Two Lives of Saint Brigid


Philip Freeman

Regular price $23.00

Four Courts Press, 2024
Paperback,192 pages

St Brigid is the earliest and best-known of the female saints of Ireland. In the generation after St Patrick, she established a monastery for men and women at Kildare which became one of the most powerful and influential centres of the Church in early Ireland.

The stories of Brigid’s life and deeds survive in several early sources, but the most important are two Latin Lives written a century or more after her death. The first was composed by a churchman named Cogitosus and tells of her many miracles of healing and helping the poor. The second source, known as the Vita Prima, continues the tradition with more tales of marvellous deeds and journeys throughout the island. Both Latin sources are a treasure house of information not just about the legends of Brigid but also about daily life, the role of women, and the spread of Christianity in Ireland.

This book for the first time presents together an English translation of both the Life of Brigid by Cogitosus and the Vita Prima, along with the Latin text of both, carefully edited from the best medieval manuscripts. With an Introduction by Professor Freeman, this book makes these fascinating stories of St Brigid accessible to general readers, students and scholars.

Philip Freeman received his PhD in Classics and Celtic Languages from Harvard University in 1994. He has written extensively on Christianity in early medieval Ireland, as well as the Roman world in late antiquity. He currently serves as Fletcher Jones Professor of Humanities at Pepperdine University in California