Divine Diversion: Divine Retribution as Dispute Resolution and the Norman Invasion of Ireland

Posted: 18 Feb 2012

Date Written: November 30, 2011


This essay reevaluates the Anglo-Norman invasion’s impact on native Irish culture by analyzing references to divine power in the medieval native Irish annals. This essay posits that native Irish society’s destabilization in the wake of the Anglo-Norman invasion may be better understood by analyzing patterns in the native Irish cultural belief in spiritual vengeance. Part I discusses divine retribution’s general cultural context, and explores its position in native Irish culture. It briefly compares saints’ roles in native Irish culture with their position in Anglo-Norman culture, and describes the Anglo-Norman incursion in Ireland and its wider impacts on native Irish society. Part II analyzes the native Irish annals and presents a process to assess variations in spiritual authority’s influence in native Irish culture. It presents statistical results, evaluates their significance in context, and contends that the Anglo-Norman arrival transformed native Irish perception of divine retribution as a legitimate form of dispute resolution. Then, it proposes a results-based model for dissecting divine retribution’s role in disputes. Part III discusses spiritual vengeance’s function in modern cross-cultural disputes. It then applies the proposed model to suggest that the way the Anglo-Normans avoided spiritual wrath in Ireland might provide a usable framework to suppress an opposition’s faith in, and utilization of, divine retribution as dispute resolution.

Keywords: dispute resolution, history, colonialism, cross-cultural disputes, law and religion, religion, terrorism, Ireland, saint, invasion

Suggested Citation

Jacob, Katherine, Divine Diversion: Divine Retribution as Dispute Resolution and the Norman Invasion of Ireland (November 30, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2006672

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