Session531
TitleBetween the Living and the Dead: Devotion, Miracles, and Transcending Death in Religious Communities
Date/TimeTuesday 5 July 2022: 09.00-10.30
 
SponsorTrinity College Dublin
 
OrganiserElysée Yhuel, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin
 
Moderator/ChairBenjamin Savill, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin
 
Paper 531-a Miracles of Life and Death in Breton Hagiography, c.700-1100
(Language: English)
Elysée Yhuel, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin
Index Terms: Hagiography; Monasticism; Religious Life
Paper 531-b 'Indeed, such things have not been seen among mortals': Christina Mirabilis and Interactions between the Living and Dead in the Works of Thomas of Cantimpré
(Language: English)
Samantha Sandy, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin
Index Terms: Hagiography; Monasticism; Religious Life
Paper 531-c On the Take: Bribery and Blackmail in Medieval Hagiographies
(Language: English)
Kara Kersh, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin
Index Terms: Hagiography; Monasticism; Religious Life
 
AbstractPaper -a: Breton hagiographies are the richest texts that provide insight into religious and lay communities in medieval Brittany. Yet, there is no study that focuses on miracles of life and death in Breton saints' lives. This paper will look at miracles involving life and death in several Breton hagiographies that date between 700-1100, examining what attitudes towards death were, who could wield the power of life or death, what was considered a good or bad death, and the communality of death. It will provide a better understanding of the rituals and beliefs surrounding death in a medieval Breton context.

Paper -b: This paper explores interactions between the dead and the living through the work of Dominican hagiographer, Thomas of Cantimpré (1201-1272) with a focus on his vita of the twice-resurrected saint, Christina Mirabilis. Her life is unique among the other holy women in Thomas's hagiographical corpus in its absence of bridal and courtship imagery, the lack of divine visions after her resurrection, and her violent physical aversion to the living world. These elements suggest a direct communication and intercessory relationship with God achieved after her first death in a way that the other holy women of Liège featured in Thomas' work only achieve as they are dying. In analysing her life among the vitae of other holy women, it is possible to better understand the role of the dead in Thomas of Cantimpré's works and personal purgatorial devotion.

Paper -c: Hagiographies showed the benevolence and mercy someone could attain through humble entreatment. They demonstrated to petitioners the merits, virtues, and powers saints used to help those on earth. Sometimes, however, a more sordid side to the miracle industry seeped through their writings, as saints and petitioners pressured each other into getting what they wanted. This paper will explore how, ignoring the conventional etiquette boundaries between the holy dead and the carnal living, bribery, blackmail, and outright threats were used by saints and sinners alike to influence the outcome of miracles and why hagiographers would choose to include these types of stories.