Hagiography as genre of medieval historical writing (basing on biographies of Edward the Confessor)

Sergei Sergeevich Lazarev phd student, Saint-Petersburg State University, Institute of History (5 Mendeleevskaya liniya, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 199034)

Lazarev S. S. Hagiography as genre of medieval historical writing (basing on biographies of Edward the Confessor), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2023, vol. 12, pp. 216–231.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2023-12-216-231

Language: Russian

Hagiography studies are the most promising areas of historical research. Therefore, problems regarding the genre features of hagiographic works, approaches to their study and the relationship of these texts with the era in which they were created are becoming relevant again. Moreover, the study of hagiographic works helps to understand how the historical consciousness of medieval people functioned and the necessary and valuable memory of the past was created. This article analyses plots reflecting the events of the Norman Conquest of England in the mirror of hagiographic literature. The source base for the study was the four main lives of Edward the Confessor: the anonymous «Vita Ædwardi regis qui apud Westmonasterium requiescit», «Vita beati Eadwardi regis Anglorum» by Osbert of Clare, «Vita sancti Edwardi regis et confessoris» by Aelred of Rievaulx and «La Estoire de seint Aedward le rei» by Matthew Paris. As a result, it is proved that the hagiographers of Edward the Confessor, although they followed the general storyline, had different approaches to assessing events and historical figures. It was a consequence of the transformation of the political climate of medieval England. In addition, it was shown that hagiography as a genre of medieval historical writing pursued a specific goal: the transmission of didactic and moral truths through the events of the historical past.

Creative Commons License

Key words: Edward the Confessor, medieval historical writing, hagiography, lives of saints, medieval England, the Norman Conquest

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-lazarev-2023/

download PDF