Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul

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Saints' cults, with their focus on miraculous healings and pilgrimages, were not only a distinctive feature of Christian religion in fifth-and sixth-century Gaul but also a vital force in political and social life. Here Raymond Van Dam uses accounts of miracles performed by SS. Martin, Julian, and Hilary to provide a vivid and comprehensive depiction of some of the most influential saints' cults. Viewed within the context of ongoing tensions between paganism and Christianity and between Frankish kings and bishops, these cults tell much about the struggle for authority, the forming of communities, and the concept of sin and redemption in late Roman Gaul.

Van Dam begins by describing the origins of the three cults, and discusses the career of Bishop Gregory of Tours, who benefited from the support of various patron saints and in turn promoted their cults. He then treats the political and religious dimensions of healing miracles—including their relation to Catholic theology and their use by bishops to challenge royal authority—and of pilgrimages to saints' shrines. The miracle stories, collected mainly by Gregory of Tours, appear in their first complete English translations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"By dwelling on the ways in which local politics, culture, geography, and even individual personalities contributed to the uneven development of 'saints' cults in Gaul, Van Dam shows us their sheer 'unpredictability.' In the process, he has given us an unquestionably richer picture that can only enhance our understanding of the times."Journal of Early Christian Studies
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691021126
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/12/1993
  • Pages: 372
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Ch. 1 Different Saints, Different Cults 11
1 The Cult of St. Martin 13
2 The Cult of St. Hilary 28
3 The Cult of St. Julian 41
Ch. 2 Gregory of Tours and His Patron Saints 50
1 Becoming a Bishop 52
2 Being a Bishop 68
Ch. 3 Bodily Miracles 82
1 Body and Community 86
2 Body and Power 94
3 Body and Theology 105
Ch. 4 Pilgrimages and Miracle Stories 116
1 Pilgrimages to Tours 117
2 "The Place Where His Body Is Now Honored" 128
3 Pilgrimages from Tours 135
4 Gregory's Vow 142
Epilogue 150
The Miracles of St. Hilary (= VH) 155
The Suffering and Miracles of the Martyr St. Julian (= VJ) 162
Appendix 1: The Suffering of the Martyr St. Julian (= Passio) 196
The Miracles of the Bishop St. Martin (= VM 1-4) 199
Appendix 2: A Sermon in Praise of St. Martin (= Sermo) 304
Appendix 3: Inscriptions from the Martinellus 308
Editions and Translations 319
Bibliography 323
Map 335
Index 337
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