Saints and Sanctity

In most of its forms, Christianity has been a religion focused on the salvation of individuals. This has meant that its churches have questioned what sort of people, and which specific persons, are saved; and so have tried to describe the qualities of such 'saints'. The debates involved have ranged through the outward signs of salvation, whether saints can be identified in this life or after their deaths, whether their often extraordinary lives should serve as examples for a wider Christian public, and whether saints have a power that they can exercise on their own initiative or are owed a particular devotion. This collection of essays provides a stimulating sample of recent historical research on Christianity's approach to these questions. It spans the earliest construction of personal sanctity in the Eastern and Western traditions, the 'golden age' of saintly cults in the medieval period, post-Reformation debates about the role of saints, and the meaning of canonization within a variety of churches in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It therefore provides insight into a key issue of Christian history which (as the later essays show) still has a huge influence on ecclesiastical practice and politics. PETER CLARKE is Reader in Medieval History at Southampton University. TONY CLAYDON is Professor of Early Modern History at Bangor University. BR> Contributors: ROBERT ANDREWS, CLYDE BINFIELD, FRANS CIAPPARA, AUDE DE MEZERAC-ZANETTI, SOPHIA DEBOICK, BERNARD HAMILTON, MARGARET HARVEY, JOY HAWKINS, COLIN HAYDON, JOSEPHINE LAFFIN, PAK-WAH LAI, OLIVER LOGAN, ANDREW LOUTH, ELENA MARTIN, MAUREEN MILLER, GESINE OPPITZ-TROTMAN, ARIANA PATEY, PATRICK PRESTON, RICHARD PRICE, SAM RICHES, SALVADOR RYAN, SARAH SCUTTS, ROWAN STRONG, KATHARINE SYKES, ALAN THACKER, ALEXIS TORRANCE, PETER TURNER, CHRISTINE WALSH, MICHAEL WALSH, CORDELIA WARR, MARTIN WELLINGS, CHRIS WILSON