Sacred Biography: Saints and Their Biographers in the Middle Ages / Edition 1

Sacred Biography: Saints and Their Biographers in the Middle Ages / Edition 1

by Thomas J. Heffernan
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195079078

ISBN-13: 9780195079074

Pub. Date: 10/28/1992

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Though medieval "saints' lives" are among the oldest literary texts of Western vernacular culture, they are routinely patronized as "pious fiction" by modern historiography. This book demonstrates that to characterize the genre as fiction is to misunderstand the intentions of medieval authors, who were neither credulous fools nor men blinded by

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Overview

Though medieval "saints' lives" are among the oldest literary texts of Western vernacular culture, they are routinely patronized as "pious fiction" by modern historiography. This book demonstrates that to characterize the genre as fiction is to misunderstand the intentions of medieval authors, who were neither credulous fools nor men blinded by piety. Concentrating on English texts, Heffernan reconstructs the medieval perspective and considers sacred biography in relation to the community for which it was written; identifies the genre's rhetorical practices and purposes; and demonstrates the syncretistic way in which the life of the medieval saint was transformed from oral tales to sacred text. In the process, Heffernan not only achieves a more contextually accurate understanding of the medieval saints' lives, but details a new critical method that has important implications for the practice of textual criticism.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195079074
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/28/1992
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

1From Logos to Canon: The Making of a Saint's Life3
2Sacred Biography as Historical Narrative: Testing the Tradition, Gibbon to Gadamer38
3Sanctity in the Cloister: Walter Daniel's Vita Sancti Aelredi and Rhetoric72
4A Theology of Behavior: Communio Sanctorum and the Use of Sources123
5The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas and the Imitatio Christi185
6Virgin Mothers231
Select Bibliography300
Index319

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