were spoken. A hypothetical common Celtic from indo-European came into place by 1000 BC.
The different tribes speaking this language became the group of people dominating Central and Western Europe by 6th century BC as it known by the Romans and the Greeks. After some years, but before the end of the pre-historic period, the language split into two.
Today, there are different sources that document the history and culture of the Celtic people and which can be used to gain further understanding of the group. For instance, archeological findings reveal that the Celts were creative and skilled artisans. They produced complicated metal workings in bronze, silver and gold which exhibited their unique skills and creativity.
From archeology, it is understood that the Celts also produced beautiful and useful pottery alongside wood-workings and textile. Another source of information that gives insight about the Celts is written legends and myths. These narrate different aspects of the lives of the Celts. For instance, through myths and legends, their belief systems are understood.
Apart from archeological and legendary sources, there are other written sources of information available to scholars that provide some insights on the culture and history of the Celts. There are documentary texts that explain concepts like language since language has no physical manifestation. These written sources assist in reconstructing the history of the Celts. Linguistics in the sense of Celtic names also provides philologists with insightful information on where to place the language of the Celts in relation to other world languages.