Sanctity in the North: Saints, Lives, and Cults in Medieval Scandinavia

Sanctity in the North: Saints, Lives, and Cults in Medieval Scandinavia

Edited by Thomas Andrew DuBois

University of Toronto Press, 2008

With original translations of primary texts and articles by leading researchers in the field, Sanctity in the North provides an introduction to the literary production associated with the cult of the saints in medieval Scandinavia.

For more than five hundred years, Nordic clerics and laity venerated a host of saints through liturgical celebrations, written manuscripts, visual arts, and oral tradition. The textual evidence of this widespread and important aspect of medieval spirituality abounds. Written biographies (vitae), compendia of witnessed miracles, mass propers, homilies, sagas and chronicles, dramatic scripts, hymns, and ballads are found in the region’s surviving medieval manuscripts and early published books.


Sanctity in the North features English translations of these texts from Latin or vernacular Nordic languages, in many cases for the first time. The accompanying essays concerning the texts, saints, cults, and history of the period complement the translations and reflect contributors’ own disciplinary groundings, in folklore, philology, medieval, and religious studies.


St Ansgar: His Swedish Mission and Its Larger Context, by Scott A. Mellor Scott

Sts Sunniva and Henrik: Scandinavian Martyr Saints in Their Hagiographic and National Contexts, by THOMAS A. DUBOIS


St Olaf and the Skalds, by JOHN LINDOW

Sacred Non-Violence, Cowardice Profaned: St Magnus of Orkney in Nordic Hagiography and Historiography , by MARIA-CLAUDIA TOMANY

St Knud Lavard: A Saint for Denmark, by THOMAS A. DUBOIS AND NIELS INGWERSEN

The Cult of St Eric, King and Martyr, in Medieval Sweden, by TRACEY R. SAND

Pride and Politics in Late-Twelfth-Century Iceland: The Sanctity of Bishop Þorlákr Þórhallsson, by KIRSTEN WOLF

St Katarina in Her Own Light, byTHOMAS A. DUBOIS

Hendreks saga og Kunegundis: Marital Consent in the Legend of Henry and Cunegund, by MARIANNE E. KALINK

Better Off Dead: Approaches to Medieval Miracles, by MARGARET CORMACK

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