Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 P 16 (Hodges & Smith 224, 1230) = Leabhar Breac
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Horst, Tom ter, “Codeswitching in the Irish-Latin Leabhar Breac: mediæval homiletic culture”, Utrecht, PhD dissertation: LOT, 2017.
An Leabhar Breac ('The Speckled Book'; c.1410) is a manuscript containing a collection of mostly religious material in both Latin and Irish, now housed in Dublin at the Royal Irish Academy. The present publication explores the make-up of the manuscript, focusing on the question which languages are used where and for which texts, and singling out individual texts which use a combination of languages within the same speech act, a process called codeswitching. Special attention is paid to the genre of the homily, a moral commentary on religious themes. The use of Latin and Irish in such texts can shed light on the intellectual culture of Ireland, an important centre of learning in mediaeval Europe. The Leabhar Breac manuscript is a composite piece of various sources, most of which date to about 1100, though some may be dated as late as 1350. By studying the languages of these texts, one can hypothesise about the languages and dates of their sources, and thus about the availability and level of Latin learning in Irish intellectual society through time. For this purpose it is important to study not only individual texts but also the quires in which they occur. The hierarchy and juxtaposition of texts and languages is an indication of their intended manner of composition, while the level of compositional ability on the part of the author or scribe is a reflection of bilingual education. Such a bilingual education can then be compared to similar circumstances such as Latin-English sermons in England.
LOT – PDF:
McNamara, Martin, “The ‘Leabhar Breac gospel history’ against its Hiberno-Latin background”, in: Guldentops, Guy, Christian Laes, and Gert Partoens (eds), Felici curiositate: studies in Latin literature and textual criticism from antiquity to the twentieth century: in honour of Rita Beyers, Instrumenta patristica et mediaevalia 72, Turnhout: Brepols, 2017. 23–54.
The text known as the ‘Leabhar Breac gospel history’ is a vernacular Irish text, introduced by synchronisms and miraculous events at Christ’s birth, followed by apocryphal Infancy Narratives from the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem over the birth of Jesus, the episode of the Magi, the flight into Egypt and the sojourn there, to the death of Herod and the murder of Zacharias, John’s father. After this come four unpublished texts on the public life of Jesus: the baptism of Christ, the finding of the apostles, the household of Christ, and Christ’s first sermon, ending, in some versions, with an account of the destruction of Jerusalem (‘The Avenging of Christ’s Blood’). This article concentrates on the sources behind these four texts, sources ranging from apocryphal to early and medieval Hiberno-Latin texts, making for a study of the understanding and the transmission of Bible learning in Ireland from the eighth to the thirteenth century - in Latin and vernacular Irish.
Poppe, Erich, “Textual authority and adaptation in ‘Christ’s first preaching’ in the Leabhar Breac”, in: Boyle, Elizabeth, and Deborah Hayden (eds), Authorities and adaptations: the reworking and transmission of textual sources in medieval Ireland, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2014. 159–184.
Follett, Westley, “Religious texts in the Mac Aodhagáin library of Lower Ormond”, Peritia 24–25 (2013–2014): 213–229.
The most prominent Irish legal family of their time, Meic Aodhagáin maintained a celebrated law school in Lower Ormond in northern Co Tipperary. Through the analysis of manuscripts produced by two fifteenth-century scribes who worked among Meic Aodhagáin, this study identifies some of the texts likely to have been kept at the family’s Lower Ormond school. From the resulting list it is evident that Meic Aodhagáin possessed a considerable collection of vernacular religious material, especially homilies and passions, quite apart from law books.
Miles, Brent, “The Sermo ad reges from the Leabhar Breac and Hiberno-Latin tradition”, in: Boyle, Elizabeth, and Deborah Hayden (eds), Authorities and adaptations: the reworking and transmission of textual sources in medieval Ireland, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2014. 141–158.
McLaughlin, Roisin, “A text on almsgiving in RIA MS 3 B 23 and the Leabhar Breac”, Ériu 62 (2012): 113–183.
This paper presents a Latin-Irish text on almsgiving in RIA MS 23 P 16 (1230; the Leabhar Breac) and a previously unpublished Middle-Irish version which is found in RIA MS 3 B 23 (1227). Editions and translations of both texts are provided and the language of the latter text is discussed. Many of the Latin sources in the text are identified, and some general observations are made concerning the compilation and transmission of Latin-Irish texts. In addition, a transcription of the text as found in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Laud 610 is given as an appendix.
Zecher, Patrick J., “Judas, his mother and the cock that lived: three anecdotes from the Leabhar Breac”, in: Bock, Franziska, Dagmar Bronner, and Dagmar Schlüter (eds), Allerlei Keltisches. Studien zu Ehren von Erich Poppe. Studies in honour of Erich Poppe, Berlin: curach bhán, 2011. 97–104.
Harlos, Axel, “Three sheepish episodes from Scél saltrach na rann as contained in the Leabhar Breac”, in: Bock, Franziska, Dagmar Bronner, and Dagmar Schlüter (eds), Allerlei Keltisches. Studien zu Ehren von Erich Poppe. Studies in honour of Erich Poppe, Berlin: curach bhán, 2011. 105–114.
McLaughlin, Roisin, “A Latin-Irish text on fasting in the Leabhar Breac”, Ériu 60 (2010): 37–80.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an edition of a Latin-Irish text on fasting entitled Cétaín in Braith and to examine its structure and sources.
Herbert, Máire, “Medieval collections of ecclesiastical and devotional materials: Leabhar Breac, Liber Flavus Fergusiorum and the Book of Fenagh”, in: Cunningham, Bernadette, Siobhán Fitzpatrick [eds.], and Petra Schnabel [picture ed.], Treasures of the Royal Irish Academy Library, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 2009. 33–43.
Darling, Gregory J., “The Cross legends of the Leabhar Breac: a critical edition, translation, and commentary”, PhD. diss.: City University of New York, 2003.
Haubrichs, Wolfgang, “Die altlateinische Gallicanus-Version (Gall.) der Georgslegende und ihr Reflex im Leabhar Breac”, in: Ní Chatháin, Próinséas, and Michael Richter (eds.), Ireland and Europe in the early Middle Ages: texts and transmissions / Irland und Europa im früheren Mittelalter: Texte und Überlieferung, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002. 170–185.
“Royal Irish Academy”, Ó Macháin, Pádraig (director), Irish Script on Screen (ISOS) – Meamrám Páipéar Ríomhaire, Online: School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. URL: <https://www.isos.dias.ie/libraries/RIA/english/index.html>.
“MS 23 P 16 (An Leabhar Breac)”
Rittmueller, Jean, “The Leabhar Breac Latin and Middle-Irish homily In cena Domini: an edition and source analysis’”, unpubl Ph.D. dissertation: Harvard University Press, 1984.
Kenney, James F., “Chapter VII: Religious literature and ecclesiastical culture”, 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. 622–744.
739 “616. Biblical stories and legends in Leabhar Breac”
739 “617. The passions and the homilies in Leabhar Breac”
Thurneysen, Rudolf, “Allerlei Irisches”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 10 (1915): 421–443.
Internet Archive:Internet Archive – originally from Google Books:
“I. Bec mac Dé”
Best, R. I., “The Lebar Brecc tractate on the canonical hours”, in: Bergin, Osborn, and Carl Marstrander (eds.), Miscellany presented to Kuno Meyer, Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1912. 142–166.
Collection: Internet Archive:,
O'Nowlan, Thomas P., “Imchlód aingel”, in: Bergin, Osborn, and Carl Marstrander (eds.), Miscellany presented to Kuno Meyer, Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1912. 253–257.
Collection: Internet Archive:,
Bernard, J. H., “On the Stowe St. John, and on the citations from scripture in the Leabhar Breac”, Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy 30 (1892–1896): 313–324.
Warren, Frederick E. [ed.], and W. Griggs, The antiphonary of Bangor: an early Irish manuscript in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, 2 vols, Henry Bradshaw Society 4–10, London: Harrison, 1893–1895.
Internet Archive – part II:, Internet Archive – part II (some pages missing, e.g. pp. 5, 13):
Hogan, Edmund [ed.], The Irish Nennius from L. na Huidre and homilies and legends from L. Brecc: alphabetical index of Irish neuter substantives, Todd Lecture Series 6, Dublin, 1895.
Consists of texts and translations of  the Lebor na hUidre fragment of the Lebor Bretnach: The Irish Nennius, LU 1a (p. 1); Senchas na torothor (p. 7); Ambrose and the king of the Britons, LU 2a (10); De chathaigecht Gorthemir (12); and  a selection of homilies from the Leabhar Breac: Instruction on the Sacraments, LB 257 (p.17); Articles of the Creed, LB 256a (p.29); Incipit do scelaib na soscel, 133b (p.38); Do scelaibh na mbuachalla, 136a (p. 52); Incipit do scelaib na ndruad, 137a (p.59); Oided na macraide, 139b (p.74). With preface, index of Irish neuter endings, alphabetical index of Irish neuter nouns, and an index of rare words.
Mac Carthy, Bartholomew [ed. and tr.], The codex Palatino-Vaticanus, no. 830, Todd Lecture Series 3, Dublin, 1892.
Internet Archive:, , Internet Archive – originally from Google Books:
38–71 [Lecture I] “Text. Lebar Brec: Creation of heaven: creation, fall and penance of Adam and Eve”
Meyer, Kuno [ed. and tr.], “Anecdota from Irish MSS: 3. The mothers’ lament at the Slaughter of the Innocents”, Gaelic Journal 4:37 (February, 1891): 89–90.
Text and translation.
Stokes, Whitley, “Mélanges: A parallel”, Revue Celtique 3 (1876–1878): 443–444.
Internet Archive:, , Internet Archive – originally from Google Books:
Stokes, Whitley, Three Middle-Irish homilies on the Lives of saints Patrick, Brigit and Columba, Calcutta, 1877.
CELT – Betha Phatraic (ed.):CELT – Betha Phatraic (tr.): CELT – Betha Brigte (ed.): CELT – Betha Brigte (tr.): CELT – Betha Choluim Chille (ed.): CELT – Betha Choluim Chille (tr.): Internet Archive:
Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], “A Middle-Irish homily on S. Martin of Tours”, Revue Celtique 2 (1873–1875): 381–402, 508.
O'Curry, Eugene, Lectures on the manuscript materials of ancient Irish history, delivered at the Catholic University of Ireland during the sessions of 1855 and 1856, Dublin, 1861.
Internet Archive:, Internet Archive – Originally from Google Books: , , Internet Archive – multiple copies:
181–202 [Lecture IX] “Of the chief existing ancient books”
Results for Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 P 16 (1)
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- Murchadh Ó Cuindlis