Pauline Books and Media


Saints A Short History
Category: Books > Biographies > Lives of the Saints
Author/Artist: YARROW SIMON
ISBN / ID: 9780198784388
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Price: AU$22.95
Description: Simon Yarrow presents a concise history of saints, primarily in Western Christianity. The first four chapters provide a broad historical overview, noting that martyrs, ascetics, and bishops or confessors were the most likely candidates for sainthood through the Middle Ages. Icons, relics, and pilgrimage all sustained a growing popular cult of the saints, with localized saints retaining the devotion of the faithful, even as the church hierarchy sought to formalize the process of declaring persons as saints.

Topical chapters focus on the dearth of women saints and the primacy of the Virgin, which shapes the piety emerging from the cult of the saints. Yarrow also looks at how global expansion brought a fusion of saints with Indigenous religious figures, sustaining interest in saint-oriented piety. The final three chapters offer the most analysis, but Yarrow leaves for others discussion of how saints help to bridge the gap between the ineffable and the ordinary and how relics provide a visual, tactile reality that eludes doctrine and dogma. Intended for nonspecialists, the study builds on solid scholarship.
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