The Bible in the Early Irish Church, A.D. 550 to 850


This book aims at bringing together and providing all the information available on the Bible in the early Irish church (A.D. 550-850), drawing on some sources not well known for this subject, such as Columbanus, the early writer Apponius, St Gall list of works in Irish script, and the Libri scottice scripti. The beginnings are stressed after which the biblical compositions for three following centuries are given. The direct links of Irish literal Psalm interpretation with the fourth-century Antioch on the Orontes school are made clear, as is the presence of apocryphal and extra biblical, and possibly Jewish, tradition, in the poems of Blathmac and other Irish compositions.

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Martin McNamara, DSS (Biblical Institute Rome, 1966), Ph.D. (1976), National University of Ireland, Professor Emeritus of Sacred Scripture, Milltown Institute of Theology (which has since ceased to exist) is an independent researcher. His lifelong study of the Bible (particularly the Psalms) and the Apocrypha in Ireland, resulted in publications such as The Bible and the Apocrypha in the Early Irish Church (A.D. 600-1200) (2015).
Michael T. Martin, Ph.D. (2005), Western Michigan University, is Professor of History and Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Fort Lewis College. His research focuses on medieval Europe, specifically the sermon literature of the Carolingian period. He is currently transcribing the Latin text for a ninth-century commentary on the Psalms from Ireland, sourcing it, and writing the introduction for the book.


1 Irish Scholars: Early Medieval Ireland & Continental Europe

2 Irish Biblical Texts, Glossarial Material, and Commentaries

3 Bible Influences: Early Irish Latin & Vernacular Literature

4 Christological and Historical Interpretation in the Psalms

5 Cathach of St Columba & the St Columba Series Psalm Headings

6 Apponius’ Commentary on the Canticle of Canticles

7 Josephus Scottus’ Abbreviatio commentarii Hieronymi in Isaiam

8 Theodulf of Orleans’ Bible Commentary and Irish Connections

9 Background to Irish Gospel Texts

10 Glossed Text on Matthew’s Gospel

11 The Irish Origin of Vienna 940: A Commentary on Matthew

12 Hiberno-Latin Apocalypse Commentaries: Purpose and Theology


Appendix 1: Updates to Bernhard Bischoff’s “Wendepunkte” list
Appendix 2: Libri scottice scripti in St Gallen Stiftsbibliothek Catalogue
Appendix 3: Critical Edition of Canticle Section of De Enigmatibus
Appendix 4: Irish Gospel Texts Publication Project
Institutes, academic and non-academic libraries, graduate and post-graduate students, practitioners, general public interested in the Bible in the early Irish Church and its influence on and connection with Latin and vernacular Irish literature.
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