Wednesday, 9 July 2014

#IMC2014 Session - Networks and Neighbours, III: Networks and the Cult of Saints

N&N - IMC 2014 Session

TitleNetworks and Neighbours, III: Networks and the Cult of Saints
Date/TimeWednesday 9 July 2014: 14.15-15.45
SponsorNetworks & Neighbours Network
OrganiserSamantha Kahn Herrick, Department of History, Syracuse University, New York
Moderator/ChairPaul Hayward, Department of History, Lancaster University
Paper 1215-a Storytelling Networks and the Warrior Legend of St Bovo in the Central Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Adrian Cornell du Houx, Department of History, Lancaster University
Index Terms: Ecclesiastical History; Hagiography
Paper 1215-b Hagiographical Networks: Sharing Stories about Apostolic Saints
(Language: English)
Samantha Kahn Herrick, Department of History, Syracuse University, New York
Index Terms: Ecclesiastical History; Hagiography
Paper 1215-c Miracles versus Rumours of Saints' Sinful Behaviour: Miracles of Light and Water in Lotharingian Hagiography
(Language: English)
Anne Wagner, Centre de Recherche Universitaire Lorraine d'histoire (CRUHL) / Département d'histoire, Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon
Index Terms: Ecclesiastical History; Hagiography
AbstractThis panel explores the roles of networks in diffusing ideas and texts concerning saints in the Middle Ages. Although the study of hagiographical texts and the cult of saints generally is among the oldest branches of medieval scholarship, researchers are only just beginning to investigate the potential of networks to shed new light on this vital aspect of the medieval world. The panel advances such research and demonstrates the value of networks for studying saints' cults. The first paper by Adrian Cornell du Houx, investigates the case of an unusual type of sanctity - the lay warrior saint - which gained popularity around 1100. It proposes that the roads linking southern France and northern Italy formed a network along which traveled not only people and goods, but also ideas and stories about saints. That is, Cornell du Houx offers a new means to explain shifting ideas about sanctity and the rise of new cults. 'Storytelling networks' represents an important new concept for scholars of hagiography, saints' cults, and communications generally to ponder. The second paper explores the roles played by various types of networks in diffusing stories about saints. It draws on manuscript and textual evidence to trace the circulation and intertwining of vitae honoring apostolic founding bishops. In order to explain such evidence, the paper suggests that we seek the networks that linked communities and facilitated the spread of information. By means of case studies, the paper demonstrates how different networks thrived at specific moments and also how such networks changed over time. It argues, therefore, that complex patterns of circulation and textual interaction reflect changing networks. It further suggests that the sharing of stories itself represented a sort of network, in which myriad different participants collaborated in the construction of history. In the third paper highlights two themes found in Lotharingian vitae. The paper focuses in particular on two examples: the case of sunbeams supporting the garments hastily set aside by saints facing judgment for false charges; and miraculous cures performed by bath water, without the knowledge of the saints themselves. The paper suggests that vitae may have influenced one another to spread these themes across Lotharingia and it questions the meaning of these miracles.