Women in a Celtic Church: Ireland 450 - 1150
by Christina Harrington
This work is a groundbreaking study of the varieties of holy life
available to, and pursued by, early medieval Irish women. The author
explores a wide range of source material from legal texts, saints'
lives, litanies, penitentials, canons, and poetry in order to
illuminate female religious life and changes in attitudes towards it
Considering that this is a scholarly publication, it is a surprisingly
smooth read. The author has delved deeply into the maelstrom of Irish
and Latin texts that make up the source material, resulting in a fresh
and sometimes penetrating analysis of the state of holy women of
various sorts in the church of Ireland circa 450-1150. However, this
book is not for the impatient, the argument can sometimes take some
time to build; be patient though. While most passages from the sources
are provided in english translation, a knowledge of Latin would be
helpful for the numerous short bits that are left untranslated, but
this is not crucial for following the argument.
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