Codex Paulinus Wirziburgensis currently resides in the university library of Würzburg, Germany. It was produced by Irish scribes sometime around the year 800 and contains the Latin text of the Pauline epistles (plus Hebrews). What is noteworthy about this manuscript, however, are the thousands of old Irish glosses in the margins and between the lines. The glosses provide explanations and applications of the text from Patristic sources.
Interestingly, the main source for the commentary is the heretic Pelagius. He is cited frequently by name which shows the Irish scribes were open about using a writer who came in for some very heavy criticism from the Church Fathers and Jerome in particular (who was highly respected by Irish theologians). Jerome called Pelagius stolidissimus et Scottorum pultibus praegravatus, a stupid man weighed down with Irish porridge!
The 3000 or so Irish glosses are a vital witness to reconstructing old Irish, and also give us some insights into the Biblical interpretation of the early Irish church. An interesting gloss is written over 2 Corinthians 12:7, where Paul mentions his stimulus carnis, or thorn in the flesh. The Irish gloss reads, Cenngalar (headache). This may be an allusion to the Latin theologian Tertullian (d.220) who wrote that Paul’s thorn in the flesh may have been per dolorem, ut aiunt, auriculae uel capitis (a pain in the ear or head).
|f. 17v stimulus carnis / Cenngalar|