Isle of the Saints: Monastic Settlement and Christian Community in Early Ireland By ´ 5 Read

    Isle of the Saints recreates the harsh yet richly spiritual world of medieval Irish monks on the Christian frontier of barbarian Europe. Lisa Bitel draws on accounts of saints' lives written between 800 and 1200 to explain, from the monks' own perspective, the social networks that bound them to one another and to their secular neighbors. Isle of the Saints: Monastic Settlement and Christian Community in Early Ireland

    Overall, I think Bitel decently presents her argument well and does her best to support it. However, she seems to have a somewhat idealistic view of the period. Her grasp of the social forces at play is weak, and at points she presents as facts concepts that have long been disproved or contested by historians.

    While not always accurate, Bitel's History may be the one many are comfortable believing to be true. English definitely interesting if you are looking into the subject matter. I kept it after the course in case I was ever interested in looking into it again. English I find this book to be one that I have often gone back to, as a resource. It is well written, easily read, and covers a good deal of early Christian Ireland. I do have one complaint, however, most of these books rest on the written word, and it would be wonderful to see a book that had illustrations that would show what some of the early Christian communities looked like. I haven't found that book yet, but I'm still looking. However, all in all, this book was very helpful. English I am doing research on monastic life in Ireland and Scotland. It is very helpful. English Bitel draws upon a rich literary history of the Celtic saints and monastics to explain just how Irish society was formed by this interaction and also helped shape Irish Christianity. She is very diligent about her use of primary sources and does an excellent job supporting her thesis. In a sense, it was the early Irish monastics that shaped the very culture around them. The culture became so integrated that even the ancient holy pagan sites were adopted into Celtic Christianity. It is a must read for anyone interested in Irish Christianity. However, there is not a lot in this book about the spirituality of the saints and their wonderful method of evangelism among the Irish. It takes of a sociological attempt to explain how Ireland became Christian. Overall a great work. English

    This book is a necessary tool to have for the study of the early Irish church. Not a page turner, and it can be a bit heavy on the academic side, it is also authoratative and accurate. English