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Title: Aspects of nature in early Irish religion : an essay in the phenomenology of religion
Author: Low, M. A. C.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1993
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This study examines beliefs about nature in early Irish religion, comparing and contrasting them with similar beliefs in the Bible. Examples are assembled from a wide range of early Irish literature including place-lore, sagas, eulogies, annals and mythological histories, as well as more specifically ecclesiastical material such as hagiography, apocrypha, liturgy and the works of Patrick. The value of poetry and story-telling (filidecht) as a source for religious ideas is discussed in chapter one. Subsequent chapters focus on particular aspects of nature, grouped under the following headings: a) the land with its mountains and hills, b) wells, rivers, and lochs, c) trees, woods and singing birds, d) poetry of the woods, e) sun and fire, f) bad weather and natural disasters. Biblical parallels are discovered for many early Irish beliefs and practices. This is attributable partly to the conscious introduction of biblical material by medieval Irish scholars, but parallels also appear to have been present before the adoption of Christianity. This is found to be in keeping with the nature of primal religions and their relationship to Christianity as described by H.W. Turner and others. Movements towards synthesis with or rejection of Irish primal traditions are presented in so far as beliefs about nature were affected. One of the main areas of convergence is identified as the belief that nature is a place of theophany. The study focuses mainly on the period between the fifth and the twelfth centuries. Earlier traditions are also assumed to be present, though usually in modified form. Later material has occasionally been included where it seemed relevant.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available