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Dr. H.J. (Jacqueline) Borsje

Religious Studies
Faculty of Humanities
Religion Studies
Photographer: Eduard Lampe

Visiting address
  • Kloveniersburgwal 48
  • Room number: D1.10B
Postal address
  • Postbus 1622
    1000 BP Amsterdam
  • Profiel

    Jacqueline Borsje

    Jacqueline Borsje is a specialist in the Academic Study of Religion and Celtic Studies. She teaches the cultural history of Christianity and was principal investigator of the NWO-VIDI research project 'The power of words in medieval Ireland' at the University of Amsterdam, and Associate Member of the Research Institute for Irish and Celtic Studies of the University of Ulster.


    Jacqueline Borsje studied Religious Studies (Godsdienstwetenschap) and Theology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and graduated in 1988 (cum laude), after which she read Old and Middle Irish at Utrecht University. In 1996 she was awarded a PhD (cum laude) at the Vrije Universiteit. Her PhD-thesis was published as From Chaos to Enemy: Encounters with Monsters in Early Irish Texts. An investigation related to the process of christianization and the concept of evil (Turnhout: Brepols, 1996). For other books and articles, see the extensions to this site.

    In the Netherlands, she held several research fellowships, financed by N.W.O. (at the Department of Theology of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam; at the Research Institute for History and Culture of the University of Utrecht ; and at the Department of Art, Religion and Culture Studies of the University of Amsterdam). She has been a research fellow at the School of Celtic Studies of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (1997-2000) and held a research lectureship in Traditional Medieval Irish and European Cultures at the Research Institute for Irish and Celtic Studies at the University of Ulster (2006-2008). She was full professor of Medieval Irish Culture and Religion on a part-time basis at the same university (2012-2104). She is a member of AcademiaNet (

  • Publications


    • Borsje, J. (2019). European and American Scholarship and the Study of Medieval Irish 'Magic' (1846-1960). In I. Tuomi, J. Carey, B. Hillers, & C. Ó Géalbháin (Eds.), Charms, Charmers and Charming in Ireland: From the Medieval to the Modern (pp. 5-16). (New Approaches to Celtic Religion and Mythology). University of Wales Press. [details]



    • Borsje, J. (2016). Medieval Irish Spells: 'Words of Power' as Performance. In E. van den Hemel, & A. Szafraniec (Eds.), Words: Religious Language Matters (pp. 35-53). Fordham University Press. [details]




    • Borsje, J. (2013). A spell called Éle. In G. Toner, & S. Mac Mathúna (Eds.), Ulidia 3: proceedings of the Third International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, University of Ulster, Coleraine 22-25 June, 2009: in memoriam Patrick Leo Henry (pp. 193-212). Curach Bhán. [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2013). The second spell in the Stowe Missal. In C. Hambro, & L. I. Widerøe (Eds.), Lochlann: Festskrift til Jan Erik Rekdal på 60-årsdagen = aistí in ómós do Jan Erik Rekdal ar a 60ú lá breithe (pp. 12-26). Hermes Academic Publishing. [details]





    • Borsje, H. J. (2004). Über die Identität von Nár Túathcháech aus der verlorengegangenen Erzählung Echtrae Chrimthainn Nia Náir. In E. Poppe (Ed.), Keltologie heute. Themen und Fragestellungen. Akten des 3. Deutschen Keltologensymposiums - Marburg, März 2001 (pp. 169-193). (Studien und Texte zur Keltologie; No. 6). Nodus.




    • Borsje, H. J. (2001). Evil and the Changing Nature of Monsters in Early Irish Texts. In K. E. Olsen, & L. A. J. R. Houwen (Eds.), Monsters and the Monstrous in Medieval Northwest Europe (pp. 59-77). (Mediaevalia Groningana; No. NS 3). Leuven, Paris, Sterling Virginia: Peeters.




    • Borsje, H. J. (1996). From Chaos to Enemy: Encounters with Monsters in Early Irish Texts. An investigation related to the process of christianization and the concept of evil. (Instrumenta Patristica; No. 29). Turnhout: Brepols.


    • Borsje, H. J., & Ó Cróinín, D. (1995). A monster in the Indian Ocean. Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift, 49, 1-11.


    • Borsje, H. J. (1994). The bruch in the Irish version of the Sunday Letter. Ériu, 45, 83-98.
    • Borsje, J. (1994). The monster in the river Ness in Vita Sancti Columbae: A study of a miracle. Peritia, 8, 27-34.


    • Borsje, H. J. (2020). Random Thoughts About Restless Women. In E. Parina, V. Bayda , & A. Sideltsev (Eds.), Focal, fios agus foghlaim: Сборник статей в честь юбилея Татьяны Андреевны Михайловой (pp. 31-35). MAKS Press.


    • Borsje, J. (2016). Random Thoughts about Restless Women. In Focal, fios agus foghlaim: Тезисы международной конференции, посвященной отечественной школе кельтологии и юбилею д.ф.н., профессора Татьяны Андреевны Михайловой (pp. 10-15). Сектор анатолийских и кельтских языков Института языкознания РАН, кафедра германской и кельтской филологии Московского государственного университета им. Ломоносова. [details]



    • Borsje, J. (2012). The Celtic evil eye and related mythological motifs in medieval Ireland. (Studies in the history and anthropology of religion; No. 2). Peeters. [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2012). Bodb. In J. T. Koch, & A. Minard (Eds.), The Celts: history, life, and culture. - Vol. 1 (pp. 100-101). ABC-Clio. [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2012). Zlo i meni͡ai͡ushchai͡asi͡a priroda chudovishch v ranneirlandskikh tekstakh. Atlantika, 10, 3-20. [details]


    • Borsje, J. (2011). Digitizing Irish and Dutch charms. In T. A. Mikhailova, J. Roper, A. Toporkov, & D. S. Nikolayev (Eds.), Oral Charms in Structural and Comparative Light: Proceedings of the Conference of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research's (ISFNR) Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming; 27-29th October 2011 Moscow = Заговорные тексты в структурном и сравнительном освещении (pp. 128-137). PROBEL-2000. [details]


    • Borsje, J. (2009). Monotheistic to a certain extent: the ‘good neighbours’ of God in Ireland. In A-M. Korte, & M. de Haardt (Eds.), The boundaries of monotheism: interdisciplinary explorations into the foundations of western monotheism (pp. 53-82). (Studies in theology and religion; No. 13). Brill. [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2009). Sila slova v srednevekovoj Irlandii. In T. A. Michajlova, A. R. Muradova, & D. S. Nikolaev (Eds.), Magija formuly: materialy kruglogo stola (pp. 15-20). Tezaurus. [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2009). Supernatural threats to kings: exploration of a motif in the Ulster Cycle and in other medieval Irish tales. In R. Ó hUiginn, & B. Ó Catháin (Eds.), Ulidia 2: proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 24-27 June 2005 (pp. 173-194). An Sagart. [details]


    • Borsje, J. (2008). Druids, deer and ‘words of power’: coming to terms with evil in medieval Ireland. In K. Ritari, & A. Bergholm (Eds.), Approaches to religion and mythology in Celtic studies (pp. 122-149). Cambridge Scholars. [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2008). Druids, deer and ‘words of power’: coming to terms with evil in medieval Ireland. In N. van Doorn-Harder, & L. Minnema (Eds.), Coping with evil in religion and culture: case studies (pp. 25-49). (Currents of encounter; No. 35). Rodopi. [details]


    • Borsje, J. (2007). Demonising the enemy: a study of Congal Cáech. In J. E. Rekdal, & A. Ó Corráin (Eds.), Proceedings of the Eighth Symposium of Societas Celtologica Nordica (pp. 21-38). Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2007). Het mensenoffer als literair motief in het middeleeuwse Ierland. - Deel 2. In-nuachta, 22, 18-21. 202937/Borsje_04_mensoffer.pdf [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2007). Human sacrifice in medieval Irish literature. In J. N. Bremmer (Ed.), The strange world of human sacrifice (pp. 31-54). (Studies in the history and anthropology of religion). Peeters. [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2007). The 'terror of the night' and the Morrígain: shifting faces of the supernatural. In M. Ó Flaithearta (Ed.), Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium of Societas Celtologica Nordica (pp. 71-98). Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. [details]
    • Borsje, J. (2007). Úath mac Imomain und andere Schreckgespenster: phantasievolle Kreationen oder traditionelle Elemente des irischen mittelalterlichen Erbes. In H. Birkhan (Ed.), Kelten-Einfälle an der Donau: Akten des Vierten Symposiums deutschsprachiger Keltologinnen und Keltologen, Linz/Donau, 17.-21. Juli 2005 (pp. 51-65). Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. [details]



    • Borsje, H. J. (2005). Predznamenovania, predskazania i ispytania: demony i orujie v drevneirlandskih textah. In T. Mikhailova (Ed.), Mifologema jentshini-sudbi u drevnih keltov i germancev (Woman as Fate in Old Germanic and Celtic tradition) (pp. 172-190). Moscow: Indrik.
    • Borsje, H. J. (2005). Witchcraft and Magic. In S. Duffy (Ed.), Medieval Ireland. An Encyclopedia (pp. 518-520). Routledge.


    • Borsje, J. (2001). Women in Columba’s Life, as Seen through the Eyes of his Biographer Adomnán. In A-M. Korte (Ed.), Women and miracle stories: a multidisciplinary exploration (pp. 87-122). (Numen book series; No. 88). Brill.


    • Borsje, H. J. (1987). Vrouwenspiritualiteit: Op zoek naar binnen voor kracht naar buiten. Religieuze Bewegingen in Nederland, 14, 7-52.



    • Borsje, J. (2011). De eerste persoon enkelvoud in middeleeuwse Ierse toverspreuken. Kelten: mededelingen van de Stichting A.G. van Hamel voor Keltische Studies, 50, 3-5. [details]



    • Borsje, H. J. (2017). Mary's Saliva. 1. Paper presented at Tionól, Dublin, Ireland.
    • Borsje, H. J. (2017). Saints, narratives, and powerful texts. Paper presented at Verbal Charms and Narrative Genres, Budapest, Hungary.

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  • Ancillary activities
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