The Behan brothers James and Leo endeavor to show that the leading thoughts on astronomy and democracy are rooted in Ancient Ireland’s version of Christianity. In their book The Secret Gospel of Ireland from Skywest Publishing, they strive to connect the dots from 5 th century bishop St. Augustine, who believed that expanding one’s mind brought one closer to God, to the 13 th century Dominican friar Thomas Aquinas, who showed how Aristotle’s model of astronomy was in agreement with Christianity’s concept of heaven and earth. From there, the authors link German theologian Martin Luther, an intellectual who questioned the Roman Catholic Church’s policy of indulgences endorsed by the pope and later inspired the works of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke whose philosophies about man influenced Thomas Jefferson, one of the forefathers of the US Constitution and a disciple of the principles on democracy.
The Behan’s supply a lot of information to the reader to decipher in which they propose that the principles of democracy and the theories of astronomy are based on Ireland’s brand of Christianity. The idea is fathomable though the line of succession from St. Augustine to Thomas Jefferson is more in the authors minds than proven on paper. Whether or not readers choose to give credence to the brother’s thesis is secondary when weighed against the wealth of history provided in the text. The authors illuminate the stages of evolution from man’s savagery behavior towards one another through the Dark Ages to becoming a more civilized society during the Enlightenment period of the 19 th century due to the spreading of Ireland’s concept of Christian beliefs.
The brothers undeniably show that the monastic school system instituted by the abbots at monasteries led to the current public school system and a curriculum administered at colleges which includes the teaching of grammar, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy/science. The Behan brother’s book successfully links education to Christianity and perhaps it can be inferred that the principles of democracy and astronomy sprouted from the students who were products of Christianity’s education system.
The Secret Gospel of Ireland is more than a history of Ireland’s influence on leading monks and clergy members. The authors respectfully discuss the dynasties and monarchies that have affected public opinion and presiding views which were adaptations of Christian doctrines and practices. The Behan’s book skims over the expansion of Christianity which has evolved over the last 1,600 years. Though they take many liberties when filling in the gaps left by historians, their suppositions are based on sound conjectures that make sense to the reader spurring further speculations from the kernels placed in minds by the Behan’s.