Claudia Rapp

in Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780520242968
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931411 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


This chapter provides a synthetic overview of the literary representation of bishops in hagiographical works to the seventh century. It is the nature of those texts to extol the personal holiness of their protagonists in order to celebrate them as saints. In the development of Christian literature, the hagiography of holy bishops occupies an important place. The literary commemoration of bishops changed over time, reflecting both developments in the history of the church and hagiographical conventions that were established in response to those developments. There is a twofold danger in concentrating on hagiographical writing. The common currency of hagiography is, of course, miracles. The holy bishop is distinguished from the ascetic holy man by his liturgical competence. The career bishops confirm the enduring appeal of the spiritual and ascetic underpinnings of the episcopal role, even in a changing world.

Keywords: literary representation; holy bishop; career bishop; hagiographical works; personal holiness; hagiographical writing; miracles; Christian literature; saints

Chapter.  6233 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.