Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Christendom, 1000-1700
In Saints and Society, Donald Weinstein and Rudolph M. Bell examine the lives of 864 saints who lived between 1000 and 1700 and the perceptions of sanctity prevalent in late medieval and early modern Europe. They also provide a substantial body of information on the people among whom the saints lived and by whom they came to be venerated. In the first part, the authors give close consideration to what the saints' lives reveal about childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; the impact of religious inspiration upon family bonds; and family influences upon religious behavior. The second part provides a composite picture of piety and its changing configuration in Latin Christendom. With the assistance of statistical analysis, the authors answer questions involving the popular perception of holiness, social class, and gender.
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8 Men and Women
Appendix on Sources
Appendix on Method
5 Who Was a Saint?
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adolescent ascetic asceticism Assisi austerities became Benedictine Biagia biographer bishop Bona of Pisa Catherine Catholic Reformation Catholicism charity chastity child childhood Christ Christendom Christian church clerical conversion Counter Reformation cult culture death demons divine Dominic de Guzman eleventh century Europe F Acta SS faithful father female saints fifteenth century flagellation fourteenth France Francesco Franciscan Giovanni Giovanni Colombini girls hagiographic hermit holy humility husband influence Italian lay piety lives male marriage married martyrs medieval mendicant MGH Sc Middle Ages miracle-working miracles mother mystical Nicholas Nicholas of Tolentino noble papal parents peasant penitent penitential perception Peter poor popes popular piety poverty Praetermissi prayer preacher prelates religion religious Renaissance reputation Rome sainthood saintly saints sanctity sexual sixteenth social society stories struggle supernatural supernatural power Supported thirteenth century Thomas town twelfth centuries urban Virgin vitae woman women wonder-working worldly youth
Pagina 8 - We study saints in order to understand piety; we study piety in order to understand society, for it is one of our basic premises that the pursuit as well as the perception of holiness mirrored social values and concerns.
Pagina 8 - The saintly character is the character for which spiritual emotions are the habitual centre of the personal energy; and there is a certain composite photograph of universal saintliness, the same in all religions, of which the features can easily be traced.
Pagina 10 - Facts are relatively few and tend to be subordinated to myth; therefore, they have to be treated with skepticism" (p. 8). Moreover, "it is necessary to discriminate between different sorts of purported facts-to decide which ones are likely to have been embroidered, invented, or borrowed from stories of other saints-and this requires that we keep in mind the hagiographer's purposes...
Pagina 14 - Reformation gathered force. The militant clergy of both faiths sought to impose on the masses what was essentially an elite pattern of religion, inaugurating an era oí one-way religious pressure from the top down — and equally an era of increasing resistance and partial conformity from below.
Pagina 10 - Hagiographers wrote to inspire their readers, to honor their saint, and to make a case for canonization by demonstrating that the venerable person was a member of the supernatural community of saints.
Pagina 6 - ... revolve around two impulses. The first of these is the need for purity, for a feeling of spiritual perfection, which comes from separating oneself from material and carnal thoughts and acts — what William James described as "the cleansing of existence from brutal and sensual elements.
Pagina 10 - Our premise here is that a society's heroes reflect, through antithesis and projection, its real condition and its...
Pagina 8 - Consequently, we study sainthood not only for what it reveals about religious feelings and ideas but also for what it can tell us about European society from the High Middle Ages to the early modern period.
Pagina 14 - ... in a single direction — from the top down. On the contrary, the flow was multidirectional, and often the lines are so intertwined as to suggest that the structure of religiousness was not purely hierarchical. Bakhtin's brilliant study of Rabelais's masterpiece showed how it vibrated with popular motifs and perceptions.1...