Tutor: John Jenkins
Module type: MA Option
Module code: HIS00095M
Saints’ cults were central to much of medieval social, religious, and political life. The memories and physical remains of holy men and women were venerated throughout Europe, and their ranks were ever-growing as each successive generation made or ‘found’ role models and miracle makers. The vast number of hagiographies and other sources for the practice and management of the cult of saints attest to the importance of holy bodies in creating social and corporate identity, exercising power, and serving the spiritual needs of medieval Europe. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries in particular saw, on the one hand, an emerging ‘papal monarchy’ seeking to regulate and rule Western Christianity, and on the other a great flowering of religious energy revitalising old cults and producing a wealth of new recognised and ‘popular’ saints.
This module explores how, at a time of great economic and social change, saint’s cults were brought into being, written, approved, promoted, and used, and how they were responsive to the shifting concerns of the age. Why did some saints flourish and others disappear without trace? With a strong focus on primary material including individual hagiographies, ecclesiastical records, and the physical remains of cults, a series of case studies will be set in the context of papal, political, and social reforms, encouraging a broader understanding of the central place of the saints in this formative period of European history.
The provisional outline for the module is as follows:
For more information, please visit the module catalogue.