[Rev.] John Lanigan


Life
1758-1828, b. Cashel; ordained Rome; DD, Univ. of Pavia; taught at Pavia before returning to Ireland at fall of Milan to Napoleon, 1796; barred from Maynooth post on being suspected of Jansenism by the Bishop of Cork [RAF, had to resign]; asst. librarian RDS, 1799, and later foreign sec. to same; librarian RDS, 1808 and fnd Gaelic Soc. with Edward O’Reilly in 1808;
 
his Ecclesiastical History of Ireland from the first introduction of Christianity to the beginning of the 13th century ([4 vols] 1822), sets out to correct errors in Mervyn Archdall’s Monasticum Hibernicum though without consulting the Book of Armagh (Codex Armanachus); argued that St. Patrick was born in Boulogne (‘Taberniae’ being Tarvenna of Roman political geography);
 
d. 7 July in Dr Harty’s private mental asylum, Clontarf; W. J. Fitzpatrick derived much of the biographical lore in History of Dublin Catholic Cemeteries (1900) and other works from Lanigan. CAB ODNB DIB DIW RAF OCIL

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Works
An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland from the first introduction of Christianity among the Irish to the beginning of the 13th century
[...] compiled from the works of the most esteemed authors [...] and from Irish Annals, 4 vols. (Dublin: Cumming 1822).

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Commentary
William Bullen Morris [Rev.], Ireland and St. Patrick (London & NY: Burns and Oates; Dublin M. H. Gill & Son, 1891), cites Lanigan’s article, ‘Northmen and Normans in England and Ireland’ (1856), printed in Essays in Church History, p.46, and comments: ‘Dr. Lanigan’s account of the state of Ireland previous to the irruption of the Normans is fair and dispassionate ... When, however, he reaches the perod of Pope Adrian, it is clear that he is blinded by that indignation which sometimes disturbs the wisest mind [...] Dr. Lanigan is so angry with the Pope that he dismisses with contempt every argument in his favour, and in answer to Cambrensis Eversus, and MacGeoghegan, he rashly affirms of the  “Bull”, that “never did there exist a more real and authentic document.”’ [Eccles. Hist., Vol. iv, pp.32, 34, 43, 55, &c.]; Note that from Morris’s viewpoint the Bull is a forgery whose ‘almost every line the letter reveals the swordsman - the self-appointed military missioner’ (i.e., Henry II).

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George A. Little, Dublin Before the Vikings (Dublin: M. H. Gill 1957): Dalton points out that Dr. Lanigan, who was opposed to the theory of a pre-Scandanavian prelacy in Dublin, felt well-nigh insuperable difficulty in excluding Sedulius [d.785] from this rank and title. Dr Lanigan’s uneasiness must have increased if he realised that, giving way on this point, it would have been difficult to maintain his view regarding the others. Dr Lanigan’s difficulty (and that of some later writers) seems to have arisen from his effort to interpret an early form of Church government in terms that obtained at a much later period [viz., diocesan, not king-monastic]. [ p.100-101]

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References
Dictionary of National Biography
, and publ. first part of his Institutiones Biblicae (Padua 1793); returned to Ireland, 1796, and became asst.-lib RDS, 1799; assisted to found Gaelic Society of Dublin, 1808; An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland &c. (1822). Note that his insanity is not mentioned.

Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography [rev. edn.] (Gill & Macmillan 1988), University of Pavia; suspected of Jansenism by bishop of Cork, preventing proposed appointment to chair of Hebrew and Sacred Scripture; ed. and translator on RDS staff adn 1.50 p.w., raised to 3 on advancement to librarian in 1808; incapacitated by mental illness in 1813. Note however that Fitzgerald’s life of Dr Lanigan is about the RC bishop of Ossory, James Lanigan [q.v].

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Hyland Books (Cat. 214) lists An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland [&c.], 4 vols. (1822) £55.

De Burca Books (1997) lists An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland from the first introduction of Christianity among the Irish to the beginning of the thirteenth century. With list of subscribers. Four volumes. Dublin, Cumming, 1829 [sic]. Cont. half calf on marbled boards with red and black labels; attractive set bound by D.W. Carroll of Dublin, with his ticket on the front pastedown [£275].

Univ. of Ulster (Morris Collection) holds An Ecclestical History of Ireland ... to the thirteenth century, 4 vols. (1822).

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