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Adomnán's Life of Columba
Adomnán of Iona
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Adomnán's Life of Columba

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  128 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Founding father of the famous monastery on the island of Iona, a site of pilgrimage ever since his death in 597, St Columba was born into one of the ruling families in Ireland at a time of immense expansion for the Irish Church. This account of his life, written by Adomnan the ninth abbot of Iona, and a distant relative of St Columba describes his travels from Ireland to S ...more
Unknown Binding, 552 pages
Published January 1st 1990 by Clarendon Press (first published January 1st 1961)
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Where is the real Columba beneath the avalanche of prophecy, miracles, visions, and horns of light? I hope he's best glimpsed in the passage where he protects a heron, a pilgrim, like Columba himself and all of us, from across the sea.
Sep 22, 2014 7jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This is a very easy to read biography of this saints prophecies, miracles, angelic visitations and his life told there in between. It could also easily be seen as part of the history of Ireland and Western Scotland with its island - this story focuses the most on the life in the island of Iona, where the saint spent most of his life, traveling from there occasionally to other islands, parts of Scotland and back to Ireland.

Included are some good maps, and the notes are very informative; I loved p
Ben Dutton
Oct 27, 2008 Ben Dutton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The life of St. Columba, as detailed by Adomnan of Iona in his Vita Columbae (c.700AD) is vital source of information about life in the sixth century, and of religious belief in that century. The Vita Columbae contains the first reference to King Arthur, details of the Loch Ness monster, and the battles between those of Christian faith, and the Picts and their pagan beliefs. It is also a book espousing Christian rhetoric, propaganda and information. Beneath that surface, however, is a book of gr ...more
Peter B.
Aug 10, 2013 Peter B. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The introduction (which is as long as the "Life" itself) was very helpful and informative. The "Life of St. Columba" was interesting. It is not as much a history as Bede's "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" is, but more a hagiography telling incidents, mostly miraculous (e.g. prophesies, miracles, and angelic appearances), in Columba's life. There are some interesting finds amid the stories (like the marriage advice given in II.41, Columba's travels, the Loch Ness monster, confrontat ...more
This is deep into The Age of Saints: a remote, harsh, sparsely populated world. The life, as told by Adomnán, is about what I expected, so I got a sense that the author imitated other lives of saints, rather than solely writing about St. Columba. If this book interests you, it's probably for the early look into Scotland and Ireland, and here you won't be disappointed: this version is rich in color from its introduction and endnotes.
Dec 06, 2008 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Irish
A simple and Irishized story of sainthood. This is the Gospel rendered into the language and ideas of martial and sea-faring Ireland. It's a bit preposterous but there is plenty of Biblical parallels to keep a Christian author going. It's mythology and it's sainthood.
May 29, 2009 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An early hagiography of the Irish saint of the early Middle Ages. Concentrates on his miracles and prophecies.
Alexander Rolfe
Jan 27, 2008 Alexander Rolfe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating contrast to the hagiography of monks in the east.
Jul 02, 2007 Katharyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college
Read for HISTAM 276: Celtic Civilizations
Jan 30, 2008 Dylan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most people
St. Columba is an incredible man
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Adomnán or Adamnán of Iona (c. 624 – 704), also known as Eunan (from Irish Naomh Adhamhnán), was an abbot of Iona Abbey (r. 679–704), hagiographer, statesman, canon jurist, and saint. He was the author of the most important book on the life of his cousin St Columba and the promulgator of the Law of Adomnán or "Law of Innocents" (Latin: Lex Innocentium).
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