The Poets of the Princes Series
of Welsh court poetry was completed in 1996, providing for the first time a full edition of the entire canon in Welsh. For this reason Defining the Divinity
is presented in English. Here a variety of religious perspectives, garnered from the work of the Gogynfeirdd
, or Welsh court poets, of the 12th and 13th centuries, are revealed and explored. An Introduction presents the poetry in context. Part I includes translations of all twenty-four of the dedications to God, along with three deathbed or repentance poems, followed by incipits
(introductory addresses) to God taken from three secular compositions. Part II provides a commentary on each of these translations. Finally, Part III considers the theological significance of every reference to the Godhead that occurs throughout the seven volumes in the series: a vast collection presented lexically. Thus the names God, Trinity; God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Christ and Jesus are dealt with in separate sections while relevant facets of each aspect of the Godhead are clarified in subsections. All references are listed in the Appendix in Modern Welsh spelling with English translations, retaining similar sectional titles. An Epilogue gives the author’s own views and a comprehensive Bibliography and a detailed Index complete this complex but most interesting study.
The author, Sister Nora Costigan, an Honorary Research Fellow of the Centre, is a member of the Mercy International Congregation and now lives in Ireland. In the 1970s she edited the poems of Dafydd Benfras which were published under her editorship in Gwaith Dafydd Benfras ac Eraill
in the Centre’s Poets of the Princes Series. Her edition of the work of Trahaearn Brydydd Mawr was published in the Centre’s Poets of the Nobility Series.