Peoples of Northern Britain according to Ptolemy’s map

Caledonia is the Latin name given by the Romans, from 69 to 597 AD, to that land of North Britain, Prydein or Pretania in today’s Scotland. It lay north of their province of Britannia and beyond the frontier of their Empire. The etymology of the name is Pretanic. Its modern usage is as a romantic or poetic name for Scotland as a whole, comparable with Hibernia for Ireland and Brittannia for the whole of England and Wales.

The original use of the name, by Tacitus, Ptolemy, Lucan and Pliny the Elder, referred to the area (or parts of the area) later known as Pictavia, Pictland or Tuath Cruithnech (“Land of the Cruthin”) north of Hadrian’s Wall. The name comes from the large central Pretanic tribe, the Caledonii, one amongst several in the area and  the dominant tribe, which would explain the binomial Caledonia/Caledonii. Ptolemy’s account also referred to the Caledonia Silva, an idea still recalled in the modern expression “Caledonian Forest”, although the woods are much reduced in size since Roman times.

According to Historia Brittonum the site of the seventh battle of the mythical Arthur was a forest in what is now Scotland, called Coit Celidon in early Welsh. It was also the home of the legendary Merlin

The exact location of what the Romans called Caledonia in the early stages of Britannia is uncertain, and the boundaries are unlikely to have been fixed until the building of Hadrian’s Wall. From then onwards, Caledonia stood to the north of the wall, and to the south was the Roman province of Britannia (consisting of most of what is now England and Wales). During the brief Roman military incursions into central and northern Scotland, the Scottish Lowlands were indeed absorbed into the province of Britannia, and the name was also used by the Romans, prior to their conquest of the southern and central parts of the island, to refer to the whole island of Great Britain. Once the Romans had built a second wall further to the north (the Antonine Wall) and their garrisons advanced north likewise, the developing Roman-Britons south of the wall had trade relations with the Pretani north of the wall, as testified by archaeological evidence, much of it available at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The name “Scotland” is ultimately derived from Scotia, a Latin term first used for Ireland (also called Hibernia by the Romans) and later for Scotland, the Scoti peoples having originated in Ireland and resettled in Scotland. Another, post-conquest, Roman name for the island of Great Britain was Albion, which is cognate with the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland: Alba.

The name of the Caledonians may be found in toponymy, such as Dùn Chailleann, the Gaelic word for the town of Dunkeld meaning “fort of the Caledonii”, and in that of the mountain Sidh Chailleann , the “fairy hill of the Caledonians”.

The north-west ridge of Schliehallion – the “fairy hill of the Caledonians”

The name Caledonia has played a prominent role in the life and career of Sir Van Morrison, and demonstrates a deep interest in his Ulster and Scottish roots, as well as a love of the ancient countryside of the British Isles.  It is his daughter Shana’s middle name, the name of his first production company, his studio, his publishing company, two of his backing groups, his parents’ record store in Fairfax, California in the 1970s, and he also recorded a cover of the song “Caledonia” in 1974. Van used “Caledonia” in what has been called a quintessential Van Morrison moment in the song, “Listen to the Lion ” with the lyrics, “And we sail, and we sail, way up to Caledonia”. As late as 2008, he used “Caledonia” as a mantra in the live performance of the song, “Astral Weeks” recorded at the two Hollywood Bowl concerts. There could be no finer tribute to this ancient land of our ancestors.

Shana sang in musicals and choirs in high school and college. After graduating with a business degree from Pepperidine University in 1993, she went on the road touring with her father and his band for a year. She duetted with him on his 1994 album A Night in San Francisco, and 1995’s Days like this. She then returned to Marin County and formed her own band, Caledonia. She has an established music career of her own and has toured regularly with her band since 1996. Her first album, Caledonia, was released on her own Belfast Violet Records in 1998 and licensed for distribution by Monster Music in 1999.

The O’Connell Tower

Today, accompanied by my Pretani Associates colleague Helen Brooker, and on the invitation of the Board of the Glasnevin Trust, I was present at the official opening of the newly reinstated staircase of the O’Connell Tower in Glasnevin, Dublin. This was performed by Paschal Donohue, TD, Minister for Finance &Public Expenditure and Reform. I was delighted to meet my old friends and colleagues Sir Jeffrey and Kingsley Donaldson, Bertie Ahern, John Green and George McCullough of the Glasnevin Trust and Eugene Keane of the Office of Public Works. The  55-metre round tower was built in the 1850s to commemorate the life of Daniel O’Connell and has reopened – 47 years after being damaged in a bomb blast by Loyalists in 1971, in retaliation for the 1966 IRA bombing of Nelson’s Column.

Visitors can climb a staircase within the tower for panoramic views (Brian Lawless/PA)

Known as the Liberator, O’Connell founded Glasnevin cemetery in 1832 and was laid to rest there after his death in 1847 as he travelled to Rome on a pilgrimage. O’Connell’s remains were later exhumed and interred in a crypt at the base of the memorial tower built in his honour, which I first visited with my friends Dr Ian and Eileen Paisley on the invitation of Bertie Ahern.

The granite tower was a popular visitor attraction for more than century but was forced to close  when it was badly damaged by the gelignite bomb.The blast shot up through the tower, destroying its staircase and blowing out the windows. A large crack caused by the bombing is still visible on the structure. There was only one casualty, a pigeon who was nesting there.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (right) and chairman of the Glasnevin Trust John Green take in the view at the top of the tower (Brian Lawless/PA)

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (right) and chairman of the Glasnevin Trust John Green take in the view at the top of the tower (Brian Lawless/PA)

The crypt was refurbished a decade ago and in 2016 the Glasnevin Trust, in partnership with the Office of Public Works (OPW), began work to restore the tower and install a new 198-step staircase.Visitors can now climb to the top and access a 360-degree panorama affording views across Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and the Irish Sea.

The reopening of the O’Connell Tower was marked by the laying of a time capsule at the base by students from the O’Connell School in Glasnevin.When the foundation stones of the tower were laid in 1854 a lead time capsule containing medals, documents and objects relating to O’Connell’s life was placed within it.

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, attended the reopening ceremony. “In recent years, Glasnevin Cemetery has become a unique and unmissable Dublin attraction,” he said. “Developing from a traditional cemetery, and the resting place of more than one million people, to the home of the wonderful museum and visitor centre and an exceptionally engaging and entertaining tour, it draws tens of thousands of visitors every year. The restoration of the iconic O’Connell Tower, with a newly installed staircase that promises unparalleled views, adds yet another string to the already fulsome Glasnevin Cemetery bow. It is a privilege to be here today, alongside the students from the local school that takes O’Connell’s name, to see the results of the extraordinary work undertaken by the OPW and the Glasnevin Trust. It is testament to the man we refer to as the Liberator and one of the seminal figures in Irish political life.”

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (right) attended the tower´s reopening (Brian Lawless/PA)

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (right) attended the tower´s reopening (Brian Lawless/PA)

Chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, John Green, said: “The reinstatement of the stairs in the O’Connell tower will allow us to experience the full magnificence of this mausoleum. Of course, we remember O’Connell through the bridges, streets, and squares named after him, but as we approach the centenary of the founding of our state we must remember how important O’Connell is in our nationhood. “O’Connell lit a beacon for the peaceful parliamentary political process, a beacon carried on by (Isaac) Butt, (Charles Stewart) Parnell, (John) Redmond and, perhaps more significantly, every Taoiseach since the end of the civil war. Hopefully the exhibition inside the tower will not only enhance the climb but also help to reinstate Daniel O’Connell to his rightful position in the pantheon of Irish leaders.”

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Holy Saturday at the Bannside Library

Today Pretani Associates attended the Easter At Home held at the Bannside Library at the invitation of Rhonda, and Eileen, Baroness Paisley and her family. I accompanied Dr Paisley and Eileen many times to Glasgow during his illness to buy books, which he loved. As the greatest Unionist politician since Edward Carson, he had many interests and was extremely widely read.

Holy Saturday,or Holy Sabbath (Sabbatum Sanctum in Latin) or Great Sabbath….This is the day when the body of Our Lord Jesus lay in the tomb, while, according to the Apostle’s Creed his spirit entered the Dark Realms, called Hell in the Old English usage. Here he liberated the souls of the righteous since the beginning of the world of conscience and left the souls of the damned. In medieval times this was called the “Harrowing of Hell”…Some therefore call it Black Saturday and others Joyous Saturday in celebration of Our Lord’s victory over the Dark Realms.

During one of the visits, my friend Dr Paisley bought for me in the Voltaire and Rousseau Bookshop in Glasgow, W Stroud’s book “A Treatise on the Physical Cause of the Death of Christ” 1847. He asked me for my opinion as he often did .As a physician myself I have had a lifetime interest in the death of the greatest of all physicians, Jesus Christ. I believe he suffered greatly under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. The suffering was immense, with extreme flagellation, so that he was in hypovolemic shock and already in very poor condition when he was crucified. He would have had pericardial effusion of fluid compressing his heart, so that the soldier’s spear piercing his atrium would have indeed brought forth blood and water…This proves the authenticity of the gospels, as indeed the authenticity of his resurrection was proved by the former anti-Christian Saul of Tarsus who met the living Jesus following the crucifixion.

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Holy Week

Holy Monday….Our Lord Jesus demonstrates genuine faith in God and affirms his Messianic destiny in the Cursing of the Fig Tree and the Cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem
Holy Tuesday…Our Lord Jesus taught from early morning until late at night…When the sun had set his earthly teaching was done….He left us the Parable of the Ten Virgins, and the Parable of the Talents, advising eternal vigilance for the Children of God….
Holy Wednesday….This is the day the Sanhedrin met to plot the destruction of our beloved Lord Jesus….This is the day when Mary, at the home of Simon the Leper in Bethany, washed his hands and feet in precious oil out of pure love ….and the disciples did not like it….This is the day Judas Iscariot, the Dagger man, betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver….This is Spy Wednesday, spy in this sense meaning ambush and treachery….
Holy Thursday….also known as Maundy Thursday, Holy and Great Thursday, Covenant Thursday and the Thursday of Mysteries….This is the day of the Maundy, the Washing of the Feet and Our Lord’s Last Supper….The Maundy, or Mandatum in Latin, is Our Lord’s new commandment that he gave to us, ” that you love one another, even as I loved you”….
Holy Friday….also known as God Friday, or Good Friday as it has become, and Black Friday. This is the day that our beloved Lord Jesus was betrayed by the Temple hierarchy and then the mob or crowd (ochlos in Greek) as the great theologian Pope Benedict has said, not the Jewish people as a whole, and crucified by the Roman authorities…Several years ago my friend Dr Paisley bought for me in the Voltaire and Rousseau Bookshop in Glasgow, W Stroud’s book “A Treatise on the Ph…ysical Cause of the Death of Christ” 1847. He asked me for my opinion as he often did .As a physician myself I have had a lifetime interest in the death of the greatest of all physicians, Jesus Christ. I believe he suffered greatly under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried….The suffering was immense, with extreme flagellation, so that he was in hypovolemic shock and already in very poor condition when he was crucified…He would have had pericardial effusion of fluid compressing his heart, so that the soldier’s spear piercing his atrium would have indeed brought forth blood and water…This proves the authenticity of the gospels, as indeed the authenticity of his resurrection was proved by the former anti-Christian Saul of Tarsus who met the living Jesus following the crucifixion….
Holy Saturday….or Holy Sabbath (Sabbatum Sanctum in Latin) or Great Sabbath….This is the day when the body of Our Lord Jesus lay in the tomb, while, according to the Apostle’s Creed his spirit entered the Dark Realms, called Hell in the Old English usage. Here he liberated the souls of the righteous since the beginning of the world of conscience and left the souls of the damned. In medieval times this was called the “Harrowing of Hell”…Some therefore call it Black Saturday and others Joyous Saturday in celebration of Our Lord’s victory over the Dark Realms of the Dead.
Holy Sunday….The Lord’s Day…This is the day that the Lord hath given….This is the day Our Lord Jesus rose again from the dead….He had undergone a rapid and profound physical transformation, so that his closest friend, Mary Magdalene, the first to see him, did not at first recognise him….nor did the disciples on the road to Emmaus….Tissue regeneration, the morphogenic process which demonstrates the phenotypic plasticity of traits, is an everyday miracle in all living creatures, including humans, but this was something very special indeed….Jesus ate and drank with his disciples but Thomas, the twin, doubted that it was he, until Jesus demonstrated his wounds , and he doubted no more….
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The “Irish” and “Scottish Gaelic” Question

“Gàidhlig agus “Gaeilge” (“Scottish Gaelic” and “Irish”)! What could be meant by “Gàidhlig  agus Gaeilge”? These are merely two forms of the same word used in different regions – Scotland and much of Ireland respectively – to mean the same thing, the Gaelic language – all of it. So what is the purpose of contrasting them?. Some people are using them to mean “Scottish Gaelic” and “Irish” respectively, but that is the English-Speakers way of thinking about it. That’s not the way the native Gaelic-Speakers think. To them, it is all the one thing – “the Gaelic”.

If they are from Scotland, they call their  language “Gàidhlig”, and they call the Irish part of it “Gàidhlig Éirinneach”. If they are from Ulster, they call their language “Gaedhlig”, and “Scottish Gaelic” is “Gaedhlig na hAlban”. If they are from Munster, they call it “Gaolainn”. If they are from Connacht, or from Official Caighdeán-land, they call it  “Gaeilge”.

But to someone thinking primarily in English, the usual concepts are “Scottish Gaelic” and “Irish”, regarded wrongly as different languages, The proper term “Gaelic” is still available to signify their commonality, but, for nationalistic political reasons is being less used in English and has become of secondary rank. But in Gaelic itself, the commonality is the primary concept, and it is called by one of the regional forms given above for the term “Gaelic”, while the names of the different varieties (“Gàidhlig Éirinneach, Gaeilge na hAlban, Gàidhlig Uladh and Gaeilge na Mumhan) are secondary.

To hear someone thinking in English while speaking Gaelic, and copying the primary distinction of English by contrasting “Gàidhlig” and “Gaeilge”,  native Gaelic-speaking persons, such as my relatives in Islay, wouldn’t understand it – the idea that they are different languages is foreign, (or at least not primary ) to them. And when they catch on to what is intended, the usage is  annoying.

It is great when Gaelic -speaking people from Ireland and Scotland get together. But how often do we hear people at these events talking about “Gàidhlig agus “Gaeilge”?. They are supposed to be bringing these two groups together, and they start off by creating a psychological division between the two, which never existed in Gaelic, only in English. The contrast they are trying to express is actually a political one, not between forms of speech, but between “Eirinn agus Alba”, Ireland and Scotland and that is totally wrong.

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Stand up for the Red, White and Blue: Part 3 – The French Blue Cornflower

Bleuet de France, 2012 version

Cornflower - bleuet

The British Red Poppy, the German White Rose, the French Blue Cornflower….Stand by the Red, White and Blue…Eternal symbols of Resistance to the Nazis, yesterday, today and tomorrow

The French Blue Cornflower or bleuet de France is the symbol of memory and solidarity, in France, for veterans, victims of war, widows, and orphans, similar to the typically British remembrance poppy. 

World War I French soldiers at rest, wearing their iconic blue uniforms.

In the language of flowers, the cornflower symbolizes delicacy and humility, and indicates that a message has a pure, innocent, or delicate intention.

The cornflower – like the Red Poppy – continued to grow in land devastated by the thousands of shells which were launched daily by the entrenched armies of the Western Front. These flowers were often the only visible evidence of life, and the only sign of colour in the mud of the trenches.

At the same time, the term “bleuets” was used also to refer to the class of conscripted soldiers born in 1895 who arrived in the lead-up to the Second Battle of the Aisne, because of the horizon blue uniform worn by French soldiers after 1915. The uniform worn by these young recruits, many of whom were not yet even twenty years old, was distinctive because it marked a break from the disastrous garance red pants worn by older soldiers, which were part of the standard uniform prior to the First World War.

As the war dragged on and the novelty of the term faded, the title endured because the uniform which fresh arrivals wore into the trenches was still new and brightly colored, in contrast with the mud-stained uniforms of veteran troops.

The popularity of the term was such that the image became a potent symbol in postcards, posters, songs, and poems:

«Les voici les p’tits « Bleuets » These here, these little “Bleuets”
Les Bleuets couleur des cieux These Bleuets the color of the sky,
Ils vont jolis, gais et coquets, Are beautiful, gay, stylish,
Car ils n’ont pas froid aux yeux. Because they are not afraid.
En avant partez joyeux ; Merrily, go forward
Partez, amis, au revoir ! Go on, my friends, so long!
Salut à vous, les petits « bleus », Good luck for you, little “blues”
Petits « bleuets », vous notre espoir ! » Little “bleuets,” you are our hope!
–Alphonse Bourgoin, from Bleuets de France, 1916.

A war amputee selling bleuets on the Champs-Élysées, 4 July 1919.

The origin of the badge dates to 1916. Suzanne Lenhardt, head nurse in Les Invalides and widow of a Colonial Infanrty captain killed in 1915, and Charlotte Malleterre, sister of General Gustave Léon Nioux and the wife of General Gabriel Malleterre, both moved by the suffering endured by the war wounded for whom they were responsible and faced with the necessity to give them an active task, decided to organize workshops where cornflower badges were made from tissue paper. These badges were sold to the public at various times, and the revenues generated by this permitted them to give these men a small income. They gradually became a symbol of the rehabilitation of soldiers through labour.

On 15 September 1920, Louis Fontenaille, president of Amputees of France, presented with the support of the International Federation of Veterans in Brussels a project designed to make the bleuet the perpetual symbol of those for France.

In 1928, after the President of France Gaston Doumergue gave his patronage to the bleuet, sales gradually spread through the entire country. By 11 November 1934, 128,000 flowers were sold. From 1935, the Republic made the sale of bleuets on Remembrance Day official throughout France.

After the Second World War, in 1957, a second day for commemoration was created on 8 May, the anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany.

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Stand up for the Red, White and Blue: Part 2 – The German White Rose

The British Red Poppy, the German White Rose, the French Blue Cornflower….Stand by the Red, White and Blue…Eternal symbols of Resistance to the Nazis, yesterday, today and tomorrow
The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany, consisting of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943, which called for active opposition to dictator Adolf Hitler’s regime.

The six most recognized members of the German resistance group  were arrested by the Gestapo, tried for treason and beheaded in 1943. The text of their sixth leaflet was smuggled by the jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke out of Germany through Scandinavia to the United Kingdom, and in July 1943, copies of it were dropped over Germany by Allied planes, retitled “The Manifesto of the Students of Munich”.

Another member, Hans Conrad Leipelt, who helped distribute Leaflet 6 in Hamburg, was executed in January 1945 for his participation. Today the members of the White Rose are honoured in Germany amongst its greatest heroes, since they opposed the Third Reich in the face of almost certain death.

White Rose survivor Jürgen Wittenstein described what it was like to live in Hitler’s Germany: “The government – or rather, the party – controlled everything: the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control. Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology.”

So  goodbye my love till then
When the white rose blooms  again
The summer  days are ending in the  valley
And soon the time will come
When we must be  apart
Now you must  start
Your journey to the  city
And leave me  till
Another spring-time comes  around
When the white rose blooms again
You must leave me, leave me  lonely
So goodbye my love till  then
When the white rose blooms again
The autumn leaves  are falling in the  valley
And soon the  winter snow
Will lie upon the ground
But like the rose
That comes  back with the springtime
You will return to me
When springtime comes  around

Good  bye  till  then
Good  bye till  then.


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Stand up for the Red, White and Blue: Part 1 – The British Red Poppy

Glassnevin 2013 11 11 Poppies (10)

The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red exhibit at the Tower of London in 2014 on the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I consisted of 888,246 ceramic poppies, one for each British and colonial death.


The British Red Poppy, the German White Rose, the French Blue Cornflower….Stand by the Red, White and Blue…Eternal symbols of Resistance to the Nazis, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

On Friday 29th October, 2010 Royal Irish Regiment soldier Ranger Andy Allen, now MLA for my constituency of East Belfast, helped launch the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal in Northern Ireland. This was the second year running Ranger Allen had been the public face of the Ulster Poppy Appeal and we are proud of him, his comrades and their families.

Poppies of several varieties have been known to medicine since the dawn of human civilisation. The ancient Egyptians used extracts to calm anxious children. The Assyrians, Greeks and Romans said they were sent by the Gods to relieve pain and suffering. And so they still do. The Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum) was native to Anatolia (modern Turkey), but has since spread throughout Asia. The capsule of this White Poppy secretes a milky fluid from which morphine, heroin, codeine and papaverine are all derived. This poppy was known as the Flower of Forgetfulness to the Ancients. Legend has it that the great Mogul Warrior Genghis Khan caused the White Poppy to turn Red by the slaughter of his enemies on the Battlefield.

But the Red Poppy of Remembrance, which we wear on 11th November every year, has a different origin. This is the Corn Poppy or Flanders Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), the extract of which has only a mild sedative effect. Before he himself succumbed to pneumonia and meningitis the Canadian Doctor Lt Col John McCrea wrote about the Corn Poppy in his famous poem In Flanders Fields at a dressing station north of Ypres on Essex Farm in 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow .
In Flanders fields.

This was the red poppy used by the widows of French ex-servicemen to raise money by those incapacitated by the War and through them has become the symbol of sacrifice and remembrance of the British Legion, the Canadian Legion and the Anzacs. Because of the efforts of Moina Mitchell, it has also become a symbol in the United States of America for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Thus while the White Poppy remains the Ancient Flower of Forgetfulness, the Red Poppy reminds us that we must never forget those who have given their health, happiness and lives for our freedom.

Ed: Blog Links

Remembrance 1, Sunday, November 11. 2007

Remembrance 2, Sunday, November 11. 2007

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The Church of the Brethren

Farewell of Saints Peter and Paul, showing the Apostles giving each other the holy kiss before their martyrdom. (Alonzo Rodriguez, 16th century, Museo Regionale di Messina).

On Sunday May 23, 1971 I attended Pastor Henry A, Krommes’ Mohican Church of the Brethren, near Wooster, Ohio with my brother-in-law Earl’s parents Maw and Paw Beegle, Paul, Faye and the rest of the family. They are the loveliest people I have ever met and looked after me during my many sojourns in America. Historically the family belong to the Dunkers, members of a pious religious group also known as the German Baptist Brethren.  They are referred to as Dunkers due to their tradition of fully immersing, or dunking,  those being baptized, as in our Old Gospel Hall in Conlig., now a Community Hall.  They share a traditional rural life style with other Anabaptist groups, such as the Mennonites and the Amish (Pennsylvania Dutch), but their beliefs distinguish them from these other more well known sects. The Brethren love feast is a conscious imitation of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. It begins with foot washing symbolizing humility and service. They then share a meal, symbolizing fellowship. Finally, they share the bread and cup communion (using unfermented red grape juice), symbolizing participation in Christ’s suffering and death. They practice the Holy Kiss or kiss of peace, a traditional Christian greeting dating to early Christianity.

The Dunkers began as a small pacifist community which emerged from German Reformed and Lutheran Churches in 1708 in West Central Germany, with origins in the Schwarzenau Brethren (German: Schwarzenauer Neutäufer ‘Schwarzenau New Baptists’) organized by Alexander Mack of Schwarzenau, Germany. The other two pacifist Churches are the Amish and the Quakers.The Brethren movement began as a melding of Radical Pietist and Anabaptist ideas during the Protestant Reformation we celebrate today. During a 10 year period from 1719 to 1729, all of the Dunkers fled Germany to avoid religious intolerance.  They crossed the Atlantic and settled in the farmlands of eastern Pennsylvania, where they prospered.  By the early 1880’s the sect had grown from the original 50 families to 58,000 people.  In 1882, the Dunkers officially split between progressive  and conservative (Old Order) members.  The conservatives rejected modern farm machinery and other late 19th century inventions.  Likewise, they wanted to maintain their older customs, style of dress, and forms of worship.

The original  language of the Dunkers was Pennsylvania German (Deitsch, Pennsylvania Deitsch, Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, Hinterwäldler Deutsch, usually called Pennsylvania Dutch) now spoken mainly by the Amish and Old Order in the United States and Canada, closely related to the Palatine varieties of the Geman language. There are possibly more than 300,000 native speakers in North America.  Although for many, the term ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ is often taken to refer to the Amish and Old Order  groups exclusively, the term should not imply a connection to any particular religious group. In this context, the word “Dutch” does not refer to the Dutch people or their descendants. Instead it is probably left over from an archaic sense of the English word “Dutch”; compare German Deutsch (‘German’), Dutch Duits (‘German’), Diets (‘Dutch’), which once referred to any people speaking a non-peripheral continental West Germanic  language on the European mainland. Alternatively, some sources give the origin of “Dutch” in this case as a corruption or a “folk-rendering” of the Pennsylvania German endonym “Deitsch”. As their settlements abutted that of the Scotch-Irish, Pennsylvania Dutch also has words of Ulster origin,

Lord’s Prayer..

Pennsylvania Dutch

Unsah Faddah im Himmel,
dei nohma loss heilich sei,
Dei Reich loss kumma.
Dei villa loss gedu sei,
uf di eaht vi im Himmel.
Unsah tayklich broht gebb uns heit,
Un fagebb unsah shulda,
vi miah dee fagevva vo uns shuldich sinn.
Un fiah uns naett in di fasuchung,
avvah hald uns fu’m eevila.
Fa dei is es Reich, di graft,
un di hallichkeit in ayvichkeit. Amen.

Modern German

Unser Vadder im Himmel,
dei Naame loss heilich sei,
Dei Reich loss komme.
Dei Wille loss gedu sei,
uff die Erd wie im Himmel.
Unser deeglich Brot gebb uns heit,
Un vergebb unser Schulde,
wie mir die vergewwe wu uns schuldich sinn.
Un fiehr uns net in die Versuchung,
awwer hald uns vum ewile.
Fer dei is es Reich, die Graft,
un die Hallichkeit in Ewichkeit. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses;
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power
and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

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The fool says in his or her heart that there is no God. Yet they cannot explain the singularity of the universe or the reality of time. They say that they know, or have been told, how and when the universe was formed, but they cannot explain why. They use the benefits of quantum mechanics in their everyday lives in their mobile phones and i pads but they do not understand the reasons for it, no not one of them, explaining it in incomprehensible gobbledygook. They say that light exhibits the properties of both waves and particles. They say this with a straight face as if they had knowledge of what they are talking about . They have a sense of convolution which can be defined for functions on the set of integers. Generalisations of convolution have applications in the field of numerical analysis and numerical linear algebra, and in the design and implementation of finite impulse response filters in signal processing. But they have no sense of the convolution of convolution or Convovulation as an integral part of the formation of matter.

November 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication in 1964 of the discovery of the famous Belfast scientist, John Stewart Bell that any hidden variables theory whose predictions agree with those of Quantum Mechanics must be non-local. Known as Bell’s Inequality, it derives limits on the degree of correlation of the quantum spins of entangled pairs of particles which have to be satisfied by any local hidden variables theory. Bell then demonstrated conclusively in the Review of Modern Physics at the end of 1964 that von Neumann’s proof ruling out hidden variables theories, published in 1932 in his book The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics is flawed. However rigorous testings over the following years have shown that Bell’s Inequality is violated. Nevertheless we do not yet have a quantum theory of Gravity although I have formulated my own theory of Convovulation , which is a theory beyond the quantum.

Patricia M Byrne writes for the Royal Irish Academy:

John Stewart Bell (1928-90), physicist, was born 28 July 1928 in Belfast, second child among one daughter and three sons of John Bell and Annie Bell (née Brownlee) of Tate’s Avenue, Belfast. Both families were of Scottish protestant extraction. Although his father had left school at 12, his mother saw education as a route to a fulfilling life and encouraged her children. However, means were limited and only John was able to stay at school over 14 years of age. He was educated at Old Ulsterville elementary school and Fane St. secondary school before attending the Belfast Technical College, where an academic curriculum, combined with practical courses, provided a sound basis for his future interests in practical and fundamental aspects of science. His interest in books and science from an early age earned him the nickname “the prof.” at home. At the age of 16 (1944) he began working as a junior laboratory assistant in the physics department of QUB under its professors Karl Emelaus and Robert Sloane. Recognising his ability, they encouraged him to attend first-year lectures. The following year, with money saved from his job and some extra support, he enrolled for a degree course. A scholarship was later awarded and he graduated with a first-class degree in experimental physics (1948), staying on to achieve a second degree in mathematical physics (1949). He was particularly interested in quantum mechanics, and encouraged by the crystallographer Paul Peter Ewald (qv), who taught him in his last year at QUB, he applied for a position at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, near Oxford (1949). There he worked under Klaus Fuchs (later arrested for espionage, 1950) on reactor physics before moving to Malvern to work on accelerator design. Here he met Mary Ross, a member of the design group, and they began a collaboration that lasted his lifetime, marrying in 1954.

In 1951 he was given leave of absence to work with Rudolf Peirls in the department of mathematical physics at Birmingham University, where he developed his version of the CPT theorem of quantum field theory (Time reversal in field theory, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. (1955), A 231, 479-495) for which, with some additional work, he later gained his Ph.D. (1956). Unfortunately, the same theorem was published simultaneously by the renowned physicists Gerhard Lauders and Wolfgang Paulii, who received all the credit. Bell returned (1954) to Harwell to a newly set-up group to study elementary particle physics. Unhappy with the gradually more applied nature of the group’s work, he and Mary moved (1960) to the Centre for European Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, where they could both continue pursuing their research interests; she on accelerator design and he on high energy physics, accelerator physics, and what he called his “hobby”, quantum measurement theory.

He published around eighty papers in high-energy physics and quantum field theory. In 1964 he published his greatest contribution to quantum theory, “On the Einstein Podolsky’ community. The theory was experimentally tested and came to be known as ËœBell’s inequality” or “Bell’s theorem”, a proof of quantum theory that reopened to experiment the fundamental basis of physics. Henry Stapp of the Lawrence National Berkeley Laboratory, California, called his result Ëœthe most profound discovery of science” (H. Stapp, “Are superluminal connections necessary?”, Nuova Cimento (1977), xl B, 191-205). Another of Bell’s papers discredited an earlier Ëœproof” by von Neumann of the impossibility of adding hidden variables to the theory of quantum mechanics.

Bell’s pioneering work had an enormous influence on subsequent developments in quantum theory, quantum experiments, and quantum technology. A collection of his own views on quantum philosophy was published in Speakable and unspeakable in quantum mechanics (1987) and presented with humorous illustrations. A list of his publications is found in Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (1999).

He received many honours in his life, mostly at the latter end of his career; FRS (1972), Reality Foundation Prize (1982), honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1987), the Dirac medal of the Institute of Physics (1988), honorary D.Sc. from QUB (1988) and TCD (1988), the Heinman prize of the American Physical Society, and the Hughes medal of the Royal Society (1989).

Unassuming and modest about his own work, he is remembered for his intellectual precision, integrity, and generosity, as well as a keen Ulster sense of humour. An incisive critic, he could be irritated by those less rigorous in their views of quantum physics than himself. He was a frequent visitor to Belfast, where his family remained. His younger brother David, after studying at night, qualified as an electrical engineer and became a professor at Lambton College, Canada, where he wrote several textbooks.

John Bell died of a stroke at his home 1 October 1990 in Geneva, aged 62. The proceedings of a conference to commemorate his life’s work were published in Quantum [Un]speakables from Bell to quantum information (2002). The Institute of Physics, who had described him as one of the top ten physicists of the twentieth century, mounted a plaque commemorating his pioneering work and contribution to science on the old physics building of QUB (2002). According to Andrew Whitaker (1998), biographer of Bell, his work has changed our perception of physical reality and the nature of the universe”.

Biographical encyclopaedia of scientists (1992); Andrew Whitaker,“John Bell and the most profound discovery of science”, Physics World, xi, no. 12 (1998), 29-34; P. G. Burke and I. C. Percival, “John Stewart Bell”, Biographical memoirs of fellows of the Royal Society, xlv (1999), 45, 3-17; John Bradbury, Celebrated citizens of Belfast (2002), 10-11; Charles Mollan and Brendan Finucane, Irish innovators in science and technology (2002); QUB communications office media release, 7 May 2002; Andrew Whitaker, “John Stewart Bell 1928-1990″, Physicists of Ireland (2003) 273-81; (accessed 5 Feb. 2003).


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The Language of Jesus

Aramaic is a language or group of languages belonging to Northwest Semitic, which also includes the Caananite languages such as Hebrew and Phœnician. The Aramaic alphabet was widely adopted for other languages and is ancestral to the Hebrew, Syriac and Arab alphabets.

During its approximately 3100 years of written history, Aramaic has served variously as a language of administration of empires and as a language of divine worship, religious study and as the spoken tongue of a number of Semitic peoples from the Near East.

It is generally agreed by historians that Jesus and his disciples primarily spoke Aramaic (Jewish Palestinian Aramaic), the common language of Judea in the first century AD, most likely a Galilean variety distinguishable from that of Jerusalem. The towns of Nazareth and Capernaum in Galilee, where Jesus spent most of his time, were Aramaic-speaking communities.

Matthew 27:46

Around the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, saying “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Mark 15:34

And at the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, for what have you forsaken me?”

Overall, both versions appear to be Aramaic rather than Hebrew because of the word “forsaken” which is originally Aramaic. The “pure” Biblical Hebrew counterpart to this word, is seen in the first line of Psalm 22, which the saying appears to quote. But Jesus is not quoting the canonical Hebrew version  attributed in some Jewish interpretations to King David, cited as Jesus’ ancestor in Matthew’s Genealogy of Jesus, if the Eli. Eli version of Jesus’ outcry is taken; he may be quoting the version given in an Aramaic Tarqum.

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