3 June 2019

The limitations of Anglican Scholarship (2)

In the characteristically Anglican series of books called the Alcuin Club Collections, an Anglican Scholar (American, I assume, because his degree is given as "Th.D") called Lionel L. Mitchell once wrote a volume called "Baptismal Anointing". In it he treats of the Baptismal rites in the Irish Stowe Missal, and comments that in "the Celtic Church ... olive oil of any form must have been exceedingly scarce" [I leave unexamined for now the deservedly long-discredited notion of a "Celtic Church"].

Splendid. What a good example of Anglican Common Sense. Anglicans set much store upon Common Sense. It's obvious, isn't it? No olive plantations in Ireland. The stuff must have been, for all intents and purposes, unobtainable. A sound basis for further scholarly conjecture.

But ... how about the use of wine in the Eucharist?

Where did those "Celtic" monks get that?

From the lush sub-Alpine vineyards of the County Tipperary, perhaps?

"Common Sense" can so easily forget that merchandise used once to travel so much more conveniently by sea than in lorries disgorged at ferry terminals.


william arthurs said...

Chateau Lynch-Bages is an example of an Irish claret, surely?

Paulusmaximus said...

The Life of St Ciarán of Clonmacnoise, in Irish, which appears to date from the Eighth Century, speaks of a cask wine, from the land of the Franks, being brought to Ciarán. Given all that we know about movements between Ireland and mainland Europe during the early medieval perod, this is not surprising.

Tacitus, in the First Century, spoke about Ireland being easily accessible from the Gallic Sea (i.e. between France and Italy) and says that its harbours are well known to traders.

GOR said...

While the song says "It's a long way to Tipperary..." vineyards there might be a bridge too far, so to speak. Sneem, on the other hand...

E sapelion said...

I think it is easier for us these days, as we have immediate access to so much information.
A map of finds of Roman amphoras(sic) in Britain can be found here :- http://intarch.ac.uk/cgi-bin/tyers/amphmap.cgi
A find in Ireland is documented here :- https://www.museum.ie/The-Collections/Documentation-Discoveries/June-2013/Late-Roman-Amphora-Sherds-in-Co-Waterford

I don't think I have read any of his works, but this obituary suggests had had some good sense. :- The Rev. Canon Leonel Mitchell, whose words echo at every Baptism held in an Episcopal church, ... drafted the Thanksgiving over the Water prayer for the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, restoring what one commentator called “allusions” to “the primary biblical archetypes” that previous version of the prayer book had eliminated. ... Praying shapes believing, he wrote, because “worship, religious activity in all of its aspects – what we do and how we do it, as well as what we say and how we say it – underlies religious belief. ...”

E sapelion said...

I found this on a climate science website, after noting that Domesday book records about 50 vineyards in England -

Wine making never completely died out in England, there were always a few die-hard viticulturists willing to give it a go, but production clearly declined after the 13th Century, had a brief resurgence in the 17th and 18th Centuries, only to decline to historic lows in the 19th Century when only 8 vineyards are recorded. Contemporary popular sentiment towards English (and Welsh) wine can be well judged by a comment in ‘Punch’ (a satirical magazine) that the wine would require 4 people to drink it – one victim, two to hold him down, and one other to pour the wine down his throat.

Banshee said...

Spain and France were pretty much next door to Ireland, which is why so many Irish went on pilgrimage to Compostela. It was something like two or three days by ship?