by the care and diligence of Doctor William Bedel

A short PA report in today’s Irish News pointed me to the upcoming Sotheby’s auction of the Wardington Library Bibles[free reg req] which begins on 12 July and, in particular, the lot pictured – “Leabhuir na Seintiomna ar na ttarruing go Gaidhlig tre churam agus dhuthraed an Doctuir Uilliam Bedel…The Books of the Old Testament translated into Irish by the care and diligence of Doctor William Bedel, Late Bishop of Kilmore in Ireland. London, 1685.” Some fascinating detail in the catalogue notes too – see below. Update A short online bio of William Bedell, thanks to Mayoman.From the catalogue:

This version of the Old Testament was published over 40 years after the death of the principal translator William Bedell, Bishop of Kilmore (1571-1642), and 83 years after the first edition of the New Testament in Irish (Dublin, 1602). It was printed anonymously in an edition of about 500 copies, largely at the expense of the Hon. Robert Boyle, who provided the type. He refused to print the Apocrypha, although the translation had been made. Some 80 copies were sent to Scotland for distribution among the Highlanders, but only six of these copies still exist in the parishes to which they were sent.

“Bedell remains a hero of liberal, cosmopolitan protestantism…The monument of his literary heritage is the Irish translation of the Old Testament…[a] great work of missionary linguistics which distinguishes Bedell’s memory in a twenty-first century in which the Irish language has survived – and been revived – as the classic language of a sovereign Irish state” (Oxford DNB).

Robert Boyle was, of course, born at Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, on 25 January 1627, son of the first Earl of Cork, and was one of the founding members of the Royal Society and employer, co-experimenter and friend of Robert Hooke.


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