If you were researching the arrival of Christianity in Britain....

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Mike Tourangeau | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Jan 23 2020 8:10 PM

Title says it all. What are the "go to" resources? Is Bede essential or not early enough?

Posts 743
Scott E. Mahle | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 24 2020 1:22 AM

Good morning, Mike!

Here's a bit of info I have available in my library just in case you do not have the same resources:

1. British and Saxon Periods

The first reliable information regarding the introduction of Christianity into Britain comes from Tertullian, who, early in the third century, wrote (Adv. Jud., vii.; ANF, iii. 158) that Christianity had penetrated into regions of Britain inaccessible to the Romans. The history of the British Church was thenceforth that of early Christianity everywhere. It furnished victims to persecution, one of whom, Alban of Verulam (q.v.), was early canonized; it sent representatives to councils, for example, that of Arles (314); and it produced the heretic Pelagius (q.v.; for this entire period see CELTIC CHURCH).

Jackson, S. M. (Ed.). (1908–1914). In The new Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia of religious knowledge: embracing Biblical, historical, doctrinal, and practical theology and Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical biography from the earliest times to the present day (Vol. 4, p. 131). New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls.


 Christians and Pagans: The Conversion of Britain from Alban to Bede


YALE, 336 PAGES, $50

By the second century, Roman soldiers were bringing their new faith to Britain, and in the middle of the third century St. Alban became Britain’s first known Christian martyr, but we don’t know much more about who these Christians were, and it is here that Malcolm Lambert begins in Pagans and Christians: The Conversion of Britain from Alban to Bede, producing a captivating narrative by squeezing what he can—but no more—from archeological evidence (mostly from burial sites) and the limited historical record. He does so in a clear and prudent way delightfully free of academic theorizing.

After St. Alban, Christianity maintained a tenuous hold in Britain for four centuries as small kingdoms and many religions battled for dominance amid intermittent invasions by tribes from Ireland and the Continent, until the arrival of St. Theodore in the mid-seventh century. Lambert’s documentation and analysis of Theodore’s role as the great consolidator of the Christian presence in Britain is an important contribution to scholarship.

In his discussion of the eighth century, Lambert relies too heavily on the writings of the astonishing Bede, substantially excluding other figures who left significant paper trails of different kinds, such as St. Aldhelm, and causing him to downplay the continuing Irish influence on British Christian writing, including the shift to rhyme and accentual prosody in hymns. Christians and Pagans, despite these minor faults, is thoughtful, enjoyable, and valuable.

—A. M. Juster’s translation of Tibullus’ elegies will be published in early 2012 (Oxford).

  Juster’s, A. M. (2011). Review of Christians and Pagans: The Conversion of Britain from Alban to Bede by Malcolm Lambert. First Things, (214), 62.


 The Beginnings of the English Bible

The story of the English Bible begins with the introduction of Christianity into Britain. When and how that happened are obscure, but in the third century Tertullian and Origen witness to the existence of British churches, the former stating that there were places in Britain subject to Christ which Roman arms had not been able to penetrate. Among delegates who attended the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) were several from Britain. Although initial developments of the church were wiped out by Teutonic invasions in the fifth century, significant advance began again with the arrival in A.D. 597 of missionaries sent out by Pope Gregory, and Christianity became firmly established.

  Metzger, B. M. (2001). The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English versions (pp. 54–55). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Logos Series X Pastor’s Library | Logos 3 Leader’s Library | 4 Portfolio | 5 Platinum | 6 Feature Crossgrade | 7 Essential | 8 M & W Platinum and Academic Professional | 9 Academic Professional and Messianic Jewish Diamond

Posts 1419
Mike Tourangeau | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 24 2020 7:33 PM

Scott E. Mahle:

Good morning, Mike!

Here's a bit of info I have available in my library just in case you do not have the same resources:


Posts 639
Ryan | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 25 2020 5:51 AM

Not sure if they are available in Logos or not but I'd personally recommend as good starting points:

Brown, Michelle P. How Christianity Came to Britain and Ireland. Oxford: Lion
Hudson plc, 2006.

Oliver, Neil. A History of Ancient Britain. London: Weidenfeld & Nelson, 2011.

Moorhead, Sam and David Stuttard. The Romans Who Shaped Britain. London:
Thames & Hudson, 2012.

Salway, Peter. The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1993

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