Renaissance, Reformation, early Enlightenment and the classical Gaelic Bible (c.1560-c.1720)
This thesis aims to chart the progress of the movement to translate, publish, distribute and make accessible the classical Gaelic Bible, and examine the historical and cultural context in which this movement was made possible. Throughout, the thesis argues that the classical Gaelic Bible should not be seen in isolation from the society it sought to mould and challenge, however isolated the individuals involved in its translation and distribution may seem to have been. It will be argued that it is a distortion to suppose that these individuals did not avail themselves of the opportunities afforded to them. The translators of the new and Old Testaments into Gaelic benefited from the revolutions in church and state that accompanied the Reformation. In a broader sense, they benefited from the European Renaissance and the opportunities to develop a printed literature. Later translators and scholars involved with the later phase of the classical Gaelic Bible movement (c. 1680 to c1720) also availed themselves of the opportunities of their time. The thesis examines the state of Gaelic culture in Scotland during the period in which the Gaelic Old Testament was published for the first time, and the New Testament republished, and in which the Bibles were distributed in Scotland. The classical Gaelic Bible movement in Scotland, it is argued, could be a success only if it was provided with the necessary support. Ecclesiastical and administrative support was necessary but not sufficient conditions for the success of the classical Gaelic Bibles. The thesis explores the vibrancy of Scottish Gaelic culture in the period in which the classical Gaelic Bibles were distributed in Scotland.