De Finibus: Christian Representations of the Afterlife in Medieval Ireland
What awaits us beyond the grave is perhaps the fundamental human mystery. Visionary accounts of the afterlife are attested long before the Common Era, and loomed large in the imaginative universe of early Christianity. The medieval Irish inherited and further transformed this tradition, producing vivid eschatological narratives which had a profound impact throughout Europe as well as being texts of remarkable literary and spiritual power in their own right.The De Finibus project will undertake to create a centre for the coordinated study of this fascinating and seminal corpus, drawing on the expertise of senior scholars within and beyond UCC, and also providing support and training for younger scholars at the postgraduate and postdoctoral levels. The project will produce editions and analyses of several key texts in the genre, and its members will collaborate in the study of the background, development and reception of the corpus as a whole. The results of this work will be disseminated in the first instance via the editions themselves, supplemented by articles in refereed journals. A sourcebook presenting several of the main texts in translation is also planned.
The End and Beyond: Medieval Irish Eschatology, a two-volume collection of 42 edited texts and essays produced by 13 contributors, was launched at UCC on 8 December 2014. Edited by John Carey, Emma Nic Cárthaigh and Caitríona Ó Dochartaigh, this is the culmination of the IRC-funded project De Finibus: Christian Representations of the Afterlife in Medieval Ireland, based in the Department of Early and Medieval Irish, which ran from 2008 to 2011. To mark the occasion John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at the Yale Divinity School, delivered a public lecture on ‘The Ethical Dilemmas of Apocalyptic Millenarianism’.
The End and Beyond is now available to buy online from the publisher, Oxbow Books at www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/the-end-and-beyond.html.