SSP: What Were Saint Patrick’s Scriptures?

This post is part of an ongoing series on the Scriptures of Saint Patrick of Ireland.

Open BibleScripture has played an important role in the history of the Christian Church, and Patrick’s approach to and treatment of the biblical text accentuates a worldview that prioritizes scripture. This part of my study has focused on the scriptural universe of Patrick, as well as his place in that context. Contextually important are recognitions surrounding the liturgical quality of the early medieval Bible, the lack of single-volume complete Bibles, and the existence of two different Latin Bible translations, the Vetus Latina and Jerome’s Vulgate, which were often mixed in medieval manuscripts.

Amid this setting, Patrick exhibits a remarkably dynamic scriptural consciousness, through which he relies on the biblical text as the source of his structure, arguments, and (ultimately) as the foundation (coordinated with revelatory experiences of God) of his theology. Vital to this process are the Gospels, Pauline Epistles, and Psalter, though Patrick employed and had access to many of the writings in the Christian canon. He also was influenced by the writings of several Church Fathers, most notably Augustine’s Confessions. This understanding of Patrick’s approach to scripture in the Confessio now in hand, we turn next to consideration of the form of Patrick’s Bible.

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