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Reforming SaintsSaints' Lives and Their Authors in Germany, 1470-1530$
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David J. Collins

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195329537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195329537.001.0001

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 Legends Pleasing and Brightly Polished

 Legends Pleasing and Brightly Polished

The Holy Recluses

(p.51) 2 Legends Pleasing and Brightly Polished
Reforming Saints

David J. Collins (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A second large group of vitae had as subjects holy men and women who had led lives of reclusion as hermits and anchoresses. Their veneration was, in contrast to the holy bishops', geographically limited to single churches and small regions. Even at this local level, however, new ambitions to have official legends written in the latest style were emerging, and custodians of these local cults sought out humanist authors. Local attraction to the humanist style, however, did not obviate the need to respect local traditions about the saints. An examination of two pairs of lives, each including an original life by a humanist and his own later revision, exposes a fundamental tension between the appeal of a new style and a respect for traditional narratives that was intrinsic to the cult of the saints. The results of revisions in different, nearly opposite directions, Albert von Bonstetten's second vita of Saint Ida of Toggenburg and Sigmund Meisterlin's second vita of Saint Sebald, demonstrate how complicated the creative interactions between authors and patrons could be.

Keywords:   Albert von Bonstetten, authors, hermits, local religion, humanist, cult of the saints, Ida of Toggenburg, Sigismund Meisterlin, patrons, Sebald, traditional narratives

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