Dublin: Royal Irish Academy/ Hodges, Figgis & Co. Ltd., 1913. Limited first edition. Hardcover. 1/400. (ccxc)  503pp. Rebacked in brown buckram boards, retaining original covers and spine, with elaborate blind-stamped Celtic knot motifs on the covers. Spine re-backed with dark blue cloth, and original brown spine pasted on. Copy # 163 from a limited edition of 400 copies, numbered on the colophon. A rigorous and comprehensive academic study of the 9th-century Irish illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Armagh, edited and compiled by noted Christian scholar and divinity professor John Gwynn (1827-1917). This publication took many years to complete and was the culmination of the ultimate goal originally set out by noted Irish scholar and antiquary Bishop William Reeves (1815-1892), who had initiated the work many years prior, and collected a plethora of historical materials related to the manuscript.
The work, primarily written in Latin, which is held in the Library of Trinity College Dublin (MS 52), is an invaluable resource for the study of the early Christian history of Ireland, containing texts on the life of Saint Patrick, some of the oldest surviving written examples of Old Irish, and for including among the earliest complete copies of the New Testament in Ireland. The first extended section of the text here (paginated in roman numerals) analyzes every conceivable aspect of the manuscript including it's full history, paleography, text, and content. The second main section contains a full page by page reproduction of the manuscript's original text, including the sporadic illuminated large initials (reproduced in b/w). A final sections contains an appendix and a large alphabetical index. The frontispiece contains a tipped in photographic facsimile reproduction of a page from the manuscript with text caption underneath, on the blank leaf preceeding the half-title.
Binding with some rubbing to extremities with light fraying to left edge of spine at bottom. Ex-library copy with small ink stamps of the library of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, on at the bottom of the title page and p. 502. Interior covers and endpapers with minor smudging, water spots and/or remnants of pencil markings. Text pages throughout with some minor age toning along the edges. . Binding in good+, interior in very good condition overall. g+ to vg. Item #47779