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Gray, C. (2020) Hagiography. In: Whitmarsh, T. (ed.) Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford Research Encyclopedias. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.013.8285


Hagiography is a problematic yet widely used term with varying connotations which resists narrow definition. Outside the ‘hagiographa’ of the Hebrew Bible (i.e. the books other than the Law and the Prophets), the concept is based on a core of Christian Greek and Latin works from the second to fifth century CE which range from martyr accounts to monastic and episcopal biographies. A significant factor motivating their composition and reception is the cult of saints. Biblical heroes, especially Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself are the primary models, but non-Christian literary traditions, especially biographical and novelistic, are also important influences.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies (GCMS)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Language Text and Power
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Classics
ID Code:85815
Publisher:Oxford University Press


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