The course will examine the early reception and development of Celtic Christianity in Ireland and Britain. Particular attention will be paid to the role that insular pre-Christian Celtic religious systems played in this reception and the conversion to Christian belief. Lectures and primary works that will be read (complete or in extract) to elucidate this issue will be drawn from wisdom texts, secular and canon law texts, ecclesiastical legislation, penitentials and monastic rules, apocrypha and lyric poetry. A selection of saints' lives, both Irish and Welsh, with a French connection via St. Martin of Tours, will round out the course.
All texts will be available in English translation and the majority of them available in a Course Reader. These will include: the Irish wisdom text, Audacht Morainn [The Testimony of Moran]; Cáin Adamnáin [the law of Adomnan], Cáin Domnaig [the law of Sunday] and Cáin Darí [the law of Dari]; The Irish Penitentials, the "Monastery of Tallaght"; the "Martyrology of Oengus" and the Old Irish poems of Blathmac; The Voyage of St. Brendan, and extracts from the following saints' lives: Adomnan's Life of Columba, Muirchú's Life of St. Patrick, Cogitosus's Life of St. Brigid, Rhigyfarch's Life of St. David, Lifris's Life of St. Cadog, and Sulpicius's Life of St. Martin.