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This book surveys approaches to the marvelous in hagiography, providing the first critique of Plummer's hypothesis of Irish saga origin. It then analyzes the uniquely systematized phenomena in the Life of Columba from Adomnan's seventh-century theological perspective, identifying the coming of the eschatological Kingdom as the key to understanding.
For the first time we see, through the theological mind of Adomnan, the mission of Columba to bring the Kingdom of God to Pict and Scot. The question is, was Adomnan simply following fashion (miracles proved sanctity, and thereby authorized the cult and its politically minded promoters), or did he also have a more sophisticated understanding of the nature and function of these authority-providing marvels that he systematizes uniquely: prophecy, miracles of power, visions?This book surveys approaches to the marvelous, tracing the intriguing recent growth in scholarly open-mindedness, and shows Plummer's 1910 hypothesis of the origin of Irish saga to be inadequate. Adomnan identifies the phenomena firmly as signs of the inbreaking eschatological Kingdom of God. Directed by the Spirit of prophecy, in miracles of transforming power, with angels and glimpses of the glory of God's presence, the conditions of the new earth are made tantalizingly present in sixth-century "Scotland."The Spirit bringing the Kingdom is the mission of the church. How this is present in his Life recasts the missionary identity of Columba from a new perspective and poses questions for the task of the church today.
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