Biography St Columba-The Schaffhausen Adomnán

The ArCH (Armarium Codicum Hibernensium) project at the UCC School of History and Cork University Press today publishes The Schaffhausen Adomnán which is a biography of  St Columba edited by Damian Bracken and Eric Graff.   This is the first in a series of facsimiles of major Irish historical manuscripts. Each will be published with an interpretive commentary.  Preserved today in the city library of Schaffhausen in Switzerland and prized by scholars as a precious witness to the earliest history of Ireland, Scotland and northern England, the ‘Schaffhausen Adomnan’ manuscript is now available in two volumes as a high-quality reproduction together with a detailed commentary  both contained in a slipcase.

St Columba, or Colum Cille, built one of the greatest Irish monastic and cultural foundations of the middle ages, on the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland, in the 560s. From there missionaries set out to convert much of Scotland and northern England to Christianity. In time, it grew to become the centre of a great monastic federation that stretched from Lindisfarne, in the east of England, to Durrow, in the heart of Ireland.

Columba died in 597 and one hundred years later his distant kinsman and successor as abbot of Iona, Adomnan, wrote a Life of his patron that has been described as perhaps the most sophisticated saint’s Life written in western Europe in the seventh century. This was no mean achievement for a community living at the very edge of the known world. The book, and others like it, established Ireland’s reputation in the Middle Ages as a land of learning.

March  2015, 9781782051183, Two volumes slipcased, Hardback,  340 x 239mm, 282 pages, €95.00 and £75.00 (to June 30th 2015; thereafter €150.00 / £120.00)

The manuscript is accompanied by a detailed commentary:

Introduction-Damian Bracken; Report on the Codex: Schaffhausen, Stadtbibliothek, Generalia 1-Eric Graff; Schaffhausen, Stadtbibliothek, Generalia 1: The history of the manuscript-Jean-Michel Picard; The Schaffhausen manuscript and the composition of the Life of Columba-Mark Stansbury; Some orthographic features of the Schaffhausen manuscript- Anthony Harvey; A note on the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the Schaffhausen manuscript of Adomnán’s Vita Columbae- Deirdre McMahon; Index

Damian Bracken is Senior Lecturer in the School of History, University College Cork, and Eric Graff, lectures in the College of Liberal Arts, Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, USA.