The Hagiographical Experiment: Developing Discourses of Sainthood throws fresh light on narratives about Christian holy men and women from Late Antiquity to Byzantium. Rather than focusing on the relationship between story and reality, it asks what literary choices authors made in depicting their heroes and heroines: how they positioned the narrator, how they responded to existing texts, how they utilised or transcended genre conventions for their own purposes, and how they sought to relate to their audiences. The literary focus of the chapters assembled here showcases the diversity of hagiographical texts written in Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac, as well as pointing out the ongoing conversations that connect them. By asking these questions of this diverse group of texts, it illuminates the literary development of hagiography in the late antique, Byzantine, and medieval periods.
Christa Gray, D.Phil. (2012), University of Oxford, is Lecturer in Classics at the University of Reading. She is the author of
Jerome, Vita Malchi: Introduction, Text, Translation, and Commentary (OUP, 2015), and co-editor of two volumes on Roman Republican oratory.
James Corke-Webster, Ph.D. (2013), University of Manchester, is Senior Lecturer in Roman History at King's College, London. He is the author of
Eusebius and Empire: Constructing Church and Rome in the Ecclesiastical History (CUP, 2019), jointly awarded the 2018 Conington Prize.
Introduction James Corke-Webster and Christa Gray
Part 1 The Persons of Hagiography
The First Hagiographies: The Life of Antony, the Life of Pamphilus, and the Nature of Saints James Corke-Webster
The Hagiographer as Holy Fool? Fictionality in Saints’ Lives Julie Van Pelt
Clerical Hagiography in Late Antiquity Robert Wiśniewski
Part 2 The Forms of Hagiography
Eremitic aemulatio: Genesis of Genre in Jerome’s Vita Pauli Alan J. Ross
A Life Beyond Measure: Sulpicius, Martin and the Possibilities of Perpetual Discourse Zachary Yuzwa
The Perils of Paulinus: Letters as Hagiography in the Correspondence of Paulinus of Nola and Sulpicius Severus Michael S. Williams
Hagiographical Compilation as Literature: Receiving Saints, Recrafting Heroes, Redeploying Theologies Todd E. French
Part 3 The Strategies of Hagiography
How to Persuade a Saint: Supplication in Jerome’s Lives of Holy Men Christa Gray
Holy Fools and Sacred Sidekicks: Comic Relief and Humorous Elements in a Hagiographical Text from Egypt Konstantin M. Klein
Disclosing Secret Chaste Marriages in Jerome’s Life of Malchus and Stephen the African’s Life of Amator Klazina Staat
The Hagiographer’s Craft: Narrators and Focalisation in Byzantine Hagiography Anne Alwis
Postscript Lucy Grig
Students and scholars of Classical, Late Antique, Byzantine, and early Medieval narrative literature, and a wider public interested in aspects of the crafting of stories about saints.