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Perpetua's PassionsMultidisciplinary Approaches to the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis$
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Jan N. Bremmer and Marco Formisano

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199561889

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199561889.001.0001

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Maternity and Sainthood in the Medieval Perpetua Legend

Maternity and Sainthood in the Medieval Perpetua Legend

(p.150) VII Maternity and Sainthood in the Medieval Perpetua Legend
Perpetua's Passions

Julia Weitbrecht

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the circumstance that the depictions of Perpetua transmitted in medieval legend diverge strikingly from the Passio. It concentrates on a few distinctions regarding representations of Perpetua as a mother, which show a specific dialectic between maternity and sainthood, since all later versions of the Perpetua legend seem to be characterized by a more pronounced orientation toward the dominant saintly type. In them, Perpetua appears as a woman who repudiates motherhood in order to attain sainthood. The analysis draws upon three texts: the Latin Acta; their adaption by Jacobus de Voragine in the Latin Legenda Aurea; and the version of the Perpetua legend found in a late medieval German legendary from Lichtenthal Cloister, the so-called Buoch der heilgen megde und frouwen (Book of Saintly Maids and Wives), which dates from 1460.

Keywords:   Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis, Christians, martyrs, mother, Acta, Legenda Aurea

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