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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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Manuscripts of the Oxford Collection

Manuscripts of the Oxford Collection

(p.247) 8 Manuscripts of the Oxford Collection
Medieval Irish Saints' Lives

Richard Sharpe

Oxford University Press

The Oxford collection is preserved in two parchment manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B. 485 (R) and MS Rawlinson B. 505 (I). Revd Charles Plummer has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the latter is a copy of the former. The two manuscripts contained (before the mutilation of R) the same collection of Irish saints' Lives in exactly the same recension, though in a different order. More importantly, Plummer noted that the agreement of the two manuscripts extended to ‘the most minute peculiarities of reading’, which he briefly illustrated in places where S offered a parallel and more accurate text. All this might show only that both were conscientiously copied from the same exemplar, but the decisive argument is this: R uses a large number of capricious contractions, which the scribe of I tried to expand, but frequently his expansions are incorrect. These false expansions prove that I was copied from a text which used peculiar abbreviations — at the meaning of which the copyist had to guess — and all can be explained from R.

Keywords:   Oxford collection, manuscripts, Lives, Irish saints, Bodleian Library, Charles Plummer, recension, expansions

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