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The Voice of the Eagle: The Heart of Celtic Christianity

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John Scotus Eriugena was born and raised in Ireland during the early ninth century. Neither monk nor priest but a "holy sage," he carried to France the flower of Celtic Christianity. His homily, The Voice of the Eagle, is a jewel of lyrical mysticism, theology, and cosmology, containing the essence of Celtic Christian wisdom. He meditates on the meaning and purpose of creation as revealed by the Word made flesh, distilling into twenty-three short chapters a uniquely Celtic, non-dualistic fusion of Christianity, Platonism, and ancient Irish wisdom. 


The translator's "Reflections" make up the second half of this book and attempt to unfold some of the life-giving meaning implicit in Eriugena's luminous sentences. Inspired both by a personal search for a living Christianity and by a sense of the continuity of Western culture, these "Reflections" offer a contemporary, meditative encounter with the Word, or Logos, as mediated by both St. John's Prologue and Eriugena's Celtic homily. This favorite of Celtic Christianity, unavailable for several years, has been revised and includes a new foreword by Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and The Soul of Sex.



"Christopher Bamford has written a wonderful book. It combines a rigor of scholarship with a lyrical unveiling of how this wonderful text of Eriugena's can resonate with the hungers and discoveries of our times. It deserves a wide readership. Its lucid depths enrich the mind and awaken the heart to the grandeur of light where the eternal shines." — John O'Donohue is the author of Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom


"The book has been made with broad scholarship, with deep understanding and with love, and will be not quickly used up; one returns to it again and again. It will be cherished by anyone who is thirsty for the water of wisdom that has flowed so abundantly from the spring of Christ." — Bruno Barnhart is the author of Second Simplicity: The Inner Shape of Christianity 


"Eriugena is increasingly recognized as one of the most penetrating spiritual masters of the Christian tradition. The Homily he wrote on the Prologue to the Gospel of St John is the clearest summary of his thought about the role of the Divine Logos in cosmology and anthropology and provides the best introduction to his thought. In The Voice of the Eagle, Christopher Bamford presents an accurate and readable translation of this classic of Christian thought and suggests valuable comments about its meaning. —Bernard McGinn, Naomi Shenstone Donnelly Professor, University of Chicago Author of The Presence of God: A History of Western Mysticism


"The Prologue of St John's Gospel is so important that it was once read at the conclusion of every Catholic Mass. Eriugena's Homily on it, here translated, is a masterpiece. More accessible than his larger works, it helps to plunge us into the depths of the Word revealed in the Gospel. Christopher Bamford's extended and erudite commentary draws on the great contemplative writers of the Christian tradition of East and West to produce a text whose impact and importance grows the more it is read. The recovery of the Christian tradition, as he writes, "is a task of intuition, interpretation, and meditation."For many readers, that recovery will be nourished and assisted by this fascinating book." —Stratford Caldecott, Center for Faith and Culture, Westminster College, Oxford


"… a precious gift for all of us who need to be touched anew by the truth of the Christian teaching" —Jacob Needleman, author of A Little Book on Love and Money and the Meaning of Life


"… a profound and transformative experience." - John Carey, former editor of Gnosis Magazine


"Eriugena's Christian Neoplationism, untrammeled by the problems of later medieval thought, breathes with a freshness and shines with a light that could enrich authentic Christian thought today….a lovely and illuminating book." — Geddes MacGregor, author of Angels: Ministers of Grace