John Rhys

Life
First Professor of Celtic at Jesus College, Oxford; issued Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by Celtic Heathendom (London: Williams & Norgate 1888), adopting the comparative method and favouring Friedrich Max Muller’s solar theory of mythology; making Cuchullain a sun-god; influenced the Irish Literary revival writers; gave Hibbert Lectures in 1886 [var. 1888], examining mythology of ancient Celts in context of nineteenth-century archaeology and anthropology. [see John Frayne, ed. Uncollected Prose of W. B. Yeats, Vol. I, 1970, p.49].

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Works
Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as illustrated by Celtic Heathendom [1886 Hibbert Lects.] (2nd edn. 1892), xi+708pp.

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Quotations
‘[Celts were remnants] of Aryans before their separation, or during what is sometimes called their pro-ethnic period’, and the guardians of a spirituality which stretched ‘from the grey dawn of their pre-history onwards to our own era.’ (cited in Christopher Morash, ‘Celticism: between Race and Culture’, [pt. 2 of] ‘The Triple Play of Irish History’, in Irish Review (Winter-Spring 1997), pp.29-36; pp.34-35.

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