The Medieval Review 16.09.24


Isaïa, Marie-Céline, and Thomas Granier, eds. Normes et hagiographie dans l'Occident latin (VIe-XVIe siècle): Actes du colloque international de Lyon, 4-6 octobre 2010. Hagiologia: Études sur la Sainteté en Occident - Studies on Western Sainthood, 9. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. pp. 552. €95.00 (hardback). ISBN: 978-2-503-54835-7 (hardback).



Reviewed by:


Isabel Moreira
University of Utah
isabel.moreira@utah.edu

Originating in a conference held in Lyons in 2010, the essays on hagiography presented in this collection range chronologically from the sixth to the sixteenth century, and geographically from Rome to Ireland. The collection's theme is the study of the interconnection of hagiography with social and religious norms as a means to discover new insights into medieval values and the texts that sought to influence them. Judging by the high quality and scope of the published essays, it must have been an invigorating conference. The editors are to be commended for bringing such a large number of papers to publication so that the volume's findings are substantiated in many different contexts. A published collection of this nature generates new ideas and new contexts by virtue of the people involved and the synergy of their collective insights. The editors do ample justice to their contributors and their subject by assembling a collection in which individual essays work well together, but which also advance the state of the inquiry by careful analysis purposefully drawn from different angles.

Inquiry into social norms is a broadly interesting subject and relevant to numerous modern fields and disciplines. But the idea is not new. As Marc Van Uytfanghe points out in his prefatory essay, the idea that saints (and their hagiographers) presented medieval Christians with holy "norms" by which they could evaluate their lives, find guidance, and be inspired, was stated early on by Isidore of Seville (d. 636) who proposed that even had the scriptures not been available, the example of the saints alone could provide the Christian with a "sufficient" guide to divine precepts. In their introductory essays to the volume, Marc Van Uytfanghe and Marie-Céline Isaïa quickly disposes of this facile proposition, taking inspiration rather from the way medieval hagiography played with, and against, supposedly normative ideas and texts. Isaïa's essay in particular must be read to understand both the task undertaken by the essayists, and the intellectual framework for the future investigation of medieval norms. It is her essay that investigates the history of the idea of norms, its intersection with various historical disciplines, and its range of application. Deeply thoughtful and helpful in pointing out the connections and new areas of exploration, it is the anchor for the collection as a whole. As she points out (26), the very term norma--often limited by its translation as "rule"--is rich in the variety of its meaning. And, as she further points out (17), the simple idea that hagiography served the role of example and norm for medieval society is patently false, however much medieval writers may have liked to insist on it. Indeed, as the collection of essays amply illustrates, saints and hagiographic texts often seem to work best at the edges of supposedly normative texts such as the Bible, the laws, and monastic rules. At the same time the authority some hagiographies were ascribed was such that in addition to influencing social norms they could, in some cases, supplement and extend the meaning of works which regulated society. The task of the essays is also to query the normative assumptions made by readers and historians of hagiographies, both ancient and modern as they, too, introduce distortions through unreflective assertions about what was and was not normative in medieval society and literature.

More than most, this collection is densely framed by reflections on the conference theme by prominent scholars in the field. With two introductory essays (a short prefatory essay by Van Uytfanghe, and a long introductory essay by Isaïa) and two concluding essays (a prefatory concluding essay by Alain Dierkens, and another concluding essay jointly authored by Isaïa and Thomas Granier), the twenty-five contributor essays are set to the work of investigating the larger enterprise. They are divided into four sections. Each of the four sections is accompanied by its own short conclusion. In short, this is an unusually controlled exercise in thematic management and it strengthens the view that this is a collection that must be viewed holistically. That said, there will also be some interest in particular topics and hagiographies presented. The collection's table of contents is available on the Brepols Publishing website but without page numbers and without section conclusions. I provide them below to facilitate access.

This is an important collection, not just for those with a deep interest in medieval hagiography but for those interested in medieval history and its sources.

Marc Van Uytfanghe, "Propos luminaires". (9-16).

Marie-Céline Isaïa, "L'hagiographie, source des normes médiévales" (17-42).

Première partie: Hagiographie et expression des normes

Jérémy Delmulle, "Polémique doctrinale et hagiographie: établir et diffuser la norme. La Vita Caesarii , ultime étape de la controverse augustinienne en Gaule du sud?" (45-63)

Bruno Judic, "Les Dialogues de Grégoire le Grand et l'expression des norms" (65-76)

Rémy Verdo, "Approche sociolinguistique de trois réécritures hagiographiques (VIIIe-IXe siècles): du compromis mérovingien à la norme carolingienne" (77-100)

Rutger Kramer, "Ut normam salutiferam cunctis ostenderet: représentations de l'autorité impériale dans la Vita Benedicti Anianensis et la Vita Adalhardi" (101-118)

Clémentine Bernard-Valette, "Pratique politique de l'intertexte hagiographique chez Hincmar de Reims" (119-133)

Anne Lafran, "L'inceste entre anormalité et déviance dans les légendes de Judas et du pape Grégoire" (135-146)

Conclusion, 147-8.

Deuxième partie: Hagiographie et régulation des communautés

Thomas Granier, "La fonction normative des textes hagiographiques dans la Chronique de Saint-Vincent du Vulturne (vers 1120)" (151-165)

Anne-Marie Helvétius, "La Passio de sainte Maxellende et la réforme d'une communauté féminine en Cambrésis" (167-181)

Eliana Magnani, "Hagiographie et diplomatique dans le monachisme réformé en Bourgogne au miroir du manuscrit 1 de Semur-en-Auxois" (183-195)

Pierluigi Licciardello, "La fonction normative dans l'hagiographie monastique de l'Italie centrale (Xe-XIIe siècles)" (197-214)

Alessia Trivellone, "Culte des saints et construction identitaire à Cîteaux: les images de Jérôme dans les manuscrits réalisés sous l'abbatiat d'Étienne Harding" (215-234)

Sophie Delmas, "F.R.A.N.C.I.S.C.U.S. L'hagiographie de saint François vue par Nicolas de Lyre" (235-247).

Conclusion, 249-50

Troisième partie: Hagiographie et normes: un problème générique

Gordon Blennemann, "Martyre et prédication. Adaptations d'un modèle hagiographique dans les sermons de Césaire d'Arles" (253-273)

Jean-Michel Picard, "Hagiographie et législation en Irlande médiévale (VIIe-IXe siècles)" (275-292)

Sylvie Joye et Paul Bertrand, "Les 'testaments de saints' en Chrétienté occidentale" (293-307)

Claire Garault, "Les rapports entre récits hagiographiques et matériel diplomatique à travers le dossier hagiographique de saint Malo (IXe-XIIe siècles)" (309-327)

Kelly Gibson, "La vie monastique dans les Vies de saint Gall récrites au IXe siècle (329-343)

Françoise Laurent, 'Saint' Richard de Normandie et le sacristain noyé dans le Roman de Rou de Wace et l'Histoire des ducs de Normandie de Benoît de Sainte-Maure" (345-357)

Conclusion, 359-60.

Quatrième partie: L'hagiographie, laboratoire normatif

Charles Mériaux, Vitae presbyterorum. "Remarques sur quelques Vies de prêtres ruraux du haut Moyen Âge" (363-378)

Sébastien Fray, "Un cas de norme laïque transmise par une source hagiographique: relecture des chapitres 7 et 8 du livre I de la Vita Geraldi" (379-389)

Anne Wagner, "Norme et écarts à la norme dans l'hagiographie de l'Empire aux Xe-XIe siècles: l'exemple de Mayence" (391-402)

Nicoletta Giantsi, "Vivat de labore manuum ejus. L'idéal de travail contre l'idée de mendicité: deux normes contradictoires" (403-417)

Nancy Vine Durling, "Traductio(n) et conversio(n): l'exemple de la Vie de Lehire" (419-433)

Véronique Souche-Hazebrouck, "La transformation du prologue de la Vita tripartita de Gertrude de Nivelles dans l'un des prologues de recueils de Jean Gielemans" (435-457)

Nicolas Trotin, "Le De Imitatione Sanctorum (1528) de Guillaume Pépin (o.p.): prêcher la vie des saints au Beau Seizième siècle" (460-475)

Conclusion, 477-78

Conclusions

Alain Dierkens, "Quelques réflexions en guise de conclusion" (479-487)

Marie-Céline Isaïa et Thomas Granier, "Normes et hagiographie: bilan et perspectives" (489-497)

Abstracts in French and English, 499-511.

Indices, 515-532.

Color plates to the essays by Magnani and Trivellone follow without pagination.



Copyright (c) 2016 Isabel Moreira



Give Now

ISSN: 1096-746X | Administrator Login