Chapter 11 St Gerald of Aurillac, Sex and Violence in Medieval Hagiography

In: Hagiography and the History of Latin Christendom, 500–1500
Author: Mathew Kuefler

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Abstract

The vita of St Gerald of Aurillac provides an excellent example of how often chastity served in medieval hagiographical writings in tandem with violence: to disguise or discount that violence, to hide its connection to power, but also to give it a new meaning, even to sanctify it. Monastic authors of hagiographical texts had their own complicated relationships with the ubiquitous violence of the Middle Ages, having been raised with it and then having, mostly, rejected it. Their praise of chastity in its various forms was real, and stemmed from ancient origins, but also tried to make sense of the senselessness of violence.

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