The Highland Hajj

Wednesday 10 February 2010

A recent book by St Andrews academic Rev Dr Ian Bradley, which offers a history of the pilgrimage over the past two millennia, is to be translated into Arabic.

Pilgrimage, A Cultural and Spiritual Journey, which came out last year, sets out common routes in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Bosnia-Herzogovina, and Poland and brings them to life through vivid personal accounts and prayers from pilgrims.

Dr Bradley, who is Reader in Church History and Practical Theology at St Andrews University and Associate Minister of Holy Trinity Church, said that the news of the Arabic translation came as a complete surprise but reflects the resurgence of interest in pilgrimage across the world. The book has already been published in Norwegian and Danish editions in the past few months.

The practice of pilgrimage, understood as a departure from daily life on a journey in search of spiritual wellbeing, is a central feature of all the world’s major faiths.

The book explores the phenomenon pilgrimage from its origins in the Exodus and wilderness experience of the Jews; the medieval times when millions of pilgrims spent months travelling across Europe; and the modern revival which has blurred the lines between pilgrimage and tourism and made places such as Iona, Taizé and Santiago di Compostella destinations for contemporary seekers and travellers.

Dr Bradley is actively involved in the project to create a long-distance pilgrim way between Iona, through Highland Stirlingshire to St Andrews, about which he writes at some length in his recent book.

Dr Bradley said:

“It would be wonderful if the appearance of my book in Arabic brings pilgrims from the Middle East and the Arab world to Scotland, and especially to St Andrews.”


Please note that Dr Bradley is available for interview on 01334 462 840 or email [email protected].

Issued by the University of St Andrews

Contact: Communications Manager Emma Shea on 01334 462 109 or email [email protected].

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