I will be taking part in another All the Saints of Ireland show on Radio Maria Ireland at 7pm on Friday, March 10. Saints featured will include Saint David of Wales and his links with Ireland plus Saint Ciarán of Saighir and his mother Saint Liadhain. We will also meet Saint Brunsecha, Saint Modomnoc, Saint Maedoc of Ferns and Saint Colman the Thirsty along the way! I will look at the Irish tradition of the Three Lents too. So join host Thomas Murphy and myself for an exploration of the rich heritage of our Irish saints. For details of how to listen to the programme see: https://www.radiomaria.ie/how-to-listen/
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I listened earlier with pleasure; thank you. It occurs to me-- you were discussing Saint Oengus perhaps (I have a hard time keeping up sometimes, so much entirely new information!) or someone doing hagiography and pointed out that such people are not interested in history in the same way a good secular historian is: they are doing theology as much as writing down facts and figures. Next Friday!
Thanks very much for tuning in Marc, yes, hagiography is a genre all of its own and is neither history nor biography as we know it. When I first started to read the medieval Lives of the Saints I often struggled with how odd they seemed and how the saints indulged in what often seemed like distinctly un-saintly behaviour. It wasn't until I read academic studies of hagiography that I started to appreciate it. Thomas was asking about how St Ciaran of Saighir, who is supposedly born sometime in the late 4th century could have been a student of Finnian of Clonard who was active in the 6th. But if you accept that the hagiographer is only interested in promoting Ciaran's sanctity then you can see that all the problems with the chronology aren't what really concerns him. He wants to have his cake and eat it by both talking up Ciaran's credentials as a very early saint whilst at the same time associating him with the famous tutor of the saints at Clonard, whose death is c.552. Victorian writers who didn't have a modern understanding of hagiography tied themselves up in all sorts of knots trying to reconcile this sort of problem, but you really can't. Hoping to talk about the relics of St Patrick next time!
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