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Lives of the Saints
(829 words)

The imprecise phrase “lives of the saints” describes works in the genre of hagiography. Veneration of saints has always produced descriptions of their lives presupposed by stories about them. The forms of such lives range from popular narratives and legends to more stylized literary biographies. The aim of creating historically verifiable accounts is a purely academic ideal. Only the Roman Catholic Church has a legally defined concept of saints (through its canonization process), though the understanding of the Orthodox Church is very similar.

Along with apocryphal acts of the…

Cite this page
Mühlenberg, Ekkehard, “Lives of the Saints”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 28 May 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_L508>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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