For your pre-St. Patrick’s Day pleasure, a little Celtic linguistics Biblical apocrypha excerpt from Auraicept na nEces, the “primer of the learned”. (Yes, I’m afraid this choice of reading also means me mangling Irish names. But it’s not too bad a mangling, I think.)
Naturally, this excerpt explains why Gaelic is the “most comprehensive” language, even if the Irish don’t quite have the gall to claim it as the noblest. (If they could have figured a way to get Irish written on the Cross, I’m sure they would have.)
This counts as a special guest entry for the Fathers, because this particular piece of Biblical fanfic may date as far back as the seventh century. Also, as I found out through Mike Aquilina, there’s a whole 1989 book out of Irish Biblical Apocrypha: Selected Texts in Translation; there’s also this 1975 book on The Apocrypha in the Irish Church. So, having my excuse in hand, gleefully do I hop onto the scholarly bandwagon. (Btw, you may also like this interesting article: “Rationalism and the Bible in Seventh Century Ireland”. People don’t appreciate how much Alexandrian Greek science was running around in Ireland back then.)
I fell in love with this book within two seconds of opening its covers, many years back. So I really wanted to read the whole thing out loud to you, not just this tiny excerpt! The Auraicept is a perfect convergence of Irishness, early medieval Christian scholarship that totally incorporates the native culture, and serious thought about both the nitty-gritty of how language and poetry work. Also, it includes the famous Ogham tract, with its wonderful medieval diagram of 30 or 40 different ways to write Ogham. (Man, I should only have had that back in 3rd grade, when I was in love with codes and ciphers….) Tons of fun for everyone!
Okay, maybe just “everyone who likes what Maureen likes”. But if you do, you’ll love it! (Umberto Eco even loved it enough to write about it — yup, right up his alley.)