Medieval Hagiography (to c.1200)
Medieval Hagiography (to c.1200)
The purpose of this bibliography is to indicate some starting points for the study of the vast corpus of primary texts concerning saints, as well as some of the more important secondary works (and material which I've found useful). I have attempted to represent a broad chronological period, from which methodological approaches may then be applied to the study of hagiographic texts. The most influential of the secondary works listed below are probably those by Delehaye, Graus and Brown, representing the foundation of current study. Lifshitz' article provides a helpful introduction to the methodological problems of approaching the texts as narrative, while Heinzelmann, Heffernan and Philippart explore the narrower issues of genre within the broad confines of the term 'hagiography'. As examples of how this methodology may be applied to the sources, the works by Head, Fouracre and Smith are particularly successful for, respectively, Orléans, Merovingian Francia and Britanny.
One of hagiography's most striking characteristics, and the central problem for its study, is its constant and often direct re-use of motifs which might be biblical, hagiographical or classical. For this reason I have singled out the Lives of Martin and Antony amongst primary sources: for this period of the middle ages at least they provide useful models and patterns which were continally applied to provide the author with guaranteed proofs of sanctity. See also the works by Schiller and Van Uytfanghe which explore common iconography and the use of biblical models.
This bibliography has been provided by Sandy Vaughan at the University of Cambridge. Please see our Cambridge Contacts page for details regarding his research and for his contact information.
Posted 3 September 2004

Primary Sources
Too numerous to list individually! The following recent collections in translation make good starting points:
Thomas Head (ed.), Medieval Hagiography (New York, 2000)

FX Noble & Thomas Head (eds.), Soldiers of Christ. Saints and Saints' Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (London, 1995)

Anne-Marie Stouck (ed.), Medieval Saints – A Reader (Ontario, 1999)

For more detailed study, see the volumes of the Patrologia Latina (ed. J-P Migne, Paris, 1844-64) for a large number of saints' lives produced in the medieval West, including perhaps the two most influential, Sulpicius Severus' de vita beati martini & dialogi (PL20) and Evagrius' vita beati antonii abbatis (PL73).

The Bollandists produced an alphabetical listing of saints' Lives, which provides a vital starting point to study:

Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina antiquae et mediae aetatis, 2 vols., Subsidia Hagiographica 6 (1898-1901), reptd as 1 vol. (1992) Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina antiquae et medieae aetatis, Novum Supplementum, ed. H. Fros, Subsidia Hagiographica 70 (1986)

For hagiography in England the editions produced by Oxford Medieval Texts are exemplary in terms of textual analysis and usefully include a Latin text with facing English translation. For example, see the recent:

Rosalind Love (ed. & trans.), Three Eleventh-Century Anglo-Latin Saints' Lives. (Oxford, 1996)

R Thomson & M Winterbottom, William of Malmesbury Saints’ Lives (Oxford, 2002)
Secondary Sources
B Abou-El-Haj, The Medieval Cult of Saints: Formations and Transformations (Cambridge, 1994)

R Aigrain, L'hagiographie: ses méthodes, son histoire (Paris, 1953)

Peter Brown, 'The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity', Journal of the Roman Society, 61 (1971), 80-101

Peter Brown, The Cult of the Saints. Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (London, 1981)

H Delehaye (trans. D Attwater), The Legends of the Saints (London, 1962)

Jacques Dubois & Jean-Loup Lemaitre, Sources et méthodes de l'hagiographie médiévale (Paris, 1993)

Paul Fouracre, 'Merovingian History and Merovingian Hagiography', Past and Present, 127 (May 1990), 3-38

Patrick Geary, Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages (Ithaca NY, 1994)

Patrick Geary, Furta Sacra. Thefts of Relics in the Central Middle Ages (Princeton, 1978; second edition 1990)

Frantisek Graus, Volk, Herrscher und Heiliger im Reich der Merowinger. Studeien zur Hagiographie der Merowingerzeit (Prague, 1965)

Thomas Head, Hagiography and the Cult of Saints. The Diocese of Orleans 800-1200 (Cambridge, 1990)

Thomas Heffernan, Sacred Biography. Saints and their Biographers in the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1988)

Martin Heinzelmann, 'Translationsberichte und andere Quellen des Reliquienkultes', Typologie des Sources du Moyen Âge, 33 (Turnhout, 1979)

James Howard-Johnston & Paul Antony Hayward (eds.), The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Oxford, 1999)

Felice Lifshitz, 'Beyond Positivism and Genre: "Hagiographic" Texts as Historical Narrative', Viator, 25 (1994), 95-114

André Mandouze, André Vauchez, et al., Histoire des saints et de la sainteté chrétienne 11 vols (Paris, 1986-88)

G. Philippart, 'Hagiographes et hagiographie, hagiologes et hagiologie; des mots et des concepts', Hagiographica, 1 (1994), 1-16

G. Philippart (ed.), Hagiographies: Histoire internationale de la littérature hagiographique latine et vernaculaire en Occident des origines à 1550, 4 vols. (Corpus Christianorum, Turnhout, 1994-present)

Gertrud Schiller, Ikonographie der christlichen Kunst, 5 vols (Gütersloh, 1966-91)

Jane Schulenburg, "Forgetful of Their Sex": Female Sanctity and Society ca. 500-1100 (Chicago, 1998)

JMH Smith, 'Oral and Written: Saints, Miracles and Relics in Brittany c. 850-1250', Speculum, 65 (1990), 309-43

Clare Stancliffe, Saint Martin and His Hagiographer: History and Miracle in Sulpicius Severus (Oxford, 1983)

Alan Thacker & Richard Sharpe (eds.), Local Saints and Local Churches in the Early Medieval West (Oxford, 2002)

M Van Uytfanghe, Stylisation biblique et condition humaine dans l'hagiographie mérovingienne (600-750), Verhandelingen van de Koniklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schonen Kunsten van België, Klasse der Letteren, 49/120 (Brussels, 1987)

Iosepho Vizzini et al. (eds.), Bibliotheca Sanctorum, 13 vols (1935-59)

Paul Szarmach (ed.), Holy Men and Holy Women: Old English Prose Saints' Lives and Their Contexts (Albany NY, 1996)

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