This is a study of three important late medieval collections of saints' Lives. The manuscripts, written in Latin and, for the most part, relating to the lives of Irish saints, have never before been subject to critical examination. Richard Sharpe's pioneering analysis addresses such questions as when and where the Lives were compiled, and from what sources they derive. Dr Sharpe sets his own treatment of the collections within the wider context of Irish
hagiographical studies. Formidable research underpins his lucid exposition and resolution of complex problems of historical and linguistic evidence.
`A tour de force of meticulous scholarship, this book should have a major impact on the study of Saints' lives in general.'
David Rollason, History
'a welcome and highly skilled work ... His approach is well judged ... highly readable study ... Sharpe's study is a pioneering work pointing the way to more detailed and wide-ranging analyses of the Latin and Irish vitae from medieval Ireland.'
John McLoughlin, School of Oriental and African Studies, The Heythrop Journal, April 1993, Volume 34, Number 2
'This is an important, densely argued, challenging book, which lays the foundations for a better understanding of the many anonymous saints' Lives from medieval Ireland. I would hope that Sharpe's book will stimulate other scholars to study these Lives and their interrelationships ... an impressive achievement. It is rich in new findings and new ideas, and clear-headed in its presentation of the approach adopted ... this book may open a new era in the study
and understanding of medieval Irish saints' Lives. It deserves to do so.'
Clare Stancliffe, Journal of Theological Studies
'Because of the wide range of topics addressed, any reader with an interest in medieval Irish hagiography and in early modern hagiographical studies will find much of importance here.'
Erich Poppe, University of Cambridge, Journal of Ecclesiastical History
`The bulk of the study consists of a philological tour de force which displays the author's thoroughness in philology and textual criticism ... Sharpe has set very high standards for his own future publications.'
Michael Richter, Universität Konstanz, Irish Historical Studies, Vol. XXIX, No. 116, November 1995
Note on references; Part I. Introduction: The writing of saints' lives in medieval Ireland; The background to Act Sanctorum Hiberniae; Modern scholars and their methods; Part II. The Textual Evidence: Manuscripts of the Dublin collection; A paradigm of the Dublin collection: Vita IV S. Brigitae; Applying the paradigm: St Patrick and St Maedoc; The collection in the Codex Salmanticensis; Manuscripts of the Oxford collection; A
group of texts in SO; The O'Donohue group in SDO; The value of the textual evidence; Part III. The Collectors and Their Sources: The compilation of the Dublin collection; The milieux of the later collections; Coda; Bibliography; Index