1st Edition

History and Salvation in Medieval Ireland

By Elizabeth Boyle Copyright 2021
    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    History and Salvation in Medieval Ireland explores medieval Irish conceptions of salvation history, using Latin and vernacular sources from c. 700–c. 1200 CE which adapt biblical history for audiences both secular and ecclesiastical.

    This book examines medieval Irish sources on the cities of Jerusalem and Babylon; reworkings of narratives from the Hebrew Scriptures; literature influenced by the Psalms; and texts indebted to Late Antique historiography. It argues that the conceptual framework of salvation history, and the related theory of the divinely-ordained movement of political power through history, had a formative influence on early Irish culture, society and identity. Primarily through analysis of previously untranslated sources, this study teases out some of the intricate connections between the local and the universal, in order to situate medieval Irish historiography within the context of that of the wider world. Using an overarching biblical chronology, beginning with the lives of the Jewish Patriarchs and ending with the Christian apostolic missions, this study shows how one culture understood the histories of others, and has important implications for issues such as kingship, religion and literary production in medieval Ireland.

    This book will appeal to scholars and students of medieval Ireland, as well as those interested in religious and cultural history.


    1. In the Egypt of this our Island: Reflections on Jewish History

    2. Absalom, Absalom!: Rewriting the David Story

    3. More than Honey to my Mouth: The Psalms

    4. The Green-Grassed Land of the Assyrians: Constructing the History of Babylon

    5. Twilight of the Idols



    Elizabeth Boyle is a Lecturer in Early Irish at Maynooth University. Her research focuses on the intellectual, cultural and religious history of Ireland.