10 publications between 2009 and 2019 indexed
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Works authored

Moran, Pádraic, De origine Scoticae linguae (O’Mulconry’s glossary): an early Irish linguistic tract, edited with a related glossary, Irsan, Lexica Latina Medii Aevi 7, Turnhout: Brepols, 2019.

De origine Scoticae linguae (also known as O’Mulconry’s glossary) is a text originating in seventh-century Ireland that provides etymologies for c. 880 Irish words, mostly drawn from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Its Latin prologue declares its affiliation to the Graeco-Roman linguistic tradition, claiming an origin for the Irish language in the Greek dialects Attic, Doric and Aeolic. The glossary attests to the transmission and reception of the Latin grammatical tradition in Ireland and shines light in particular on the Irish knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. The text also represents a milestone in the history of European linguistics, as the earliest etymological study of a European vernacular language.

The glossary was published once before, by Whitley Stokes in 1898. This new edition provides the first translation and textual commentary, clarifying the sense of difficult entries and discussing sources. The introduction analyses the structure and contents, origins and development, linguistic issues, and relationships to other texts. The text is edited here along with a shorter related glossary of 232 entries, entitled Irsan, which includes shared material and sheds further light on its development.

Moran, Pádraic [digital edition, transcription], and Rijcklof Hofman [transcription], St Gall Priscian glosses, Online: National University of Ireland, Galway. URL: <>.

Works edited

Moran, Pádraic, and Immo Warntjes (eds), Early medieval Ireland and Europe: chronology, contacts, scholarship. A Festschrift for Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Studia Traditionis Theologiae 14, Turnhout: Brepols, 2015.
The pivotal role of Ireland in the development of a decidedly Christian culture in early medieval Europe has long been recognized. Still, Irish scholarship on early medieval Ireland has tended not to look beyond the Irish Sea, while continental scholars try to avoid Hibernica by reference to its special Celtic background. Following the lead of the honorand of this volume, Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, this collection of 27 essays aims at contributing to a reversal of this general trend. By way of introduction to the period, the first section deals with chronological problems faced by modern scholars as well as the controversial issues relating to the reckoning of time discussed by contemporary intellectuals. The following three sections then focus on Ireland’s interaction with its neighbours, namely Ireland in the insular world, continental influences in Ireland, and Irish influences on the Continent. The concluding section is devoted to modern scholarship and the perception of the Middle Ages in modern literature.

Contributions to journals

Moran, Pádraic, “‘A living speech’? The pronunciation of Greek in early medieval Ireland”, Ériu 61 (2011): 29–57.
While the Irish knowledge of Greek in the early Middle Ages has been much debated, the evidence of Irish language texts has been largely ignored. Early Irish glossaries (O'Mulconry's Glossary, Sanas Cormaic, Dúil Dromma Cetta) cite at least 190 Greek words, and this presents an opportunity to study some sources for Greek available in Ireland. This article looks at the evidence of the glossaries for the pronunciation of Greek in particular. In doing so, it aims to clarify the extent to which Greek in Ireland was, in Zimmer's words, 'a living speech'.
Moran, Pádraic, “Hebrew in early Irish glossaries”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 60 (Winter, 2010): 1–22.

Contributions to edited collections or authored works

Moran, Pádraic, “Greek dialectology and the Irish origin story”, in: Moran, Pádraic, and Immo Warntjes (eds), Early medieval Ireland and Europe: chronology, contacts, scholarship. A Festschrift for Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Studia Traditionis Theologiae 14, Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. 481–512.
O’Mulconry’s Glossary (De origine scoticae linguae), an Irish etymological tract dating from around the late 7th or early 8th centuries, makes the striking claim that the Irish language derives from Greek, and specifically from the Attic, Doric, and Aeolic dialects. This article explores the cultural background to this assertion. It first addresses the question of why these dialects are mentioned to the exclusion of Ionic or koine Greek. It then surveys the sources for Greek that were potentially available in the early medieval West, to determine how much if anything the compilers could have known about Greek dialects. Finally, the broader significance of Greek origins is explored, drawing parallels between Irish and Roman origin stories.
Moran, Pádraic, “Greek in early medieval Ireland”, in: Mullen, Alex, and Patrick James (eds.), Multilingualism in the Graeco-Roman worlds, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 172–192.
From the publisher:

This study explores bilingualism in the area of literary education, that is, the formal study of another language using written documents. Its focus is the study of Greek in early medieval Ireland, in the period from the seventh to the ninth century. Though never absorbed into the Roman Empire, by the seventh century Ireland had thoroughly embraced Christian culture, and with it the prerequisite of Latin literacy. In their study of the Latin language, using late antique school books and commentaries, the monastic schools of early medieval Ireland might be regarded to some extent as inheritors of the Graeco-Roman tradition, and in particular the late antique grammatical tradition. It has long been suggested that the Irish interest in classical languages was not limited to Latin (itself a foreign language), but extended also to Greek. Although the means by which such a knowledge may have been acquired has never been clear, this discussion presents new evidence for the study of Greek in Ireland, and explores how late antique manuals of bilingual Greek–Latin instruction were later reused in circumstances far removed from those of their origins.

Knowledge of Greek in the West is generally held to have declined sharply by the end of the fifth century, when the compilatory efforts of Latin writers Boethius, Macrobius and Martianus Capella provided the main points of access to Greek literary culture for subsequent generations. There are plenty of indications, however, that the Greek language maintained a special prestige. It was recognised as the language of the New Testament and featured on the titulus of Christ's cross. Accordingly it was classed among the ‘three sacred languages’ (tres linguae sacrae) during the Middle Ages, along with Latin and Hebrew. Augustine regarded these as ‘pre-eminent languages’, and praised Jerome for his singular attainment in all three. Greek learning was also acknowledged as the foundation of secular scholarship
Moran, Pádraic, “‘Their harmless calling’: Whitley Stokes and the Irish linguistic tradition”, in: Boyle, Elizabeth, and Paul Russell (eds.), The tripartite life of Whitley Stokes (1830-1909), Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011. 175–184.