Vita prima sanctae Brigitae

  • Hiberno-Latin
  • prose
  • Irish hagiography
Latin Life of St Brigit.
  • Hiberno-Latin
Several scholars have argued that it belongs to the 7th century and that it may be the earliest extant Life of the saint, predating that written by Cogitosus in the same century. Other critics, however, favour a later date of composition, in the 8th or late 9th century.
prose (primary)
Textual relationships


Irish hagiography

Subject tags

Brigit of KildareBrigit of Kildare (c. 439/452–c. 524/526) – patron saint of Kildare, whose cult spread both within and outside of Ireland.
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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.

[ed.] [tr.] Hochegger, Karina, “Untersuchungen zu den ältesten Vitae sanctae Brigidae”, MPhil thesis: Universität Wien, Philologisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, 2009.
E-theses Universität Wien: <link>
Edition, with translation into German, introduction and commentary.
[ed.] Colgan, John, Triadis Thaumaturgæ seu divorum Patricii, Columbæ et Brigidæ, trium veteris et maioris Scotiæ, seu Hiberniæ sanctorum insulae communium patronorum acta, Louvain: apud Cornelium Coenestenium, 1647.
Digital.onb.ac.at: <link> Google Books: <link>, <link>
527–542 ‘Tertia S. Vitae Brigidae’
[ed.] Bollandus, Ioannes, and Godefridus Henschenius, Acta sanctorum quotquot toto orbe coluntur, vel a catholicis scriptoribus celebrantur, 68 vols, vol. 3: Februarius I, Antwerp: Ioannes Meursius, 1658.
118–134 ‘Vita I S. Brigidae auctore anonymo’
[tr.] Connolly, Seán, “Vita prima sanctae Brigitae: background and historical value”, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 119 (1989): 5–49.
Translated at 14–49.

Secondary sources (select)

Connolly, Seán, “Vita prima sanctae Brigitae: background and historical value”, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 119 (1989): 5–49.
Bray, Dorothy Ann, “The Vita Prima of St. Brigit: a preliminary analysis of its composition”, in: Eska, Joseph F. [ed.], Narrative in Celtic tradition: essays in honor of Edgar M. Slotkin, CSANA Yearbook 8, 9, New York: Colgate University Press, 2011. 1–15.
McKenna, Catherine, “Between two worlds: Saint Brigit and pre-Christian religion in the Vita Prima”, in: Nagy, Joseph Falaky [ed.], Identifying the 'Celtic', CSANA Yearbook 2, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002. 66–74.
McCone, Kim R., “Brigit in the seventh century: a saint with three lives?”, Peritia 1 (1982): 107–145.
Sharpe, Richard, “Vitae S Brigidae: the oldest texts”, Peritia 1 (1982): 81–106.
Connolly, Seán, “Verbal usage in Vita Prima Brigitae and Bethu Brigte”, Peritia 1 (1982): 268–272.
Maney, Laurance, “The date and provenance of Vita prima sanctae Brigitae”, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 23 — 2003 (2009): 200–218.
Connolly, Seán, “The authorship and manuscript tradition of Vita I sanctae Brigitae”, Manuscripta 16:2 (July, 1972): 67–82.
Kenney, James F., “Chapter IV: The monastic churches, their founders and traditions: I. The primitive foundations”, in: Kenney, James F., The sources for the early history of Ireland: an introduction and guide. Volume 1: ecclesiastical, Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies 11, Revised ed. (1929), New York: Octagon, 1966. 288–371.
361 (§ 151.iii) [id. 151.3.]
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