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Medieval Irish Saints' LivesAn Introduction to Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae$
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Richard Sharpe

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198215820

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198215820.001.0001

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The Value of the Textual Evidence

The Value of the Textual Evidence

(p.340) 11 The Value of the Textual Evidence
Medieval Irish Saints' Lives

Richard Sharpe

Oxford University Press

The body of texts under examination is so large that it is not possible to attempt an item-by-item analysis of the textual evidence for the whole of the three collections. As each Life is studied, new points will perhaps emerge about the textual relationships between the different recensions for particular texts. Although Revd Charles Plummer discussed his comparisons of the several versions, Life by Life, it is not possible to learn from that discussion to what extent the different compilers copied their sources verbatim. For a large number of Lives, a comparison of the various versions shows only how a source text was manipulated in the hands of the redactors of D and O. While each individual vita has still to be fitted into its place in the history of hagiography in Ireland, the study of the compilers will allow us to improve on the previous very sketchy outline of Latin hagiography in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

Keywords:   Lives, Charles Plummer, textual evidence, texts, compilers, hagiography, recensions, redactors, Ireland

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