The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: Essays on the Contribution of Peter Brown

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This book contains eleven essays, prefaced by a general introduction, on a set of related themes: the characteristic traits and diverse functions of holy men; the fashioning of saints out of a small minority of holy men and a number of other individuals of high social status but with more dubious spiritual credentials; the literary processes involved in the construction of hagiographical texts; the role of hagiography in the creation and diffusion of cults; and the worldly interests and other purposes which were served by hagiographical texts and the cults which they propagated. These themes are explored across a wide range of social and cultural milieux, extending from the late antique east Mediterranean through the early medieval Frankish world and Byzantium to Russia and Islam in the high middle ages. The work of Peter Brown, in particular his article, 'The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity', first published in 1971, forms a constant point of reference, acknowledged by the contributors as having irradiated the whole field with fresh, provocative, and illuminating ideas.