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Hagiography and the cult of saints in the diocese of Liège, c. 700-980

Hagiography and the cult of saints in the diocese of Liège, c. 700-980

Zimmern, Matthew

University of St Andrews, 2007

Abstract

This thesis takes the hagiographical texts written in the diocese of Liège between approximately 700 and 980 and examines them in their political, social and cultural context. It analyses the texts by paying particular attention to how the authors expressed their concerns about issues that were important to them through the medium of hagiography and the saints’ cults, the purposes for which the texts were employed and how these aims were reflected in the retelling of saints’ legends. By taking this approach, analysing a substantial body of valuable but under-studied source material over a period of 3 centuries, for an important region, it provides a new perspective on a range of issues, significant people and places. The regional approach helps to show the close interconnectedness between many of these people, places and texts, including those connections that exist over a period of centuries as well as those networks vital to early mediaeval society that existed between contemporaries. Close examination of the body of texts highlights the importance of the cult of saints at all levels of society and demonstrates the value and versatility of hagiography as a means of storytelling.

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