The Long Search
13 June, 8.00pm, BBC Radio 4 (six-part series)
Historian William Dalrymple goes on a search to discover the roots
of spirituality in the British Isles
Dalrymple, who is best known for his work on India and the Middle
East, returns home to examine people's eternal quest to discover
meaning and purpose in their lives.
neolithic paganism to the cultural revolution of the Reformation,
perceptions of God, or the gods, have changed throughout the centuries.
Yet many have forgotten this rich mystical tradition.
says: "In the course of my travels I often came across the
assumption that intense spirituality was somehow the preserve of
what many call 'the mystic east'... it's a misconception that has
always irritated me as I've always regarded our own indigenous British
traditions of spirituality as especially rich."
the first episode of the series, Darymple looks at the centuries
leading up to the Christian era and what their religious systems
mean to us today.
visits Avebury at Spring Equinox to attend a modern Druid ceremony
and looks at the links between today's neo-pagan practices and those
of the ancients.
he explores the "divine supermarket" of Roman Britain
with a plethora of gods - Celtic, Roman, Persian and a new god from
Palestine called Jesus.
programme producer is Rosemary Dawson.