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Religion Compass 7/1 (2013): 114, 10.1111/rec3.

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Hagiography and Early Medieval History1


Anna Taylor*
University of Massachusetts

Abstract

In the rst half of the 1990s, several scholars challenged the idea of hagiography as a genre in late antiquity and the early and central Middle Ages. Focusing on pre-twelfth-century Latin narratives about saints, I briey survey scholarship from the last two decades and consider how it has engaged with this issue. Using examples of neglected and unusual hagiographic texts, I explore the possibilities and limitations of alternative approaches. Hagiography is a modern construct that is often treated as a medieval reality. Not only hagiography, but the idea of genre itself, is overly restrictive for understanding the great diversity of writings about saints. Anachronistic ideas of hagiography and genre have obscured the creativity of many works and the uidity of literary traditions. Instead of appealing to modern classications, we need to pay attention to the full range of evidence for the multiple literary traditions that writers, readers, and scribes invoked, and for the various uses to which they put the individual works.

In the middle of the ninth century, the monk Ermenric wrote a long rambling letter to his prospective patron Grimald (ed. Goullet 2008). This letter, which ranges across numerous learned topics, concludes with passages drawn from Ermenrics verse life of Saint Gall. Scholars have usually dismissed this work as a lunatics incoherent ravings (Brunho lzl 1991, p. 122).2 Another Latin text that has often deed scholarly understanding is the Bella Parisiacae Urbis, which Abbo, monk of Saint-Germain, composed in three books of epic verse (ed. Dass 2007). The rst two books recount the late-ninth-century Viking attacks on Paris and include miraculous interventions by the citys patron saints. The short third book presents a series of moral aphorisms in willfully obscure vocabulary. Since Abbo was an eyewitness, historians have relied on his account of the attacks, but have largely ignored the inconvenient third book (Lendinara 1986, p. 74), which seems to contribute nothing to our knowledge of late-ninth-century history, and which implicitly threatens the assumption that the previous two books are history as we know it. A third troublesome work is the account of the rst dukes of Normandy, De moribus et actis primorum Normannie ducum (ed. Lair 1865), which Dudo of Saint-Quentin completed around 1015. Composed in Latin prose interspersed with verse, it draws on both Virgils Aeneid and Heirics verse life of Saint Germanus of Auxerre (Searle 1984; Shopkow 1989). Historians have often disparaged Dudo due to the liberties he takes with the facts. These three works slip through the cracks. They belong to no known genre. All are, in some way, related to verse saints lives, themselves a neglected type of saints lives (Dolbeau 2002; Tilliette 1989). Despite the great scholarly interest in writings about saints, historians have for the most part ignored, dismissed, or cherry picked these verse lives for evidence without considering the signicance of their poetic form (e.g. Deug 2005, pp. 127, 129; but cf. Dolbeau 2003; Lapidge 1989, 198990, Su 1990; Uge 2003).3
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Such texts are neglected since they fall outside conventional understandings of hagiography, the genre comprising writings about saints. In the last two decades, some scholars have noted that hagiography is in fact an anachronistic label with no medieval counterpart. That it is not a medieval category does not automatically render it useless, since our analyses are frequently based on ideas alien to medieval understanding. There clearly are connections (formal, intertextual, and functional) among many works termed hagiography. The problem is one of slippage modern scholarship often treats the notion as a medieval reality rather than a modern denition. Despite its limitations, hagiography gives us a way of talking about an overwhelming mass of material. As Berschin observed, we are unlikely to be rid of such a useful term.4 Although hagiography as a genre is problematic, it is clear, on the one hand, that medieval readers, writers, and scribes saw the works as part of broader literary traditions and, on the other, that we need ways of organizing and understanding the overwhelming textual residue of the past. We are faced, then, with two related questions: how did medieval people think about these texts and how can we organize and understand them? Dening Hagiography Modern scholars use the term hagiography to designate both a body of literature (writings about saints) and the study of those sources (some scholars designate the latter hagiology to avoid this confusion) (Henriet 2003, p. 75; Philippart 1994b, p. 14). The corpus of hagiography (in the former sense) has been dened either by function (promoting saints cults), or by its content (saints) (Delehaye 1961, p. 2; Head 1990, p. 433).5 By either definition, hagiography covers a vast number of texts, perhaps the greater part of medieval literature (Fouracre 1990, p. 3). It includes narratives such as saints lives, passions, miracle collections, visions, inventions (accounts of the relics discovery), and translations (stories about the transfer of a saints relics to a new home) (Geary 1996, pp. 3, 8; Philippart 1994b, p. 2).6 Some scholars also include less studied non-narrative liturgical works, such as martyrologies, litanies, and calendars (Dolbeau 1992, p. 49; 1999, p. 24). Although hagiographic works are sometimes derided for their formulaic nature (manifested in heavy borrowings), they can also, and even simultaneously, exhibit great diversity. Individual subcategories of hagiography can cover a wide array of works. For example, Latin prose lives (often labeled vitae) include Jeromes fantastic life of the apocryphal desert hermit Paul (featuring a centaur and a Christian satyr) and realistic biographies of Renaissance saints written by their contemporaries. Scholars have traced the study of hagiography from its early modern beginnings (Ashley & Sheingorn 1999, pp. 816; Delehaye 1920; Dolbeau 1999; Fouracre 1990; Geary 1996; Heffernan 1988, pp. 5567; Kitchen 1998, pp. 321; Lifshitz 1994; Philippart 1994b; Smith 1992). Earlier positivist historians either ignored writings about saints or selectively mined them for factual nuggets, which they claimed to extract from the often fantastic stories (Lifshitz 1994, p. 95). In the later twentieth century, medieval scholars applied various methodologies to these works to explore a wide range of ideas and practices. These scholars usually read the texts for evidence of the writers contexts, rather than for the past they claimed to represent (Bloch 1954, pp. 523; Graus 1965; Derouet 1976; Fouracre 1990). Browns anthropologically informed work on the late antique holy man (1971, 1981, 1983), and Bynums explorations of gender, piety, and the body (1982, 1987, 1991) have been particularly inuential. Medieval studies emphasis on alterity since the 1980s has also encouraged the focus on the marvelous and, therefore, the saintly (Freedman 1995; Freedman & Spiegel 1998).
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I will not offer another survey of the early scholarship, but rather consider developments since the early to mid 1990s when several scholars challenged the idea of hagiography as a genre, particularly for pre-twelfth-century literature (cf. Henriet 2003, pp. 80, 85). I focus on scholarship concerning Latin works from the earlier Middle Ages since ideas about sacred and secular narratives changed around the twelfth century (on this shift, see Lifshitz 1994).7 I will outline the challenge to hagiography, then briey review recent scholarship before considering responses to the problem. Finally, I will suggest some alternative approaches, returning to the texts with which I began verse lives and related works to suggest the possibilities and limitations of these approaches. Challenging Hagiography While some scholars lamented the fragmented focus and methodologies of hagiographic scholarship (Geary 1996, p. 22; Kitchen 1998, p. 6; Smith 1992, p. 69), others asked whether the genre existed at all (Heinzelmann 2002; Philippart 1994b, 1998; Van Uytfanghe 1993 for parallel debates about miracula). The term, applied to writings about saints, is a post-medieval coinage and, since ideas of genre are culturally bound, they cannot necessarily be applied across times and cultures (Lifshitz 1994, p. 106). Before the twelfth century, the term hagiographia, literally holy writing, was applied exclusively to parts of Scripture (Heinzelmann 1991; Philippart 1994b, pp. 35).8 Later it was used of holy writings more generally, but not specically those on saints (Philippart 1994b, pp. 811; 1998, pp. 127).9 Lifshitz (1994, p. 98), in addition to tracing the modern genesis of the denition, shows that writers and readers in the early and central Middle Ages did not distinguish between hagiographic and historical genres (also Dolbeau 1992, p. 50). Narratives we describe as histories are full of the saintly and miraculous (Fuchs 2002; Heinzelmann 2002), and saints lives provide accounts of institutional, regional, and dynastic history (Henriet 2003, p. 80).10 Accordingly, modern scholars sometimes have great difculty in differentiating between the two (e.g. De Gaifer 1970; Leonardi 2008, p. 196). Smith (1992, p. 71) observes the uidity and malleability of the hagiographical genre without explicitly raising the question of whether we should in fact consider it a genre. Recent Scholarship Despite these issues, scholars have continued to use writings about saints for exploring aspects of the writers culture, politics, and mental universe (Ritari 2009, p. 10), such ky & Helvetius 1999; Vanderas ritual, social negotiations, and the uses of literacy (Bozo putten 2000, 2005, 2011). Three main themes emerge in the recent scholarship: engagement with the texts rhetorical aspects, an interest in redactions, and attention to manuscripts. Inuenced by literary theory, medieval historians, especially scholars of gender, have shown an increasing awareness of the rhetorical and formal properties of the texts (Geary 1996, p. 10). Although some feminist historians have continued to study the experience of religious women in positivist terms (e.g. McNamara 1996; Schulenburg 1998), others have employed more sophisticated readings. Kitchen (1998, pp. 134), who advocates close readings and cross-disciplinary approaches, shows that the claim of distinctively female religious experiences or representations of piety cannot be based on reading only woman-authored and -centered sources (also Schulenburg 1998, p. 49; Van Engen 2002, p. 499). Challenging earlier work on Merovingian female saints, he carefully compares texts by and about women with those pertaining to their male counterparts to distinguish
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the features attributable to sanctity rather than gender. Coon (1997), reading late antique and early medieval lives of female saints, describes how writers created sacred ctions based on biblical models. Other recent scholarship, particularly on late antiquity, has engaged with queer, post-colonial, and monster theory to explore the construction and transgression of gender in the lives of saints (Burrus 2004; Martin & Miller 2005; Miller 1996, 2003, 2009). In accordance with more nuanced readings of rhetoric, scholars have stressed the extent to which the texts reect other texts rather than reality (Spiegel 1990). Ashley and Sheingorn (1999, p. 18), in particular, assert the need for an interdisciplinary tool kit of methodologies to understand the works complicated intertextuality. Using social semiotics (Ashley & Sheingorn 1999, p. 18) to read the eleventh-century miracle collections of Saint Foy, they show that apparently incidental details of the kind often used for social history (e.g. by Bitel 1990; Schulenburg 1998, p. 49) are actually the erudite authors rhetorical constructions, as are the texts supposedly folkloric or popular elements. A second thread in recent scholarship is the continued emphasis on redactions. With the interest in hagiography as a source for the writers context rather than the saint, scholarly attention shifted from the search for the original Ur-text to the examination of the permutations of the narrative (Lifshitz 1994, p. 95). French scholarship, especially, has focused on the writers, as evidenced by the series Hagiographies (Philippart 1994a), a reference work of essays on Latin and vernacular works from antiquity until the sixteenth century (also Bauer & Herbers 2000). The project Sources hagioges en Gaule avant lan mil (=SHG), aims to assemble scholarraphiques narratives compose ship on the composition, diffusion, and transmission of all relevant texts (Heinzelmann 1992, 2001; Heinzelmann et al. 1987). The SHGs approach is evident in other works from the same circle of scholars (Dolbeau 1992; Poulin 2009). The interest in redace criture hagiographique dans lOccident me die val (Goullet & tion is most overt in La re Heinzelmann 2003), which draws on Genettes (1997) literary theory to explore the intertextual relationships between the hypotexts and the hypertexts (also Goullet 2005). Recent monographs also focus on rewritings.11 Historians interested in the creation of a usable past, examine how writers transformed stories of saints in order to serve the present (eds. Hen & Innes 2000). Drawing on innovative models from the 1990s (Farmer 1991; Head 1990; Lifshitz 1995; Remensnyder 1995; Van Dam 1993), scholars continue to examine how the stories of holy patrons, retold in specic regions, addressed contem 2005). porary concerns, such as local rivalries (e.g. Couser 2007; Herrick 2007; Uge Abou-El-Haj (1994) examines how the illumination cycles of the earlier lives of Saint Amand reshaped the narrative. We also see increased attention to the physical aspects of the textual transmission. Medieval historians have been considering the manuscript as a generator of meaning (e.g. McKitterick 2004; Reimitz 2000), rather than simply a container for the text. Scribal activities, such as abridging and arranging, have been recognized as authorial acts (Ashley & Sheingorn 1999, p. 8; Geary 1996, p. 14). The digital project Bibliotheca hagiographica latina manuscripta (=BHLms) has catalogued many manuscripts of the works listed in the volumes of the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina (=BHL) (18981901, 1986), the catalogue of Latin texts about saints. The publications of the SHG, noted above, contribute to this endeavor by including manuscript descriptions. Various scholars have grounded their discussions of saintly narrative in considerations and analyses of the manuscripts (Dolbeau 1992; Philippart 1992; Philippart & Trigalet 2002, 2008).
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Historians and the Hagiography Problem We now turn to how recent scholars have responded to the issue of hagiography. The round-table discussion No More Hagiography? at the 2000 Leeds International Medieval Congress reected on the implications of Lifshitzs article, attesting to its inuence. Some scholars have overtly addressed the issue (e.g. Ashley & Sheingorn 1999). In other cases, it is not clear whether scholars have engaged with it, since, unless they overtly raise the issue, the only evidence of a post-hagiographic approach may be the absence of references to or assumptions about hagiography as a genre.12 The interrogation of the rhetorical strategies of individual works (rather than an appeal to how hagiography as a whole operates) suggests a tacit acknowledgment of their complexity and plurality. Similarly, the historians who employ hagiographic sources among others to reconstruct how medieval writers recreated their past (Henriet 2003, p. 81), implicitly understand hagiography as a form of history writing, even if they do not interrogate the term (e.g. Licence 2009). Still other scholars continue to invoke hagiography as though it were an unproblematic medieval category (e.g. Schulenburg 1998).13 A search of the International Medieval Bibliography shows the words continuing vitality.14 In 2005, a reviewer could refer to hagiography as a well-dened genre (OLoughlin 2005, p. 269). Kitchen (1998), grounding his analysis in a scathing indictment of contemporary scholarship for awed assumptions and inadequate rigor, calls for a scientic and systematic approach that can adequately handle the totality that is hagiographic literature (Kitchen 1998, p. 8). It is surprising, therefore, that despite including Lifshitzs (1994) article in his bibliography he does not consider in what sense this literature is in fact a totality. These examples suggest that some scholars continue to consider hagiography not simply as a useful term but a medieval reality. Alternatives Some scholars, recognizing the exceptionally diverse (Mooney 1999, p. 2) forms of hagiography, have reframed it as a set of genres. Head (2000, p. xiv) noting the relatively modern vintage of the term, states it is best to consider hagiography not so much as a single genre, but as a collection of genres. Replacing hagiography with more specic terms can be helpful, for example Mooneys (1999) emphasis on the need to approach the various kinds of texts differently, and Hahns (2001) division of her analysis of illuminated lives according to the type of saint. In adopting more precise categories, scholars commonly employ the Latin terms (vita, passio, miracula, etc.) used by the BHL. Presumably the use of the Latin represents an attempt not only to group texts with similar examples, but also to adhere more closely to medieval denitions. This approach has the advantage of avoiding broad generalizations about hagiography, but it does not solve the problem of anachronism, since these delineations do not always correspond to established medieval terms or divisions. (For example, the term vita metrica, which the BHL uses to describe lives written in verse, is not, to my knowledge, used in the early or central Middle Ages.) In order to categorize the large number of texts, the BHL applies standardized titles, which obscure the true diversity of both names and forms while cloaking their modernity in Latin nomenclature. Further, these categories appear to circumscribe modern scholarship: works, such as those noted above, which fall outside the BHLs basic classications, are often neglected.

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Instead of the BHLs subcategories, we can consider the language used by medieval scribes and writers, although we cannot simply substitute the latter for the former, since the terms used in manuscripts are unstable and inconsistent. (For example, a twelfthcentury manuscript calls Hilduins ninth-century poem on Dionysius a vita, although the work ends with the saints martyrdom, making it what is more usually called a passio.)15 Instead, we should look closely at how medieval people expressed their understanding of individual works. To do this, we can examine the form, function, and context of the works, using codicological evidence, statements and implications within the texts, and responses to them. Close examination of the manuscripts offers a corrective to the imposition of our own categories on the medieval material (Geary 1996, p. 11). The codicological approach helps us understand how compilers and scribes perceived the function of particular works and how readers experienced them. For example, the single medieval copy of Ermenrics letter, with its fragments of his verse life of Saint Gall, is contained in his addressees personal collection of teaching texts, the manuscript Sankt-Gallen SB MS 265 (Bischoff 1981, pp. 2001). The pedagogical context is key to understanding the strange letter, which in fact represents the writer at work in a classroom (Taylor forthcoming). Codicological examination also reveals the changing functions of Letselins verse life of Saint py (ed. Harster 1887, pp. 86126). Arnulf copied at the saints eponymous monastery in Cre In the eleventh-century manuscript Paris BN MS 10851, the life (glossed with teaching notes) is followed by a diagram of the heavens (a Descriptio Poli), which complements the lifes astronomical descriptions. The teaching notes and the diagram strongly suggest that the life was originally part of a schoolbook, before it was bound with other works on Arnulf produced in the same scriptorium. By investigating manuscript context, we can explore not just who read or heard the texts, but how. A patron viewing a vita in a luxury manuscript illustrated with episodes from the saints life would have a very different experience from a young oblate hearing the same text being glossed in a classroom or an adult monk or nun engaged in hushed devotional reading. Along with growing interest in interiority (e.g. Fulton 2002; Justice 2008; Rosenwein 1998), medievalists have examined the mechanisms of memory and the specics of pedagogical practice (Carruthers 1990, 1998; Grotans 2006), and have discussed how experiences of texts shaped individual minds and broader communities (Irvine 1994; Stock 1983). Drawing on such work in conjunction with the manuscripts, we can consider the affective and cognitive reception of the text (Hahn 2001; Taylor 2005). Different ways of receiving and storing texts imparted different levels of importance to them. (For example, as MacCormack 1998, has shown, the texts learned in youth thoroughly permeated the adult mind.) Further evidence for how contemporaries understood a work comes from the text itself and responses to it. Writers used form, allusion, and explicit statements to position their works in various literary traditions. Writers of what I have called verse lives, for example, drew on conventions, tropes, and formulae that signaled their afliation with verse lives and other works, including Classical epic. The verse lives are most commonly written in epic dactylic hexameter and feature highly classicizing and recondite language, a large proportion of direct speech, and copious digressions (Tilliette 1989, pp. 38896). In addition to positioning their works in relation to other prose and verse lives, the writers and readers of verse vitae appealed to a broader range of traditions, implicitly through allusions, and explicitly through their own statements.16 Fortunatus (writing ca. 575) places his verse life of Martin in a lineage of biblical epic poetry (ed. Leo 1881, pp. 2956; Roberts 2001, p. 259). In the early ninth century, the monk Candid Brun says he
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modeled his paired verse and prose vitae of Eligius on Hraban Maurs verse and prose in praise of the cross (ed. Du mmler 1884, p. 94; on twinned works see Godman 1981; Wieland 1981). Writers also attribute varied functions to their works. Ermenric says he writes his letter as a theological exegesis on friendship, to educate the young, and to acquire patronage for his verse life. Abbo claims he wrote the rst two books of the Bella Parisiacae Urbis as a literary exercise and a guide for defenders against the Vikings, while the third book was for improving a young clerics morals and vocabulary (Lendinara 1986, p. 75). In these two instances, the works various functions may be united by the tradition of verse saints lives as pedagogical texts. The apparently chaotic core of Ermenrics letter is actually a depiction of him glossing his putative verse life in the classroom (Taylor forthcoming). Abbos third book was a popular school text (Lendinara 2006), but his rst two books may also have been used in the classroom. As epic poetry featuring battles and saints, they resembled Virgils Aeneid and verse saints lives, which were ninth-century school texts. Further, the young Abbos composition of the work as a literary exercise may have been a variation on the composition of a verse saints life as a qualifying examination at the end of a students education (Lapidge 1989 90, p. 260). The manuscript contexts, the texts themselves, and the responses to them all suggest not only that hagiography and its subcategories are too concrete, but that the very notion of genre implies a rmer set of boundaries than medieval writers, readers, and copyists observed. Here Jausss term horizon of expectations is a useful alternative. The horizon designates a exible and evolving body of ideas about style, form, and content, that a reader (or auditor) derives from texts, rather than a set of rules (Roberts 2001, p. 258; Jauss 1982, p. 88). The author, excerpter, or scribe is not constrained by these expectations, but can challenge and transform them in numerous ways. Unlike a genre, which is an abstraction imposed upon the material, the horizon of expectations is the product of real ongoing negotiations in specic times and places. This more exible and less familiar term encourages the modern reader to keep in mind the mutable and contingent nature of the categories. A work could participate in multiple literary traditions and perform multiple functions. We can envision it at the intersection of the overlapping circles of a Venn diagram representing its functions and forms. Such a schema would show for example, how Ermenrics letter to Grimald combines elements of exegesis, the didactic manual, the teaching gloss, and the epic saints life. Abbos Bella Parisiacae Urbis works as school text, historical epic poetry, saints deeds, and moral instruction. Dudos De moribus drew on Virgilian epic and verse saints lives to write a history. His text makes sense in the absence of rm generic divisions between history, hagiography, and epic. He does not attempt a precise record of the past, but drawing on Virgils Roman foundation story and Heirics verse life, he imagines a new epic and saintly originary narrative for his Norman patrons. Even a diagrammatic understanding may be too static since, as the manuscript containing Letselins life of Arnulf shows, a works function and context could change. In this case, a better visual metaphor than a Venn diagram would be a kaleidoscopic vision of shifting and overlapping circles, representing that the medieval understanding of the text and its functions were subject to ongoing manipulations by writers, readers, and scribes. Implications If we discard hagiography as a genre, we gain a greater sensitivity to the diversity and uidity of texts subsumed under the category and to the creativity with which writers drew
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on disparate traditions to create not only new texts, but as in the examples given, new forms. Medieval literary creativity, often masked by the authors heavy borrowings, is sometimes regarded as an oxymoron (e.g. Greene 1982), but an awareness of the intersection of literary traditions shows us an artistry expressed through the subtle and intricate recombination of sources. Readers and scribes also approached the works in innovative ways, reinterpreting them for new purposes in different contexts. Abandoning hagiography as a genre also requires us to rethink how we use sources now usually classied as historical. If, as Lifshitz asserts, there was not a clear generic boundary between the two kinds of narrative, then we must ask whether historical fact could be subordinated to spiritual truth just as well in the copying of a chronicle as in the imaginative rewriting of a saints life. Methods of positivist source analysis now largely deemed inadequate for isolating facts from ction in hagiography may not be sufcient for performing the same task on the historical works often by the same authors. So, to return to some of the questions with which I began, can we use the term hagiography, and if not, how should we talk about the texts? Like another controversial modern construction, feudalism, hagiography is a reductive term that simplies the complex reality to the point of distortion. We might use it not to designate a genre, but simply as a convenient shorthand for narratives about saints (Frazier 2003, p. 171, n. 3), but after considering the hugely varied works the term subsumes, we may nd less reason to invoke it at all. Simply substituting a less wieldy paraphrase, such as texts about saints or hagiographical discourse (Van Uytfanghe 1993) is not in itself a solution, although these terms are preferable, since they are not easily mistaken for medieval categories. Language structures comprehension and the practice of avoiding the simplistic term hagiography forces one to think more specically about the functions and traditions that inform a given work. Recent scholarship on production, interpretation and reinscription, on intertextuality within and among saints dossiers, and on the mechanics of comprehension contributes to a more complicated picture and allows us to consider the individual text in relation to its historical context, its broad literary heritage, and its range of uses, rather than assuming it belongs to a known and self-evident category. The idea of hagiography as a self-evident genre or group of genres in the early and central Middle Ages excludes the more unusual works that do not conform to our classications and marginalizes the narratives on saintly subjects from the mainstream of medieval historical writing. Further, the assumption of a stable category shared by writers, compilers, copyists, and readers obscures the mutability and originality of many texts. It elides the different ways they were interpreted and used, their participation in multiple literary traditions, and their inclusion in various manuscript contexts. The diverse, sometimes highly individual works require varied approaches. We want overarching pictures, scholarly narratives in which to locate our specic investigations, and broad frameworks for understanding our texts, but we must not reify our categories or mistake them for reality. Notes
* Correspondence address: Anna Taylor, Department of History, Herter Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 161 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA 01003-9312, USA. E-mail: annat@history.umass.edu
1

I thank Felice Lifshitz and Alison Frazier for generously sharing their thoughts on this topic. I also thank Martha Newman and the anonymous reader, who both provided extremely useful suggestions. All errors remain my own. 2 Exceptions are Casarettos articles (e.g. 1997), which largely focus on the literary elements of Ermenrics letter. Coon (2003) examines another unusual life by Ermenric.

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3 4

Some work has been done from a literary perspective (e.g. Kirsch 2004; Roberts 2001). Walter Berschin made this observation at the round-table discussion No More Hagiography? at the 2000 Leeds International Medieval Congress. Alison Frazier, personal communication, December 2011. 5 Delehayes denition is problematic since many narratives about saints do not seem intended to promote the cult (Lifshitz 1994, p. 97; Smith 1992, p. 71). 6 pigraphiques, translations et annonces Philippart (1994b, p. 2) lists hymnes et visions, biographies et inscriptions e pitaphes, prie ` res martyrologiques, sermons et miracles, inventions et passions, autobiographies et lettres, contes et e loges et chroniques, exempla et pre faces liturgiques, apophtegmes et be ne dictions rituelles, poe ` mes et et jurons, e gyriques et dialogues, litanies et calendriers ... drames religieux, pane 7 Lifshitz argues that notions of history and statehood changed in the twelfth century with the development of the idea of the state as the proper subject of history (Lifshitz 1994, pp. 1048). 8 In his 1998 article, Philippart revises his 1994 claim of an eleventh-century application of the term to non-Scriptural works. 9 Before the twelfth century, there may have been no need to distinguish holy writings from other works by Christians; without a notion of secular narrative, the category of non-Scriptural Christian holy writings would not be meaningful. (The contrast contemporaries frequently invoked was between Christian and pagan not sacred and secular writings.) Historical writing and hagiography were not distinct because history was the unfolding of cits relatifs aux saints sont une branche de lHistoire, qui est sacre e Gods plan and the saints were his agents: les re nition (Henriet 2003, p. 80). par de 10 Further complicating the issue, the denition of sainthood is also ambiguous, although I do not have space to discuss this issue here (see Kleinberg 1992; Philippart 2004; cf. Vauchez 1997). 11 Kleinberg (2008), who skips over the early and central Middle Ages entirely, argues that different versions of saints lives represent the tension between popular enthusiasm, manifested in strange and memorable early accounts, and institutional Church discipline, represented by domesticated rewritings. 12 This point arose in a discussion with Felice Lifshitz in December 2011. 13 Schulenburg (1998, p. 48) asserts that the sheer numbers [of saints lives] allow us to study on a macrolevel women in medieval society. Her quantative approach assumes that the the texts belong to a uniform data set, providing similar windows on reality, when in fact each was produced and shaped in a specic political, cultural and literary context (cf. Bauer & Herbers 2000; Geary 1996, p. 13; Kleinberg 1992). Despite arguments over its utility, scholars continue to employ quantitative analysis (e.g. Goetz 2002). 14 For 19902010, the IMB lists 151 articles with the word hagiography (or equivalent) in the title, on topics pertaining to pre-twelfth-century western Europe. Not all these articles necessarily employ the term uncritically. 15 On this work and manuscript, see Lapidge 1989. 16 For example, the monk Heiric (ed. Traube 1896, pp. 4302) says he wrote his verse Vita Germani (ca. 875) as a replacement for a lost verse life. A century later, Walther of Speyer (ed. Strecker 1937, pp. 634) claims he composed his verse Passio Christophori for the same reason.

Short Biography Anna Taylor is an assistant professor in the History Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her research and teaching interests include saints lives and the monstrous in the Middle Ages. She has published on hagiography and relics. Her forthcoming book Epic Lives: Monks, Saints and Verse, 8001050 is the rst monograph on verse saints lives from the central Middle Ages. She received a B.A Hons. (rst class) in Ancient History from the University of Queensland. She received an M.A. in Classics and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Texas at Austin. Works Cited
Abou-El-Haj, B. F. (1994). The Medieval Cult of Saints: Formations and Transformations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ashley, K. & Sheingorn, P. (1999). Writing Faith: Text, Sign, and History in the Miracles of Sainte Foy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. glichkeiten historischer Bauer, D. R. & Herbers, K. (eds.) (2000). Hagiographie im Kontext. Wirkungsweisen und Mo Auswertung. Beitra ge zur Hagiographie 1. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner. te de Bollandistes. Bibliotheca hagiographica latina (= BHL) (18981901, 1986). 2 vols. and supplement. Brussels: Socie s Bibliotheca hagiographica latina manuscripta. Index analytique des catalogues de manuscrits hagiographiques latins publie par les Bollandistes (= BHLMs). http://bhlms.tr.ucl.ac.be

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Further Reading
Farmer, S. (2000). The Beggars Body: Intersections of Gender and Status in Medieval Paris. In: S. Farmer and B. H. Rosenwein (eds.), Monks and Nuns, Saints and Outcasts: Religion in Medieval Society, Essays in Honor of Lester K. Little, pp. 17288. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Fouracre, P. (1999). The Origins of the Carolingian Attempt to Regulate the Cult of Saints. In: J. Howard-Johnston and P. A. Hayward (eds.), The Cult of Saints in Late Antiqity and the Middle Ages. Essays on the Contribution of Peter Brown, pp. 14365. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Geary, P. J. (1978). Furta Sacra: Thefts of Relics in the Central Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press. : Deux me tamorphoses poe tiques de la Vie de saint Martin chez Paulin de Pe rigueux Labarre, S. (1998). Le manteau partage tudes augustiniennes. (Ve s.) et Venance (Vie s.). Paris: Institut de
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14 Anna Taylor
Landes, R. (1995). Relics. Apocalypse and the Deceits of History: Ademar of Chabannes. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Olsen, A. H. (1980). De Historiis Sanctorum: A Generic Study of Hagiography, Genre, 13(4), pp. 40729. ` mes et premiers re sultats dune histoire ge ne rale de la Philippart, G., de Vriendt, F. & Trigalet, M. (2001). Proble rature hagiographique. In: J. Carey, H. Maire and P. ORiain (eds.), Studies in Irish Hagiography. Saints and litte Scholars, pp. 33755. Dublin: Four Courts Press. Weinstein, D. & Bell, R. M. (1982). Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Christendom, 10001700. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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