Chapter

The Lives of the Saints in the French Renaissance <i>c</i>.1500–<i>c</i>.1650*

Jean-Marie Le Gall

in Sacred History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199594795
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741494 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594795.003.0010
The Lives of the Saints in the French Renaissance c.1500–c.1650*

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The French Renaissance (c.1500–1640) produced a diverse body of literature devoted to the lives of the saints, including individual lives, multi-authored catalogues and anthologies, sermons, revised liturgies, diocesan lists, editions of patristic texts, and prose and verse plays. Hagiography continued to reinforce corporate identities as it had in medieval culture. Humanism and religious reform tended to undermine this use of hagiography by encouraging more critical approaches, but also prompted a vigorous Catholic revival of hagiography. Humanist-inspired critical scholarship, which peaked in the seventeenth century, did not usher in widespread ‘disenchantment’ with the cult of the saint as is often alleged. Rather it reoriented hagiography away from excessive reverence for the classical era and toward a more informed piety.

Keywords: French Renaissance; Humanism; University of Paris; hagiography; Lefèvre d’Etaples; Jacques; de Launoy; Jean

Chapter.  9658 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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