Texts

Vita sanctae Brigitae

Cogitosus
  • Hiberno-Latin
  • prose
  • Irish hagiography
Early Latin Life of St Brigit, possibly the earliest of its kind to survive. BHL 1457.
Initial words (prose)
  • Cogitis me, fratres, ut sanctae et beatae memoriae Brigidae
Author
CogitosusCogitosus
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.
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Ascribed to: CogitosusCogitosus
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.
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Manuscripts

The text is transmitted in numerous manuscripts outside of Ireland, many of which are hagiographic collections. These include:(2)n. 2 Mario Esposito, ‘On the earliest Latin life of St. Brigid of Kildare’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 30 C (1912–1913).

  • Angers, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 123
     
    Extracts.
  • Angers, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 807
    ff. 6b–15a
  • Auxerre, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 27
    ff. 1–5b
  • Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, MS lat. 123
    ff. 86a–91a
  • Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, MS lat. 791
    ff. 73a–85a
  • Brussels, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, MS II 1181
    ff. 81a–87b
     
    (=Phillips 12461). The prologue is wanting.
  • Brussels, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, MS II 2568
    ff. 48b–59a
  • Cambridge, Trinity College, MS 316
    ff. 207b–211b
  • Douai, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 840
    ff. 85b–89b
  • Lilienfeld, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 58
    ff. 108b–112b context: Magnum Legendarium Austriacum
  • London, British Library, MS Cotton Nero E i vol. 1, ff. 3-208 [s. xi2 / s. xii2/4]
    ff. 134vb–140rb context: Cotton Corpus legendary
  • Melk, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 388 [s. xiii]
    ff. 212b–217b
  • Metz, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 523
    ff. 194–205
  • Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS viii B 3
    ff. 379a–388b
  • Nivelles, Bibliothèque d'Alphonse Wins, MS 4
    ff. 25r*–26r*
     
    Fragment
  • Orléans, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 331
    pp. 266–278
  • Salisbury, Cathedral Library, MS 221 [s. xi/xii]
    ff. 108a–116b
     
    Olim Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Fell 4 (previously Fell 3).
  • Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, MS 1711
    ff. 237b–247b
  • Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, MS 1736
    ff. 54a–55a
     
    Excerpts.
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 2999
    ff. 36r*–40v
     
    Breaks off due to damage done to the manuscript.
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 3788
    ff. 130b–132b
     
    Incomplete
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 3800 A
    ff. 31a–34a
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 5269
    ff. 98b–105b
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 5278
    f. 54a
     
    Fragment
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 5292
    ff. 222a–223b
     
    Fragment
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 5318
    ff. 166a–169b
    • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 5352
      ff. 1a–5b
       
      Apparently a copy of BNF lat. 5318
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 10862
    ff. 1a–24a
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 12612
    ff. 205b–215a
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 16732
    ff. 1a–5a
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 17004
    ff. 2a–6a
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 18308
    ff. 18b–28a
  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 791
    ff. 121a–123a
     
    Fragments.
  • Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, MS 153
    ff. 233b–238a
  • Paris, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, MS 553
    ff. 205a–208b
  • Reims, Bibliothèque publique, MS 296
    ff. 101a–113a
     
    E 381
  • Reims, Bibliothèque publique, MS 1410
    ff. 70b–76b
     
    K 786
  • Reims, Bibliothèque publique, MS 1411
    ff. 44b–51b
     
    K 792
  • Rome, Biblioteca Universitaria Alessandrina, MS 91
    ff. 490a–501a
  • Rome, Biblioteca Corsiniana, MS 777
    ff. 40a–51a
  • Rome, Biblioteca Vallicelliana, MS Tomus xxi
    ff. 203a–207b
  • Rome, Biblioteca Vallicelliana, MS H 25
    ff. 43a–50b
  • Rome, Biblioteca Vallicelliana, MS H 28
    ff. 177a–180a
  • Rouen, Bibliothèque Publique, MS 1384
    ff. 230b–240b
     
    U. 26
  • Rouen, Bibliothèque Publique, MS 1401
    ff. 145b–152b
     
    U. 19
  • Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 513
    ff. 29b–35a
     
    471a
  • Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. lat. 6075
    ff. 67a–71a
  • Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. lat. 9499
    ff. 204a–204b
  • Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Ottob. lat. 223
    ff. 280b–281a
  • Zwettl, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 13
  • A manuscript from Saint-Hubert (presumed lost), used by John Colgan for his edition in Trias thaumaturga
Language
  • Hiberno-Latin
Date
c. 675 or earlier (?); “not much later than 650” (Connolly).(1)n. 1 Seán Connolly • Jean-Michel Picard, ‘Cogitosus’ Life of St Brigit: content and value’, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 117 (1987): 5.
Form
prose (primary)

Classification

Irish hagiography

Subjects

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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Sources

Notes

Seán Connolly • Jean-Michel Picard, ‘Cogitosus’ Life of St Brigit: content and value’, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 117 (1987): 5.
Mario Esposito, ‘On the earliest Latin life of St. Brigid of Kildare’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 30 C (1912–1913).

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.  
abstract:
This thesis shall provide a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the two oldest Lives of saint Brigid of Kildare, the “Life by Cogitosus” and the so-called “Vita prima”. It will also illustrate the most important findings concerning the intentions of the presumed authors in writing these Lives. Dating of the Life by Cogitosus to the third quarter of the 7th century appears to be appropriate based on the reference that Muirchú makes to Cogitosus and his work. Cogitosus was likely an intellectual member within Kildare’s monastic society and he would have been able to write. His political aim in creating a Life of saint Brigid and establishing her as one of the main saints was to strengthen both the influence and power of the monastic centre and its parochia. The Life contains accounts of miracles describing the beauty and greatness of the church of Kildare, the sepulture of Brigid and her bishop Conleth, and the wonders that supposedly took place after Brigid’s death. This would inspire believers from across Ireland to make pilgrimages to Kildare. The reason for establishing the Life may have been the competition between the two main churches of Ireland during the 7th century, Kildare and Armagh. Both of them wanted to spread their power and their parochia. There is no proof of a direct relationship between Cogitosus and the Uí Dúnlainge, the ruling dynasty of Leinster at that time. But it is clear that the expansion of the sphere of control of Kildare was on behalf of the governance of Leinster. There are compositional and structural aspects which support McCone’s theory that the Vita prima came after the Life by Cogitosus, in the middle of the 8th century. This is because passages from the Life by Cogitosus can be found at the end of Vita prima and because of the friendly relationship between Patrick and Brigid, the two main saints of Armagh and Kildare. Despite the efforts of Vita prima’s author to create a thorough account of Brigid’s travels, there can be found inconsistencies throughout this Life. The author also neglected Kildare, and emphasized Brigid as a nomad saint; he intended to establish a national saint in Brigid by compiling miraculous stories in order to illustrate her nationwide political-ecclesiastic influence.
(source: Abstract)
E-theses Universität Wien: <link>
Edition, with translation into German, introduction and commentary
[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.
135–141 ‘Vita II S. Brigidae’, reprinted in PL 72, cols 775-790
[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.  
comments: The title page reads in full (normalised spellng): Triadis Thaumaturgæ, seu divorum Patricii, Columbæ, et Brigidæ, trium veteris et majoris Scotiæ, seu Hiberniæ, Sanctorum insulæ, communium patronorum acta, a variis, iisque pervetustis ac Sanctis, authoribus Scripta, ac studio R.P.F. Joannis Colgani, in conventu F.F. Minor. Hibernor, Stritior, Observ., Lovanii, S. Theologiæ Lectoris Jubilati, ex variis bibliothecis collecta, scholiis et commentariis illustrata, et pluribus appendicibus aucta; complectitur tomus secundus sacrarum ejusdem insulæ antiquitatum, nunc primum in lucem prodiens.
Digital.onb.ac.at: <link> Google Books: <link>, <link>
518–526
[ed.] Canisius, Hendricus, Antiquae lectionis, 6 vols, vol. 5: Bipartitus: in quo L. vetera monumenta, nunquam visa, Pauculis exceptis, Ingoldstadt, 1604.
623–641 (part 2) First printed edition.
[tr.] Connolly, Seán, and J.-M. Picard, “Cogitosus’ Life of St Brigit: content and value”, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 117 (1987): 5–27.  
comments: Introduction (Connolly) and English translation (Connolly and Picard, pp. 11–27).
11–27 Translation
[tr.] de Paor, Liam [tr.], Saint Patrick's world: the Christian culture of Ireland's apostolic age, Blackrock: Four Courts Press, 1993.
207–224 (translation), 307–308 (notes) Translation based on Canisius' text (PL), compared with Colgan's edition.

Secondary sources (select)

Connolly, Seán, and J.-M. Picard, “Cogitosus’ Life of St Brigit: content and value”, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 117 (1987): 5–27.  
comments: Introduction (Connolly) and English translation (Connolly and Picard, pp. 11–27).
Kenney, James F., “Chapter V: The monastic churches: II. The churches of the sixth to ninth centuries; general treatises”, 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. 372–485.
359–360 [id. 147.]
Bray, Dorothy Ann, “Ireland's other Apostle: Cogitosus' St Brigit”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 59 (Summer, 2010): 55–70.
Esposito, Mario, “On the earliest Latin life of St. Brigid of Kildare”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 30 C (1912–1913): 307–326.  
comments: March 1912
Internet Archive: <link>
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.
Argues that Cogitosus’s Life depends on the Vita prima, which itself depends on a lost Latin Life of the saint.
Contributors
C. A.,Dennis Groenewegen
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