Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Rescue of the Innocents: Endangered Children in Medieval Miracles

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Rescue of the Innocents: Endangered Children in Medieval Miracles

Article excerpt

The Rescue of the Innocents: Endangered Children in Medieval Miracles. By Ronald C. Finucane. (NewYork: St. Martin's Press. 1997. Pp. xii, 268. $49.95.)

In recent years, historians have discovered the value of medieval miracle collections as a rich source for the study of such themes as family structure, gender relations, folk medicine, and popular religion. Following the introduction of papal canonization in the twelfth century, legal and medical standards were applied to the recording and verification of the miracle, which was often based on the eyewitness testimony of those persons who had experienced or participated in a miraculous event. Such detailed testimony permits a microhistorical reconstruction of the daily concerns and mental world not only of the clergy and nobility, but also of the unlettered classes

In this volume, Ronald Finucane skillfully examines over six hundred miracles reported in eight major collections (some still in manuscript form) from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, including those of Thomas Becket, Louis of Toulouse, Thomas Cantilupe, Dorothy of Montau, King Henry VI, Chiara of Montefalco, Nicholas of Tolentino, and Pope Urban V He focuses particularly on childbirth and the complications of neonatal existence, pregnancy, illnesses and accidents involving children. The expressions of grief and parental love, the concern to revive an injured or fatally ill child voiced in these sources, and the varied cultic practices and healing techniques employed to ensure the safety of the young, provide graphic documentary illustration of those attitudes and practices found in contemporary medical, philosophical, theological, literary and hagiographical sources. …

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.