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Jonas of Bobbio
Life of Columbanus, Life of John of Reome, and Life of Vedast. Translated Texts for Historians 64
Jonas of Bobbio was an Italian monk, author, and abbot, active in Lombard Italy and Merovingian Gaul during the seventh century. He is best known as the author of the Life of Columbanus and His Disciples, one of the most important works of hagiography from the early medieval period, that charts the remarkable journey of the Irish exile and monastic founder, Columbanus (d. 615), through Western Europe, as well as the monastic movement initiated by him and his Frankish successors in the Merovingian kingdoms. In the years following Columbanus's death numerous new monasteries were built by his successors and their elite patrons in Francia that decisively transformed the inter-relationship between monasteries and secular authorities in the Early Middle Ages. Jonas also wrote two other, occasional works set in the late fifth and sixth centuries: the Life of John, the abbot and founder of the monastery of Reome in Burgundy, and the Life of Vedast, the first bishop of Arras and a contemporary of Clovis. Both works provide perspectives on how the past Gallic monastic tradition, the role of bishops, and the Christianization of the Franks were perceived in Jonas's time. Jonas's hagiography also provides important evidence for the reception of classical and late antique texts as well as the works of Gregory the Great and Gregory of Tours.This volume presents the first complete English translation of all of Jonas of Bobbio's saints' Lives with detailed notes and scholarly introduction that will be of value to all those interested in this period.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
This very welcome new translation is also a highly sophisticated scholarly edition. It is particularly rich in bibliography, with an extensive listing of virtually all the secondary literature on Columban and his times.
Terrence Kardong, American Benedictine Review This book is a timely and meaningful contribution to the scholarship on Merovingian Gaul. It is important not only for its accessible translation of a large and difficult corpus of works set against a complicated historical and textual background, but also for its clear synthesis of current scholarship. Finally, it elegantly succeeds in navigating the "Irish" vs. "Frankish" controversy, which seems to have reawakened of late.
Yaniv Fox, Speculum There is a richness to the material which O'Hara and Wood
have done us a great service in making more accessible.
Jamie Kreiner, The Medieval Review