Book Series Apocryphes , vol. 15

The Ever-New Tongue – In Tenga Bithnúa

The Text in the Book of Lismore

John Carey

  • Pages: xii + 192 p.
  • Size:120 x 190 mm
  • Illustrations:1 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2018

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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57929-0
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57930-6
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The Ever-new Tongue is a medieval Irish account of the mysteries of the universe, remarkable for its exotic sources and for the rich exuberance of its style. This translation, based on the definitive edition of the text, renders this remarkable work available to a wider readership.

BIO

John Carey is Professor of Early and Medieval Irish at University College Cork, Ireland.

Review(s)

“The aim of the series is said "to make apocryphal literature accessible to a broad spectrum of readers", which this volume admirably achieves. ... [O]ne can only wonder, as the assembly in the text wonders at the account of the Ever-New Tongue, both at the extravagancy and richness of the unique Irish text, as well as at the profound and vast knowledge of its translator and editor. It is wonderful that this remarkable and unusual text from medieval Ireland can now find a wider audience” (Elena Parina, Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique, 1-2, 2020, p. 340-342)

Summary

The Ever-new Tongue (In Tenga Bithnúa), composed in Ireland in the ninth or tenth century, purports to reveal the mysteries of the creation, of the cosmos, and of the end of the world, as related by the soul of the apostle Philip speaking in the language of the angels. Drawing on a multitude of sources, both mainstream and heterodox, it reflects the richness of early Irish learning as well as the vitality of its author’s imagination.

The present volume is based on the full critical edition of The Ever-new Tongue, including detailed linguistic analysis and textual notes, which appeared in 2009 in the Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum (CCSA 16). The aim here is to offer to a broader readership a translation of the oldest (and most conservative) version of the text, preserved in the Book of Lismore, together with such other parts, fully updated, of the larger study as may be of interest to non-Celticists.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abbreviations
Bibliography
Introduction
I. Recensions and Manuscripts
II. Synopsis
III. Background and Sources
IV. Theology
'The Ever-new Tongue' (Translation)
Appendix: Dating the Text
Glossary