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John J. Gallagher

Education and Experience

Thesis title: ‘Reading the Old Testament in Anglo-Saxon England: Errors, Textual Criticism and Exegesis’

My research considers how the Old Testament was read and understood in Anglo-Saxon England from the Canterbury School of Theodore and Hadrian to the Benedictine Reform period. In particular, my project examines biblical errata or textual difficulties within the Bible, i.e. those passages of the Bible that pose a particular difficulty to interpretation, and how these are negotiated through textual criticism and exegesis. I am interested in how difficulties such as vague, obscure or unclear verses, anachronistic place-names or other details, and solecisms were understood or misunderstood by Anglo-Saxon exegetes. I am also interested in the particular versions of the scriptures used in Anglo-Saxon England. I look at texts in both Latin and Old English, including biblical commentaries, glosses, copies of the Bible and vernacular biblical adaptations and religious writings. This thesis is being conducted under the supervision of Dr Christine Rauer and thanks to the support of an AHRC DTP Studentship.

Research interests: Insular Latin, Old English and Old Norse-Icelandic literatures and languages; error studies; textual criticism; biblical exegesis; apocrypha; patristics.

I hold a BA in English (First Class Honours) from University College Dublin and the Sorbonne; an MA in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies (Distinction) from the University of Nottingham where I held a Postgraduate Research Scholarship and also worked as a Research Assistant at the Institute for Name-Studies; and a Diploma in Icelandic from the University of Iceland where I was the recipient of the Icelandic Government Scholarship for studies in Icelandic as a second language.


EN2003 Medieval and Renaissance Texts, School of English
DI1003 Old Testament 1: Torah and Prophets, School of Divinity
DI1201 Adam to Apocalypse: The Bible and Western Culture, School of Divinity

Public Lectures

‘The Bible in Anglo-Saxon England’, The Open Association, St Andrews, October 2016.

Conference Papers

Communis maiorum fama: IV Esdras and the Restoration of Scripture in Anglo-Saxon England’, Mediaeval Scriptural Exegesis Colloquium, Institute for Bible, Theology, and Hermeneutics and St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies, May 2016.

‘The Writing on the Wall: Stave Church Runic Inscriptions and the Practice of Graffiti’, Student Conference on the Medieval North, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, April 2015.

‘The Welsh Field-Names of Wollaston Parish, Shropshire’, Contacts and Networks: Interactions in the Medieval World, Institute for Medieval Research Postgraduate Conference, University of Nottingham, July 2014.

John Gallagher



PhD Student: Anglo-Saxon Studies