Ludwig Bieler (1906-81)

[Ludwig George Josep Bieler; occas. Ludovicus Bieler]; b. 20 Oct. 1906, in Vienna; ed. at Vienna, Tübingen and Munich; completed doctorate on Samson of Dol - a Breton saint; appt. staff member at National Library of Austria, in Vienna, 1935; Privatdozent, Univ. of Vienna, 1936; fled Nazi Germany and settled in Ireland, 1938 - possibly fearing betrayal to the Gestapo by his brother; met Eva Clara Uffenheimer, of Jewish extraction, in Switzerland, and m. Eva, 2 May 1939, at Arundel, in Surrey, England, where she worked as a Froebel teacher; moved to Ireland, where LB took one-year lecturership assisted by Warburg Inst., arriving 28 Feb. 1940; appt. Visiting Professor in Palaeolography, UCD [NUI] 1940-46; applied successfully for Irish naturalisation, 1946; declined a chair at Graz, 1954;

appt. NLI archivist und R. J. Hayes, 1946-47, with responsibility for international catalogue of Irish manuscripts (viz., the Catalogue of Irish MSS [in] Foreign Libraries issued by Hayes, 1966); elected to RIA, 1947; appt. Asst. Prof. in Classics at Notre Dame Univ. (Indiana), 1947-48; appt. lect. in UCD, 1947, and afterwards took chair of Palaeography, 1960; establ. Scriptores Latini Hiberniae series; established himself as a specialist on St. Patrick [Patrician studies], and ed. Libri Epistolarum Sancti Patricii episcopi, &c. (1952), the canonical version [see under Patrick, infra]; also collaborated with I. P. Sheldon-Williams in a 2-vol. edition of Johannes Scotti Eruigenae Periphysion [De div. naturae] (DIAS 1968-72);

he compiled a bibliographical survey of Hiberno-Latin scholarship in Historische Zeitschrift, Sonderheft 2 (1965); edited Boethius’s Consolatio Philosophiae (1957); spent a year at Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, USA; awarded D.Litt. (TCD), 1970; received honorary degrees from Munich, 1972, and Glasgow, 1975; elected to British Academy, 1971; elected to RDS, 1974; ed. the Palaeographical Papers of E. A. Lowe (Oxford 1972); a festchrift, ed. J. J. O’Meara appeared in 1976 listing 250 papers by Bieler; a competent singer of Schumann et al., he also played viola in amateur quartet; d. 2 May 1981; his children with Eva are Thomas and Elizabeth [later Bourke]; his last Dublin home was “St Patrick” at 22, Villiers Rd., Rathgar, Dublin; an obituary by James Carney appeared in The Irish Times (13 May 1981); Eva d. 1997, while living with his dg. and son-in-law, Michael Gay Bourke, the Anglican Bishop of Wolverhampton.

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  • The Grammarian’s Craft: An Introduction to Textual Criticism, by Ludwig Bieler [NY: The Catholic Classical Association of Greater New York 1948; 1960), and Do. [3rd edn.], rev. by M. R. P. McGuire (1975).
  • The Life and Legend of St. Patrick: Problems of Modern Scholarship (Dublin: Clonmore & Reynolds 1949), 146pp.
  • The Irish Penitentials, ed. by L. Bieler, with an appendix by D. Binchy (Dublin: DIAS 1963), x, 367pp. [see details].
  • Ireland: Harbinger of the Middle Ages (OUP 1963, 1966, &c), viii, 148pp., ill. [15 col. pls.; 12 full-page photos; 3 maps; cuts and figs; prev. as Irland: Wegbereiter des Mittelalters [Stätten des Geistes] (Olten: Urs Graf-Verlag 1961), 155pp., ill.
Editorial works [sel.]
  • Codices Patriciani Latini: a descriptive catalogue of Latin manuscripts relating to St. Patrick (DIAS 1942), xvii, 72pp.
  • ‘Recent research in Irish hagiography’, in Studies (Dublin), 35 (1946), 23008, 53644.
  • ‘Latin manuscripts: facsimiles, editions, studies, published in Great Britain, Ireland, Canada and the United States since July 1939’, in Scriptorium, 1 (194647), 1819, 32954.
  • ‘The Place of St Patrick in Latin Language and Literature’, in Vigilia Christiania, vi (1952), pp.65-98 [see extract].
  • Ed. Libri Epistolarum Sancti Patricii episcopi, &c. [Irish Manuscripts Commission] (Dublin: Stationary Office 1952), 2 pt., 8°. [Pt. 1: Text and Notes; Pt. 2: Commentary (pp.81-214) reprinted from Classica et Mediaevalia, XII.]; Do. [2nd edn.] (Dublin RIA 1993).
  • ‘The Mission of Palladius’, in Traditio, VI (1948), [q.pp.]
  • The Irish Book of Hymns: A Palaeographical Study (Antwerp 1949) [rep. from Scriptorium, vol. II, Pt. 2]
  • ‘The Humanism of St. Columbanus’, in Mélanges Colunbaniens (1950), pp.95-102;
  • ‘Island of Scholars’ in Revue du Moyen Age Latin, viii (1952).
  • [ed.,] “The Hymn of Secundinus”, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 55, sec. C, No. 6 (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1953 ),pp.117-27.
  • ed., The Works of St. Patrick: St. Secundinus Hymn on St. Patrick, translated and annotated by Ludwig Bieler [Ancient Christian Writers, 17] (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1953) [p.252].
  • with D. Meehan, ed., Adamnan’s De Locis Sanctis (Dublin 1958);
  • ‘Patrician studies in the ‘Irish Ecclesiastical Record’, in Irish Ecclesiastical Records, 102 (1964), 35966.
  • ‘Die Lateinische Kultur Irlands im Mitteralter in der Forschung des Zwangzigster Jarhhunderts’, in Historische Zeitschrift, Sonderheft, 2 (1965), pp.26076. contrib. ‘St. Patrick and the Coming of Christianity’, A history of Irish Catholicism, ed. Patrick J. Corish (Dublin: Gill 1967), Vol. 1.
  • contrib. ‘The Classics in Ancient Ireland’, in Bolgar, Classical Influences &c. (1971).
  • ed., intro. & annot., Four Latin lives of St. Patrick: Colgan’s Vita secunda, quarta, tertia, and quinta [Scriptores Latini Hiberniae, Vol. 8] (DIAS 1971), ix, 266pp . [26cm].
  • ed. and trans., The Patrician Texts in the Book of Armagh (Dublin: DIAS 1979), vi, 288pp. [see contents].
Collaborative edns.
  • Evangeliorum Quattuor Codex Durmachensis [i.e., Book of Durrow], auctoritate Collegii .. Trinitatis juxta Dublin totius Codicis similitudinem accuratissime depicti exprimendam curavit typographeum Urs Graf. Prolegomenis auxerunt viri doctissimi, d. Arturus Aston Luce, Georgios Otto Simms, Petrus Meyer, Ludovicus Bieler (Dublin: TCD; Urs Graf-Verlag 1960), 2 vols. [Vol. 1: Book of Durrow ills.; Vol. 2: text & analysis].  
Reprints incl.
  • [Bieler,] Ireland and the Culture of Early Medieval Europe, ed. Richard Sharpe [Collected Studies Ser.; Variorum Reprints, CS263] (London: Variorum Reprints 1987), x, [322]pp., ill. 
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Short list of philological works
  • Geschichte der römischen Literatur (1961)
  • Die Literatur Der Republik [Geschichte Der Romischen Literatur, 1 1961) [3 edns.] *
  • Die Literatur Der Kaiserzeit [Geschichte Der Romischen Literatur, 2] (1961 )
  • Geschichte Der Römischen Mischen Literatur: I. Die Literatur Der Republik. II. Die Literatur Der Kaiserzeit 1980
  • The Irish Penitentials (1963)
  • Ireland, harbinger of the Middle Ages (1963 )
  • The Works of St. Patrick: St. Secundinus Hymn on St. Patrick (1976)
  • The Patrician Texts in the Book of Armagh (1979)
  • Studies on the Life and Legend of St. Patrick (1986)
  • Clavis Patricii II: Libri Epistolarum Sancti Patricii Episcopi (1993)

*trans. as History of Roman Literature [abbrev.] (Macmillan: London, 1966).

Bibliographical details
The Irish Penitentials, edited by Ludwig Bieler, with an appendix by D. A. Binchy [Scriptores latini hiberniae, 5] (Dublin: DIAS 1963, 1975), x, 367pp. [Latin or Old Irish texts and English translation on facing pages]

The Patrician texts in the book of Armagh, ed. with introd., trans. and commentary by Ludwig Bieler, with a contribution by Fergus Kelly [Scriptores Latini Hiberniae, Vol. 10] (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 1979), vi, 288pp [26cm]. CONTENTS: Texts in English and Latin; commentary in English. Contents Preface; Introduction. A.] Muirchú. B.] Tírechán. C.] The “Additamenta”. D.] The “Notulae”. E.] Liber Angeli. F.] Transmission of the non-Muirchú texts - Short titles of references - Text and translation. Conspectus Siglorum. A.] Muirchú. B.] Tírechán. C.] Additamenta. D.] Notulae. E.] Liber Angeli. Appendix - Commentary. A.] Muirchú. B.] Tírechán. C.] Additamenta. D.] Notulae. E.] Liber Angeli. Notes on the Irish words. Indices: 1. Index Scriptorum; 2. Index nominum proprium hominum gentium locorum; 3 Index Latinitatis; 4 Index Orthographicus.

Query: ‘Dynamis’ und ‘exousia’ [by] Ludwig Bieler, in Wiener Studien, 55 (1937).

National Library of Ireland [NLI] contains papers of Bieler relating to his survey of mediaeval manuscripts in libraries abroad and consisting of drafts and copies of his reports and photocopies of manuscripts amounting to c.300 items in 6 boxes catalogued as MSS 24,928-24,930. The notes concerning his work on St. Patrick are held as MSS 24,928-24,930.

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John J. O’Meara & Bernd Naumann, eds., Bieler Festschrift, Latin Script and Lettering AD 400-900: Festschrift presented to Ludwig Bieler on the occasion of his 70th birthday (Leiden: Brill 1976), [pp.]118.

See also Hermann Rasche, ‘Ludwig Bieler’ [Chap.], in German Speaking Exiles in Ireland 1933-45 [German Monitor Ser., 63] (Amsterdam: Rodopi B.V. 2006), pp.171-82. [Note: the other chapters deal with Erwin Schrödinger [extracts from Dairies, pp.276-88; also personal accounts by his dg. Ruth Braunizer], Robert Weil, Ernst Scheyer, and Hans Sachs; contribs. by Wolfgang Benz, Ruth Braunizer, John Cooke, Horst Dickel, Eva Gross, Gisela Holfter, Dermot Keogh, Wolfgang Muchitsch, Siobhan O’Connor, Hermann Rasche, Monica Schefold, Birte Schulz, Raphael V. Siev, and Colin Walker.] (UU Lib. Cat. as Bib Id 1205638.)

Note: Much of the biographical information on Bieler given in Life [supra] derives from the chapter of German Speaking Exiles (2006) by Hermann Rasche kindly supplied in copy by the editor of that work. [BS / 17.05.2013.]

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The Place of St Patrick in Latin Language and Literature’, in Vigilia Christiania, 6, 2 (1952), pp.65-98: ‘There is hardly a Latin author that has been studied so often in isolation from his cultural background as St. Patrick. For centuries those scholars who took a special interest in the Apostle of Ireland were, pardonably enough, inclined to see him in relation to the people he went to convert rather than to the world from which he came. And yet this background determines in no small degree the work of the missionary, and is the key to an appreciation of the author. / Too long has the Latinity of St. Patrick been treated as something sui generis. The question whether his Confessio and Epistola ad milites Corotici are in any sense works of literature had hardly ever been asked. In an endeavour to fill this gap, I shall deal 1) with Patrick’s cultural background; 2) with his Latinity; 3) with his writing as documents of Latin literature.’ (p.65.) [Full text available at JSTOR - online.]

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James Carney, The Problem of St. Patrick (DIAS 1973), Select Bibliography incls. works by Ludwig Bieler: ‘The Problem of Silva Focluti’, in Irish Historical Studies (September 1943), pp.351-54; ‘The Life and Legend of St. Patrick (Clonmore & Reynolds Dublin 1949); [ed.,] Libri Epistolarum Sancti Patricii Episcopi, Part I, Introduction and Text [Irish Manuscripts Commission] (Dublin Stationary Office 1952); Do., Part II, Commentary [rep. from Classica et Mediaevalia, XII]; ‘The Hymn of St. Secundinus’, Vol. 55, Section C (RIA Proc. [q.d.]). pp.117-27; The Works of St. Patrick, St. Secundinus’ Hymn on St. Patrick [Ancient Christian Writers Ser. No. 17: The Works of the Fathers in Translation] (Westrninister, Maryland: Newman Press; London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1953); ‘The Mission of Palladius’, in Traditio, Vol. VI [q.d.], pp.1-32; ‘Was Palladius surnamed Patricius?’, in Studies [q. vol.] (1943), pp.323-26; ‘Vinaliciae Patricianae: Remarks on the present state of Patrician Studies’, in Irish Eccelesiastical Record (1953), pp.161-85; ‘Patrick and the Kings, Apropos a New Chronology of St. Patrick’, in Irish Eccelesiastical Record (1956), pp.171-89 [...; see full listing, attached ].

A reading list Celtic-studies of titles by Bieler: ‘Ancient Hagiography and the Lives of St. Patrick’, in Forma futuri: studi in onore de Cardinale Michele Pelligrino, ed. Antonio Maddalena (Turin: Bottega d’Erasmo 1975), pp.650-55; Christian Ireland’s Graeco-Latin Heritage [Studia Patristica 13] (Part II), ed. Elizabeth Livingstone (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag 1975), pp.3-9; Ireland: Harbinger of the Middle Ages (NY: OUP n.d.); Patrick’s Synod, A Revision: Melange Offerts a Mademoiselle C. Mohrmann, ed. T. N. Hamess et. al. (Utrecht/Anvers: Spectrum Editeurs 1963), pp.96-102; The Celtic Hagiographer [Studia Patristica, Vol. 5] (1964), pp.243-65; The Irish Penitentials: Their Religious and Social Background [Studia Patristica, Vol. 18] (Part II) ed. by F. L. Cross. Berlin (1966), pp.329-39; The Life and Legend of St. Patrick (Dublin: Clonmore & Reynolds 1949). [Compiled by Denise Inglis <>.]

See also
Donnchadh Ó Corráin, comp. ‘Bibliography of Bibliography’, in Select Bibliography of Bibliographies and Guides in Medieval Irish Studies, comp. (Nov. 2003), in Corpus of Electronic Texts [CELT] - online [as incl. in Works, supra.]

Booksellers: Hyland Books (Dec. 1996) lists Ireland, Harbinger of the Middle Ages [1st edn.] (OUP 1963), 148pp. Cathach Books (1996-97), lists Ireland, Harbinger of the Middle Ages [1st edn.] (OUP 1963), 148pp.

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George A Little, Dublin Before the Vikings (1957) writes, Ludwig Bieler, brilliant Patrician scholar, accepts guardedly the account in Jocelyn.