Friday’s Forgotten Books: Saint Patrick’s Confessio

People ask me what this “digital humanities” business is that I’m supposed to be engaged in for the coming academic year; the answer is long and complicated (but if you bring me a cuppa, I’ll tell it to you). Among the kinds of activities that very big umbrella covers is one of the projects developed here at the Moore Institute: the Confessio of Saint Patrick.

You can look at digital renderings of the eight surviving manuscripts; you can read the text in English, Latin, Gaeilege, Italian, German or Portuguese; you can read a lot of essays that tell you about the context of Patrick’s time, the manuscripts, the world he lived in and get a full bibliography of the sources. All from the comfort of your computer!

This is the sort of thing that shows you why medievalists, despite our reputation as people only to be found in musty libraries among handwritten tomes, tend to be geeks of the first order and interested in the latest technologies (okay, this does not apply to Fred Biggs ;-). The most plenteous text from the Middle Ages, The Prick of Conscience (not as racy as it sounds), boasts just over a hundred copies. Many exist in a single copy (e.g. Beowulf). Digital copies are so helpful!

For more FFB, drop by Patti Abbott’s blog.