Texts

In tenga bithnua‘The ever-new tongue’

  • Old Irish, Middle Irish
  • prose
  • Irish religious texts
Manuscripts
Recension 1
Recension 2
Recension 3
  • 18th-century manuscripts:
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 L 24 (Hodges & Smith 61, 29) [s. xviii]
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 L 29 (Hodges & Smith 154, 109) [s. xviii]
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 12 F 7
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 I 25
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 D 8
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 24 B 29
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 L 35
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 N 18
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 3 C 15
  • Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1287 (H 1. 13) [1746]
  • Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1413
  • Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1414
  • Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 32
  • Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 501
  • Maynooth, Russell Library, MS M 52
  • Maynooth, Russell Library, MS M 95
  • Maynooth, Russell Library, MS R 66
  • London, British Library, MS Egerton 171
  • London, British Library, MS Egerton 174
  • Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Adv. MS 72.2.5
  • 19th-century manuscripts:
  • Cork, University College, MS Murphy 26
  • Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 365
  • Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 432
  • Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 656
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 L 6
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 B 1
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 M 1
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 I 44
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 24 C 16
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 24 A 22
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 N 23
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 24 L 20
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 24 A 20
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 B 2 (1002) [s. xix]
  • London, British Library, MS Additional 18945
  • Maynooth, Russell Library, MS M 39
  • Maynooth, Russell Library, MS M 73 (M 73) [1824]
  • Maynooth, Russell Library, MS B 2
Language
  • Old Irish Middle Irish
  • Secondary language(s): Hiberno-Latin
Date
“probably composed in the ninth century” (Carey);(1)n. 1 John Carey, King of Mysteries: early Irish religious writings (2000): 276 “may safely be ascribed to the tenth or eleventh century, when Old Irish was merging into the Early-Middle Irish of the Book of the Dun [Cow] and the Book of Leinster” (Stokes).(2)n. 2 Whitley Stokes, ‘The evernew tongue’, Ériu 2 (1905): 97.
Form
prose (primary)

Classification

Irish religious texts

Sources

Notes

Whitley Stokes, ‘The evernew tongue’, Ériu 2 (1905): 97.

Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

Recension 1:
[ed.] [tr.] Carey, John [ed. and tr.], Apocrypha Hiberniae 2, Apocalyptica 1. In tenga bithnua: The ever-new tongue, Corpus Christianorum Series Apocryphorum 16, Turnhout: Brepols, 2010.  
Edition, with translation and introduction, of the Book of Lismore version of In tenga bithnua and another recension found in four manuscripts.
abstract:
The present publication presents the edition of an Irish treatise on the universe, composed in the ninth or tenth century. This work, which purportedly records a revelation of the mysteries of the cosmos uttered in angelic language by the soul of the apostle Philip, is characterized by the vividness of its imagery and the rich diversity of its content. Besides providing the most conservative version of the text, preserved in the Book of Lismore, the book supplies on facing pages a full critical edition of the second recension, found in four further manuscripts. Both versions are accompanied by translation. An introduction traces the text’s transmission from the time of its composition down to the final flowering of the Irish scribal tradition in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; undertakes to identify its sources in earlier apocalyptic and cosmological literature; and subjects it to an in-depth linguistic analysis in order to place the question of its date in a clearer light. Individual aspects of the work’s content are discussed in an extended commentary, while matters of specifically philological interest are covered in a section of textual notes.
(source: Brepols)
[tr.] Carey, John, The ever-new tongue: In tenga bithnúa. The text in the Book of Lismore, Apocryphes (APOCR) 15, Turnhout: Brepols, 2018.  
abstract:
The Ever-new Tongue is a medieval Irish account of the mysteries of the universe, remarkable for its exotic sources and for the rich exuberance of its style. This translation, based on the definitive edition of the text, renders this remarkable work available to a wider readership. The Ever-new Tongue (In Tenga Bithnúa), composed in Ireland in the ninth or tenth century, purports to reveal the mysteries of the creation, of the cosmos, and of the end of the world, as related by the soul of the apostle Philip speaking in the language of the angels. Drawing on a multitude of sources, both mainstream and heterodox, it reflects the richness of early Irish learning as well as the vitality of its author’s imagination.

The present volume is based on the full critical edition of The Ever-new Tongue, including detailed linguistic analysis and textual notes, which appeared in 2009 in the Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum (CCSA 16). The aim here is to offer to a broader readership a translation of the oldest (and most conservative) version of the text, preserved in the Book of Lismore, together with such other parts, fully updated, of the larger study as may be of interest to non-Celticists.

Table of contents:
Abbreviations; Bibliography; Introduction; I. Recensions and manuscripts; II. Synopsis; III. Background and sources; IV. Theology; ‘The ever-new tongue’ (Translation); Appendix: Dating the text; Glossary.
[ed.] [tr.] Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], “The evernew tongue”, Ériu 2 (1905): 96–162.
Internet Archive: <link>
[notes] Stokes, Whitley, “Notes on the Evernew tongue”, Ériu 3 (1907): 34–35.
Journal volume:  Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Recension 2:
[ed.] [tr.] Carey, John [ed. and tr.], Apocrypha Hiberniae 2, Apocalyptica 1. In tenga bithnua: The ever-new tongue, Corpus Christianorum Series Apocryphorum 16, Turnhout: Brepols, 2010.  
Edition, with translation and introduction, of the Book of Lismore version of In tenga bithnua and another recension found in four manuscripts.
abstract:
The present publication presents the edition of an Irish treatise on the universe, composed in the ninth or tenth century. This work, which purportedly records a revelation of the mysteries of the cosmos uttered in angelic language by the soul of the apostle Philip, is characterized by the vividness of its imagery and the rich diversity of its content. Besides providing the most conservative version of the text, preserved in the Book of Lismore, the book supplies on facing pages a full critical edition of the second recension, found in four further manuscripts. Both versions are accompanied by translation. An introduction traces the text’s transmission from the time of its composition down to the final flowering of the Irish scribal tradition in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; undertakes to identify its sources in earlier apocalyptic and cosmological literature; and subjects it to an in-depth linguistic analysis in order to place the question of its date in a clearer light. Individual aspects of the work’s content are discussed in an extended commentary, while matters of specifically philological interest are covered in a section of textual notes.
(source: Brepols)
[ed.] Nic Énri, Úna, and Gearóid Mac Niocaill, “The second recension of the Evernew Tongue”, Celtica 9 (1971): 1–59.
[ed.] Dottin, Georges, “Un traité irlandais du moyen âge. La langue toujours nouvelle”, Annales de Bretagne 34 (1920): 190–207, 278–298.
Persée – pp. 190-207: <link> Persée – pp. 278-297: <link>
[ed.] Dottin, Georges, “Le Teanga bithnua du manuscrit de Rennes”, Revue Celtique 24 (1903): 365–403.
Journal volume:  Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Gallica: <link>
Recension 3:
[ed.] Dottin, Georges, “Une rédaction moderne du Teanga bithnua”, Revue Celtique 28 (1907): 277–307.
Journal volume:  Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Gallica: <link>
Contributors
Dennis Groenewegen
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