Jacqueline (H. J.)
From the publisher: If looks could kill... They can, according to medieval Irish texts - our richest literary inheritance in a Celtic language. The belief in evil, angry or envious eyes casting harmful glances that destroy their target is widespread. This is the first comprehensive study of 'the evil eye' in medieval Ireland. We follow the trail from Balor the fearsome one-eyed giant and other evil-eyed kings to saints casting the evil eye, and many others. This study surveys a fascinating body of Irish literature and also examines the evidence for belief in the evil eye in the daily life of medieval Ireland, where people tried to protect themselves against this purported harm by legislation, rituals, verbal precautions and remedies. Related mythological imagery is tracked down and a lost tale about a doomed king who follows a sinister-eyed woman into the Otherworld is reconstructed on the basis of surviving fragments. The edition and translation of a medieval Irish legal text by Fergus Kelly and two sagas in English translation conclude the volume.
This book deals with the theme of 'encounters with monsters' in early Irish texts. Three texts dealing with this theme are central to this study: the Old Irish Adventure of Fergus mac Leite, the Hiberno-Latin Life of St Columba by Adomnan, and the Old Irish Letter of Jesus. The author's investigation of the theme follows two lines. The first main line is the question of how aspects of the process of Christianization were reflected in early Irish literary texts. The second main line focusses on the development of ideas about evil in these textes. These two lines of investigations generated two approaches: firstly, a study into the origin of the descriptions of the monsters and, secondly, an analysis - by means of a hypothesis - of the ideas found in these three texts on this time. The broad scope of the process of Christianization is narrowed down to an investigation of the origin of the monsters and non-canonical scripture, encyclopedic Latin works such as Pliny's Naturalis Historia and Isidore's Etymologiae, related Latin and Old English material, Hiberno-Latin, and Old and Middle Irish texts. The author made this comparison in order to ascertain whether these descriptions were derived from sources and to classify the monsters according to three categories: "native", "imported", or "integrated". The author did this to determine if and how Christian idead influenced the symbolisation of evil in the form of monsters. In order to analyse the ideas about evil, the author distinguishes between two forms of evil: firstly, non-moral evil - evil that occurs without anyone inflicting it intentionally uppn the victims, and secondly, moral evil - evil done intentionally. According to the author's hypothesis, the monsters are said to belong originally to the realm of non-moral evil but, under the influence of Christianity, they also begin to personify moral evil. [...]
Contributions to journals
What makes the Celts so popular today? Anton van Hamel and Joep Leerssen published on the popularity of imagery connected with pre-Christian Celts, Van Hamel seeing the holistic worldview and Leerssen mysteriousness as appealing characteristics. They explain waves of ‘Celtic revival’ that washed over Europe as reaction and romanticising movements that search for alternatives from contemporaneous dominant culture. Each period has produced its modernized versions of the Celtic past. Besides periodical heightened interest in things Celtic, Van Hamel saw a permanent basis of attraction in Celtic texts, which accommodate ‘primitive’ and romantic mentalities. This article also analyses Celtic Christianity (through The Celtic Way by Ian Bradley and The Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther de Waal) on the use of Celtic texts and imagery of Celtic culture. Two case studies are done (on the use of the Old-Irish Deer’s Cry and the description of a nineteenth-century Scottish ritual). Both the current search for ‘spirituality’ and the last wave of ‘Celtic revival’ seem to have sprung from a reaction movement that criticizes dominant religion/culture and seek inspiration and precursors in an idealized past. The roots of this romantic search for a lost paradise are, however, also present in medieval Irish literature itself. Elements such as aesthetics, imaginative worlds and the posited lost beauty of pre-industrial nature and traditional society are keys in explaining the bridges among the gap between ‘us’ and the Celts. The realization that Celtic languages are endangered or dead heightens the feeling of loss because they are the primary gates towards this lost way of (thinking about) life.
Borsje, Jacqueline, “[Review of: Stacey, Robin Chapman, Dark speech: the performance of law in early Ireland, The Middle Ages Series, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007]”, Celtic Studies Association of North America Newsletter 26:2 (2009): 8–11.
UvA Digital Academic Repository – PDF:
The episode about Úath mac Imomain from Fled Bricrenn, ‘The feast of Bricriu’, occurs only in Lebor na hUidre (s. xi/xii), on a leaf inserted by scribe H (also known as ‘the interpolator’). Edgar Slotkin concluded that H invented this episode himself and offers an impressive theory on why H may have done so. This is a fresh study of the relevant texts and a refinement of Slotkin’s theory. H inserted the episode, but drew on older traditions, possibly from manuscripts now lost. Moreover, Úath mac 10 Imomain is shown to be part of a larger literary context. The medieval Irish tale type called úatha (tales of terror) and the form and function of supernatural beings called úatha ‘terrors’ are discussed.
The present study presents a lexical approach to the concept of fate in early Irish literature.
Borsje, Jacqueline, “Abstract: The movement of water as symbolised by monsters in early Irish texts”, in: Black, Ronald, William Gillies, and Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh (eds.), Celtic connections: proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Celtic Studies, vol. 1, East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 1999. 497–498.
Borsje, Jacqueline, “[Review of: Edel, Doris, W. P. Gerritsen, and Kees Veelenturf (eds.), Monniken, ridders en zeevaarders: opstellen over vroeg-middeleeuwse Ierse cultuur en Middelnederlandse letterkunde; aangeboden aan Maartje Draak; met een bibliografie van haar publikaties alsmede een autobiografische bijdrage, Amsterdam: Gerard Timmer Prods, 1988] [part 2]”, Mediaevistik. Internationale Zeitschrift für Interdisziplinäre Mittelalterforschung 4 (1991): 417–419.
Borsje, Jacqueline, “[Review of: Edel, Doris, W. P. Gerritsen, and Kees Veelenturf (eds.), Monniken, ridders en zeevaarders: opstellen over vroeg-middeleeuwse Ierse cultuur en Middelnederlandse letterkunde; aangeboden aan Maartje Draak; met een bibliografie van haar publikaties alsmede een autobiografische bijdrage, Amsterdam: Gerard Timmer Prods, 1988] [part 1]”, Mediaevistik. Internationale Zeitschrift für Interdisziplinäre Mittelalterforschung 3 (1990): 337–339.
Borsje, Jacqueline, “The power of words: sacred and forbidden love magic in medieval Ireland”, in: Berlis, Angela, Anna-Marie J. A. C. M. Korte, and Kune Biezeveld (eds), Everyday life and the sacred: Re/configuring gender studies in religion, Studies in Theology and Religion 23, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2017. 218–248.
The encounter between the old and new religious functionaries in conversion tales of Ireland often takes the form of confrontations between druids and saints. The religion of the saints is clearly Christianity; the religion of the druids remains vague, but is usually referred to as ‘magic’. Modern scholarship sees itself challenged by a double task. Not only do we know thanks to the nativist-revisionist debate that we cannot take descriptions of pre-Christian Irish religion at face value but we are also aware of the idea of a dichotomy between magic and religion that has dominated scholarship for centuries, but which has its roots in ideology. This paper will address the question of how we could work with these often-biased descriptions of Celtic religion. First, reflection upon methodologies used in analysing religious phenomena in medieval Irish texts will be offered. Then case studies will be presented, taking as a starting point the theory suggested by W.M. Lindsay and Michael Herren: some forms of verbal power generally known as loricae were perhaps forms of verbal defense that missionaries in the Celtic lands used against verbal attacks in the form of spells by the religious functionaries that they encountered. Can we find out anything about the form and content of these native formulae?
Borsje, Jacqueline, “Digitizing Irish and Dutch charms”, in: Mikhailova, Tatyana, Jonathan Roper, Andrey Toporkov, and Dmitry S. Nikolayev (eds.), Oral charms in structural and comparative light. Proceedings of the Conference of the ISFNR Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming 27-29th October 2011 Moscow, Moscow: PROBEL-2000, 2011. 128–137.
Verbalcharms.ru – eprint (PDF):
Borsje, Jacqueline, “Supernatural threats to kings: exploration of a motif in the Ulster cycle and in other medieval Irish tales”, in: Ó hUiginn, Ruairí, and Brian Ó Catháin (eds.), Ulidia 2: proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, Maynooth 24-27 July 2005, Maynooth: An Sagart, 2009. 173–194.
UvA Digital Academic Repository:
Borsje, Jacqueline, “Monotheistic to a certain extent. The ‘good neighbours’ of God in Ireland”, in: Korte, Anne-Marie, and Maaike de Haardt (eds.), The boundaries of monotheism: interdisciplinary explorations into the foundations of western monotheism, Studies in Theology and Religion 13, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009. 53–82.
UvA Digital Academic Repository:
Borsje, Jacqueline, “Úath mac Imomain und andere Schreckgespenster — Phantasievolle Kreationen oder traditionelle Elemente des irischen mittelalterlichen Erbes”, in: Birkhan, Helmut [ed.], Kelten-Einfälle an der Donau. Akten des Vierten Symposiums deutschsprachiger Keltologinnen und Keltologen ... Linz/Donau, 17.-21. Juli 2005, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Denkschriften 345, Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2007. 51–65.
Borsje, Jacqueline, “The ‘terror of the night’ and the Morrígain: shifting faces of the supernatural”, in: Ó Flaithearta, Mícheál [ed.], Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium of Societas Celtologica Nordica, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Studia Celtica Upsaliensia 6, Uppsala: University of Uppsala, 2007. 71–98.
Dare.uva.nl – eread:
Borsje, Jacqueline, “Über die Identität von Nár Túathcháech aus der verlorengegangenen Erzählung Echtrae Chrimthainn Nia Náir”, in: Poppe, Erich [ed.], Keltologie heute: Themen und Fragestellungen. Akten des 3. Deutschen Keltologensymposiums, Marburg, März 2001, Studien und Texte zur Keltologie 6, Münster: Nodus, 2004. 169–193.
Igitur – PDF:
Borsje, Jacqueline, “De goede buren van God: verschillende vormen van inculturatie van het volk van de elfenheuvels in het middeleeuwse Ierse christendom”, in: Burg, Cors van der, Jerry Gort, Reender Kranenborg, Lourens Minnema, and Henk Vroom (eds.), Veelkleurig christendom. Contextualisatie in Noord, Zuid, Oost en West, Religieus Pluralisme en Multiculturaliteit 3, Zoetermeer: Meinema, 2003. 197–210.
Igitur – PDF:
Borsje, Jacqueline, “Het ‘boze oog’ in middeleeuwse Ierse wetteksten”, in: Genee, Inge, Bart Jaski, and Bernadette Smelik (eds.), Arthur, Brigit, Conn, Deirdre... Verhaal, taal en recht in de Keltische wereld. Liber amicorum voor Leni van Strien-Gerritsen, Nijmegen: Stichting Uitgeverij de Keltische Draak, 2003. 38–50.