Strand Definitions: Hagiography and Religious Writing

The strand is based, not on a particular topic, but on a particular type of source material. It aims to study more and more thoroughly, and from a critical point of view, all of the sources known as Hagiography and Religious Writing. So prominent in number and diversity, these sources impact upon every area of medieval studies.

The strand uses a broad definition of hagiography that includes vitae and other writings about saints, miracles, relics, and shrines; visual images and iconography of saints; case histories of canonisation (whether successful or not); the various means by which saints' cults were promoted, and the manifold purposes they served. This strand also welcomes sessions and papers on most other kinds of medieval texts, in any language or combination of languages, that were written for ostensibly religious ends: sermons, preaching aids and handbooks, prayers and meditations, mystical writings, pilgrimage narratives, spiritual biographies and autobiographies, manuals of basic religious instruction, and so on. Some religious genres are covered in other strands. These are: dramatic, liturgical, and theological writings; Bibles and Bible commentaries.