Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints' Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints' Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Article excerpt

Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints' Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Edited by Thomas E X. Noble and Thomas Head. (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press. 1995. Pp. xliv, 383. $50.00 clothbound; $18.95 paperback.)

One of the most exciting developments in medieval studies over the past twenty years has been the immense growth in the study of sainthood and its place in the spiritual, social, and political life of an emerging Europe. This scholarship has inspired teachers to introduce the study of hagiography and of saints' cults to their students at both graduate and undergraduate levels. In Soldiers of Christ, Thomas Noble and Thomas Head have produced a book which will be of considerable value to those teachers and their students, as well as to the general reader. They have brought together for the first time English translations of eleven saints' Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Only one of the translations is new; the editors' chief concern is rather to make existing translations accessible to students by presenting them in one volume and by supplying short prefaces, explanatory notes, and a general introduction to hagiography and the cult of saints.

The hagiographical texts themselves take the reader to the heart of Christian culture in a period when "the European identity was formed from its Roman, Christian, and Germanic elements" (p. xliv). They should be viewed with what Robert Bartlett has termed a binocular vision"-one which focuses both on the development of hagiography as literary genre and on hagiography as a source which might help us to answer a wide range of historical questions.1 The collection begins with three works, including the highly influential Life of St. Martin of Tours by Sulpicius Severus, which demonstrate the several traditions of Late Antique hagiography. A second group of texts-by far the largestaffords extensive insight into Carolingian hagiography, presenting Lives of those who evangelized the pagan Frisians and Saxons or furthered the organization of the Frankish church. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.