Hagiography

Lives of Saints

{hag-ee-ahg'-ruh-fee}

General Information

Hagiography is the writing of the lives of Saints. Generally the written lives of saints resemble the style of other writings of the same period but with the intention of demonstrating the power and holiness present in the saints' lives, especially the miracles attributed to them. In the 17th century, a group of Jesuits who became known as the Bollandists set about scientifically studying the sources of saints' lives. Their work was successful in bringing to light the historical situations of saints' lives, enabling scholars to separate legend from fact. Modern hagiographers use the methods of contemporary biographical writing, studying extant sources and assessing their historical worth.

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Joan A. Range

Bibliography:
Delehaye, Hippolyte, The Legends of the Saints (1902; trans. by Donald Attwater, 1974).


The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.

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