Memorial Day Offer

Discover your mystery discount!

Legendary (hagiography)

1. Terminology and Definitions: – Legends presuppose an historical fact as basis or pretext – The term ‘legenda’ included facts historically genuine and unhistorical narrative […]

« Back to Glossary Index

1. Terminology and Definitions:
– Legends presuppose an historical fact as basis or pretext
– The term ‘legenda’ included facts historically genuine and unhistorical narrative
– Legendary in Christian literature is a collection of biographies of saints or holy figures
– Hagiography is the study of saints’ lives, recounting their deeds and miracles
– The genre of legends fell into decline following the Reformation

2. Historical Development and Influences:
– Development of legend introduced the subjective element into facts
– Hagiographic writing is of a religious character aiming at edification
– Christian writers augmented historical narratives with hagiographic and legendary material
– Influence of Greek chroniclers, writers of myths, and neo-Platonists on legends
– The Life of Antony by Athanasius of Alexandria continued the genre of secular Greek biography

3. Evolution of Hagiography:
– Hagiography evolved from martyrdom accounts in early Christian traditions
– Lives of saints were written to preserve their memory and inspire piety
– Characteristics of hagiography include emphasizing virtues, holiness, and moral lessons
– Monastic communities played a key role in hagiographic writings
– Hagiography became prominent in the Byzantine Empire

4. Reception and Transformation in Different Eras:
– The Protestant Reformation received legends as largely fictional
– Interest in tales of miracles relating to the Host grew with the new feast of Corpus Christi
– Catholic continuities in legends play a similar part as in the Middle Ages
– Legends of saints venerated in Rome spread throughout Europe
– In the 19th century, legends found entrance into official Protestantism with the Oxford Movement

5. Impact and Criticisms of Hagiography:
– Hagiography shapes religious practices and beliefs, influencing art, literature, and culture
– Critics argue that hagiography lacks historical accuracy and promotes superstition
– Hagiography influences the veneration of saints and inspires pilgrimages to saints’ shrines
– Scholars debate the reliability of hagiographic sources and the idealization of saints
– Not all legends were considered of equal value in the Catholic Church

Legendary (hagiography) (Wikipedia)

A legendary (Latin: legendarius) is a collection of saints' lives. The word derives from the Latin word legenda, meaning 'things to be read'. The first legendaries were manuscripts written in the Middle Ages, including collections such as the South English legendaries or the Golden Legend.

Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye describes a legend (as compared to a fable, myth, or tale) thus: "The legend, on the other hand, has, of necessity, some historical or topographical connection. It refers imaginary events to some real personage, or it localises romantic stories in some definite spot. Thus one may speak of the legend of Alexander or of Caesar." Hagiography (accounts of the lives of saints) is not intended to be history, but aims at edification, and sometimes incorporates subjective elements along with facts.

« Back to Glossary Index
This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.