Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)


Edward L. Smither


Columba, Early Christian Monasticism, Rhythm and Sacred Time, Iona


History of Christianity


This dissertation explores the rhythm and sacred time in the life of Saint Columba of Iona and his mission to Northern Scotland. It begins by establishing the existence of rhythm and sacred time in the Pentateuch, the life of Jesus as recorded in the four Gospels, and Paul and the early Church in the book of Acts. Rhythm and sacred time of early Christian monasticism in general and then specifically in the Celtic church are explored to provide context into which Columba and his monasticism and ministry are situated. The study concludes by demonstrating that Columba’s influence was felt well into the centuries that followed him. This dissertation shows that rhythm and sacred time were not unique to early Christian monasticism. The rhythms of prayer, Scripture memorization, study and reading, humility and obedience are all characteristic of lives being lived in submission to God. The goal of every believer (monk or modern Christian) is to grow closer to God and increasingly reflect the person of Jesus Christ. This is achieved in part through the rhythm and sacred times explored in this dissertation.