Lives of the Improbable Saints

Lives of the Improbable Saints

From St Fillan of Munster, patron saint of the mentally ill, who read by the light of his miraculously glowing arm, to Santa Lucia, who tore out her eyes to dismiss the lascivious attentions of her would-be husband, here are nearly 200 classic stories of the saints of Christian legend. Richard Coles, former half of 80s pop duo The Communards, now a Church of England priest and presenter of Radio 4’s Saturday Live, has collected these wonderful tales from around the world. Despite their bizarre, colourful and sometimes grotesque stories, many of these saints are still celebrated and prayed to today. This collection is arranged thematically, with an index of saints’ days at the back of the book for anyone who wants to discover or pray to a saint a day. Every page illustrated by cartoonist Ted Harrison, giving the book a saintly Horrible Histories feel.

Legends of the Improbable Saints

Legends of the Improbable Saints

‘Following the mass conversions sweeping Britain after the publication of Lives of the Improbable Saints, Dr Harrison and I thought it wise and expedient to retell yet more stories of the great ‘cloud of witnesses’ preserved in Christian tradition these two thousand years.’ Richard ColesMartyrs and miracle-workers, monks, mystics and murderers; each of these legendary saints – respectfully introduced by Richard Coles and affectionately illustrated by Ted Harrison – can, however improbable, prompt us to reflect on faith and devotion today.From St Edith of Wilton, who beat up the Devil, to St Eutychius of Phrygia, who fell asleep and dropped from a window ledge while listening to a sermon of the Apostle Paul, only to be raised from the dead, here are 180 more astonishing stories of the saints of Christian legend.

Butler's Lives of the Saints: April

Butler's Lives of the Saints: April

For more than two centuries, "Butler's" has been one of the best known, most widely consulted hagiographies. In its brief and authoritative entries, readers can find a wealth of knowledge on the lives and deeds of the saints, as well as their ecclesiastical and historical importance since canonization.

Saints' Lives and the Rhetoric of Gender

Male and Female in Merovingian Hagiography

Saints' Lives and the Rhetoric of Gender

Medieval lives of female saints have attracted wide attention in recent years. Some scholars have argued that such texts reveal a distinctive form of female sanctity which only female hagiographers managed to properly articulate, and important writings have been attributed to female authors on that assumption. In this revisionist work, John Kitchen tests such claims through a close examination of several texts--lives of both male and female saints, by authors of both sexes--from sixth century France. He argues that sometimes the "authentic voice" of the female writer or saint sounds emphatically male. This study gives examples of how both male and female authors sometimes depicted holy women talking, acting, or even dressing like their male counterparts. Ultimately, the author aims to cast doubt on the assumption that male authors were ignorant of or hostile toward certain--specifically female--concerns. By the same token, Kitchen's work raises serious methodological problems with the gender approach to the hagiographic literature of the early Middle Ages.

The Sex Lives of Saints

An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography

The Sex Lives of Saints

Has a repressive morality been the primary contribution of Christianity to the history of sexuality? The ascetic concerns that pervade ancient Christian texts would seem to support such a common assumption. Focusing on hagiographical literature, Virginia Burrus pursues a fresh path of interpretation, arguing that the early accounts of the lives of saints are not antierotic but rather convey a sublimely transgressive "countereroticism" that resists the marital, procreative ethic of sexuality found in other strands of Christian tradition. Without reducing the erotics of ancient hagiography to a single formula, The Sex Lives of Saints frames the broad historical, theological, and theoretical issues at stake in such a revisionist interpretation of ascetic eroticism, with particular reference to the work of Michel Foucault and Georges Bataille, David Halperin and Geoffrey Harpham, Leo Bersani and Jean Baudrillard. Burrus subsequently proceeds through close, performative readings of the earliest Lives of Saints, mostly dating to the late fourth and early fifth centuries—Jerome's Lives of Paul, Malchus, Hilarion, and Paula; Gregory of Nyssa's Life of Macrina; Augustine's portrait of Monica; Sulpicius Severus's Life of Martin; and the slightly later Lives of so-called harlot saints. Queer, s/m, and postcolonial theories are among the contemporary discourses that prove intriguingly resonant with an ancient art of "saintly" loving that remains, in Burrus's reading, promisingly mobile, diverse, and open-ended.

Afterlives of the Saints

Stories from the Ends of Faith

Afterlives of the Saints

A collection of essays that recounts the strangest stories of the Christian saints, including those who committed murder, gouged out their own eyes, spontaneously combusted and discussed the dangers of masturbation and the pleasures of castration.

A Short Reader of Medieval Saints

A Short Reader of Medieval Saints

"Mary-Ann Stouck's short reader stands apart in offering an abbreviated but judicious selection of saints' lives perfectly suited as a brief introduction. It fills a particular need with an elegant sufficiency." - Cynthia J. Hahn, Hunter College and the Graduate Center-CUNY

Tales of Three Popes

True Stories from the Lives of Francis, John Paul II and John XXIII

Tales of Three Popes

A testament to the lives of Popes Francis, John Paul II and John XXIII. It contains over 40 vignettes relating notable stories from the lives of all three men - stories which demonstrate their faith, humility, wisdom and character.