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St Brendan: The Man And The Manuscripts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers what can be deduced concerning the authors of the Latin Navigatio Sancti Brendani abbatis (hereinafter referred to as the Navigatio) and the Anglo-Norman Voyage of St Brendan (A.N. Voyage) based on the textual evidence and the manuscript traditions. It also considers what can be determined about the possible audiences of both versions, based on the approximate date of composition and the form and genre of each of the narratives. The second half of the chapter addresses the evidence concerning the ‘historical’ details from the legendary life of Brendan. This is based on the information provided in the early Irish annals and the hagiography presented in the seven different versions of the Latin and Irish lives of St Brendan, the Vita Brendani and the Betha Brénnain. The parallels with the synoptic gospels on the events surrounding Brendan's birth are no doubt an embellishment illustrating his piety.

Keywords:Anglo-Norman voyage (A.N. voyage); manuscript traditions; St Brendan



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