In The Sacred History of Britain Martin Palmer takes us on a journey of exploration to discover the unique features that make up the spiritual character of Britain and her people. This fascinating insight into the evolution of spiritual traditions reveals how myths, legends, beliefs and faiths have been as significant in our history as wars, kings and treaties. Taking a chronological approach the book uncovers faiths that have died, sacred cities and landscapes, and the astonishing period when Britain appears to have had no discernible faith. Martin Palmer explores the key episodes from Britain's sacred history including our own Cultural Revolution which was the English Reformation and the state of our faith today.
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(234mm x 156mm x 25mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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UK Kirkus Review »
In our largely secular society it is easy to forget the impact that the sacred and the spiritual have had on British history. However, as Martin Palmer sets out to demonstrate, the way we live and think today has been shaped in great measure by our forebears' belief in supernatural forces. Opening with a personal account of his own boyhood excursions in and around south Bristol - he used to wander from Dundry Hill and along Wansdyke to Maes Knoll Tump and beyond into Somerset - the author shows that all around us there remain places which hold a religious or spiritual significance. One simply needs to know where to look. The rest of the book moves in roughly chronological order forward from the stone circles and burial mounds of the prehistoric period up to the present day as Palmer sets out to examine the sites, events and people that have forged Britain's sacred history. The book is filled with anecdotes about all manner of people and places, such as the Roman bath at Chedworth Villa near Cirencester where Roman and British gods were worshipped alongside each other, and the statues of Brennus and Belinus, the two legendary founders of Bristol. Whether writing about Arthurian legends and the Mabinogion, the respective impacts of the Black Death and the Reformation on Britain's religious landscape, Victorian spiritual anxiety or the faith of ordinary folk, Palmer displays a real feel for his subject. The only negative is that at times complex topics, or even whole periods of history, are skimmed through rather quickly and with somewhat sketchy commentary. This means that some parts of the book can seem a little glib, but Palmer's obvious fascination and enthusiasm drives the narrative along, ensuring the reader's attention throughout. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Martin Palmer
Martin Palmer is a lay Anglican theologian and is director of ICOREC (International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture). Keynote speaker in demand fro conferences on religions all around the world He is a religious adviser to Prince Philip and Worldwide Fund for Nature, and has worked with churches in more than 30 countries. He is the author of several books, including Living Christianity and Yin and Yang, Sacred Britain, Sacred Gardens and the Jesus Sutras.