A project for our times


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.

Funding for De Finibus from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences concluded at the end of calendar year 2011, and with it our main activities to date. The text of our collection of editions and essays, The End and Beyond: Medieval Irish Eschatology, is now with Celtic Studies Publications, Aberystwyth, Wales; the table of contents can be accessed here. The book can now be pre-ordered at a substantial discount; the order form can be accessed here.

15th century Armenian Bible
Image from a 15th-century Armenian Bible, at the beginning of the Book of Revelation