By Lawrence S. Cunningham
A quick background of Saints follows the increase of the cult of saints in Christianity from its beginning within the age of the martyrs all the way down to the current day.Refers to either famous saints, resembling Joan of Arc, and lesser-known figures just like the ‘holy fools’ within the Orthodox traditionRanges over matters as various because the heritage of canonization procedures, the Reformation critique of the cult of saints, and the function of saints in different non secular traditionsDiscusses the relevance of sainthood within the postmodern eraTwo appendices describe shopper saints and the iconography of saints in paintings.
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Additional info for A Brief History of Saints (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion)
14). Saints were also considered to be patrons in heaven. In a feudal society, in which there was a strong hierarchical structure of class dependent on class, to have a patron (the local lord, the beneﬁcent landowner, the prince or king) was to enjoy protection. That notion of patron was extended to the saint, who now stood 46 The Bureaucratization of Sanctity as an intercessor in heaven. This emphasis on the patron gave rise to the widespread custom of designating a particular saint to be the patron of a given occupation (Saint Crispin for shoemakers; Saints Cosmas and Damien for physicians; Saint George for warriors, and so on) or to be invoked in case of a particular need (Saint Apollonia for toothache).
In some now classic studies, Peter Brown has shown how these holy men and women of late antiquity were seen as conduits of divine power and resources of wisdom and healing. 10 Athanasius’ Life of Antony was only the ﬁrst of a whole spate of popular books on the great ascetics and monastics which appeared in late antiquity. ), who was said to be a friend of Saint Antony of the Desert. The monastic founder Pachomius (died 346) inspired a number of lives which have come down to us both in Coptic and Greek.
Any person who peruses this enormously inﬂuential work will ﬁnd in it a farrago of improbable, and not always edifying, miraculous The Bureaucratization of Sanctity 33 stories with some of such exaggeration that Jacobus himself was forced to admit that some of what he reported was probably not true. 2 The legenda, in many cases, were the written record of stories, fanciful etymologies, folktales, and exempla which had agglutinated into a (fanciful) whole. There has been a scholarly industry, going back into the seventeenth century, attempting to untangle such stories and looking for a possible historical core.
A Brief History of Saints (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion) by Lawrence S. Cunningham