R.W. Morgan's "St. Paul in Britain" is a treasure trove of rare and provocative research into the early Church in Britain. Although the book's title suggests it's primarily about the question of whether or not St. Paul ever went to Britain, the book covers many details about the early Church in Britain that are difficult to find elsewhere. Because of the importance of Morgan's claims and the rarity of the research he presents, his book is a very valuable one, especially to students of Church history or of Anglicanism.
Some of the more provocative claims that Morgan substantiates through some painstaking research are that 1) Joseph of Arimathea went to and stayed in Britain c. AD 38 2) Aristobulus (mentioned in the Bible) also went to Britain 3) Prudens married Claudia, the daughter of British royalty and the palace of Prudens and Claudia was probably where Paul stayed in Britain 4) St. Paul himself made it to Britain.
The importance of these claims is that the evidence strongly suggests that an apostolic church was planted in Britain in the first century independently of the Roman Church. This apostolic church grew and prospered not just because of the apostolic origins but also because it was suited to make inroads into Druidism in a way in which Roman culture and religion never could. This has implications for how to read the history of Christianity in Anglicanism and helps explain the nature and development of the English Church in subsequent history.
I bought this book because it seemed to be the basis for much of Andrew Gray's research in his book "The Origins and Early History of Christianity in Britain." The historian in me wants to know if Morgan and Gray's claims have been substantiated more recently (Morgan originally published his work in 1860). However, it seems as if Morgan has plenty of evidence to support most of his claims, evidence that is unlikely to be overturned in the future.
I have thought for years that Paul and his companions either established or ministered to the church established in Britain in the first century. Morgan presents evidence of this. But he also brings in some interesting history of Druidism, which appears to be the religion that began in Babylon under Nimrod.
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