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Scél Saltrach na Rann in Leabhar Breac: An Edition, Translation and Analysis

Do-bertair a draíde co Forann íar faicsin dó na flesci buí i lláim Moyse 7 do-gníat tria brechtrad druad nathracha fota fír-dathacha do fleisc álaind ḟin-dargait fo daiġ co-marbtis Moyse

(‘After he saw the rod which was in Moses’ hand, Pharaoh’s druids were brought to him, and they turned their splendid white-silver rods, through druidic spells, in a blaze into long white serpents so that they might kill Moses.’)

The words above are quoted from Scél Saltrach na Rann, a prose version of the skillfully crafted series of poems Saltair na Rann which paraphrases the old and new testament and is believed to have been composed in the 10th century. The prose version of Saltair na Rann is preserved in manuscripts dating mainly from the 14th and 15th centuries. Among these manuscripts is Leabhar Breac, where the prose rendering is subdivided into two sections. Beginning with the story of Jacob, the second section is furthermore transmitted in five additional manuscripts. Of special interest in this regard is the text in Leabhar Breac, as it, with regard to content and linguistic ornamentation, seems to represent the most evolved stage within the textual development, using much extra biblical and exegetical information.
The goal of this thesis is to provide an edition as well as a translation of the second part of Scél Saltrach na Rann, and in a further step to produce a linguistic and textual analysis of the text in order to draw possible parallels with broader medieval theological traditions as well as with medieval Irish popular believe.


  • "Three Sheepish Episodes from Scél Saltrach na Rann as Contained in Leabhar Breac", in: Allerlei Keltisches: Studien zu Ehren von Erich Poppe - Studies in Honour of Erich Poppe, Berlin: Curach Bhán Publications 2011, pp. 105–114.

  • Together With Erich Poppe and Paul Widmer: "Decoding Middle Welsh Clauses or "Avoid Ambiguity"", in: Indogermanische Forschungen 119 (2014), pp. 125–148.

  • "Abraham: Referenz und Autorität für die Mittelalterliche Irische Identitätsfindung im 'Lebor Gabála Érenn'", in: Abrahams Erbe. Konkurrenz, Konflikt, Koexistenz der Religionen im Europäischen Mittelalter, Berlin et al.: De Gruyter 2015, pp. 170–183.

  • "Decoding Middle Welsh Relative Clauses", Journal of Celtic Linguistics, (forthc.).

  • "The influence of animacy and accessibility on Middle Welsh positive declarative main clauses – Evidence from historiographical texts", in: Referential Properties and Their Impact on the Syntax of Insular Celtic Languages, Münster: Nodus (forthc.).


  • Together with Neele Harlos: Adapting Texts and Styles in a Celtic Context. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Processes of Literary Transfer in the Middle Ages. Studies in Honour of Erich Poppe. Münster: Nodus 2016.


  • "To Hell and Back - Dead Souls in Scél Saltrach na Rann," at the 14th international Congress of Celtic Studies, Maynooth 2011.

  • "Schönheit und Wunder oder Tod und Teufelswerk? - Schnee in den Mittelalterlichen Quellen Irlands," at the Keltologisches Kolloquium, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelmsuniversität Bonn, February 14th 2012.

  • Together with Patrick J. Zecher: "Scél Saltrach na Rann and Do Fhádbail na Croiche  – Two perspectives on Jews and Hebrews in Leabhar Breac," at the 1. International Celtic Studies Postgraduate Seminar 2012, Philipps-Universität Marburg, August 18th 2012.

  • Miui a af ymdeith, a thitheu a drigye yna – Syntactic and pragmatic functions of Middle Welsh pronouns, at the First European Symposium in Celtic Studies, Trier, August 9th 2013.

  • "Abraham: Referenz und Autorität für die Mittelalterliche Irische Identitätsfindung," at the 15. Symposium des Mediävistenverbands: Abrahams Erbe. Konkurrenz, Konflikt, Koexistenz im Mittelalter, Heidelberg, March 5th 2013.

  • "Style and conventions in the prose version of Saltair na RannfromLeabhar Breac," at Symposium  Adapting Texts and Styles in a Celtic Context: Interdisciplinary. Perspectives on Processes of Literary Transfer, Marburg July 25th 2014.

  • "Decoding Middle Welsh Relative Clauses," at the Welsh Syntax Workshop, Leiden September 19th 2014.

  • "Who did it? Identifying Arguments in Middle Welsh Historiographical Texts," at the 15th International Congress of Celtic Studies, July 14th 2015.

  • "Saltair na Rann and its Prose Version in the Leabhar Breac," at the Eleanor Knott Memorial Conference/Comhdháil Chuimhneacháin Eleanor Knott, April 28th 2016.


  • Gregory Toner,  Bruiden da Choca (Irish Texts Society 61), London: Irish Texts Society 2007, in: ZCP 60 (2013), pp. 340–344.

Project Organisation


Zuletzt aktualisiert: 09.01.2017 · harlosa

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