The reverent and the rustic, the saint, the heretic, and the necromancer: Miracles of designation, restoration, and retribution in late antique Gaul

Date

2011

Authors

Lopez, Isaac C.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to discuss the interconnected relationships among the saint, reverent, rustic, heretic, and necromancer as presented in the writings of Gregory of Tours, and to provide historical background for the development of these characters in late antique culture. By dividing the miracle stories of Gregory of Tours into miracles of designation, restoration, and retribution respectively, I propose a method for analyzing the literary method of the miracle as employed by Gregory of Tours in distinguishing the above mentioned characters in his writings. Through a discussion of the late antique culture in which Gregory's miracle stories were heard and discussed, including both early Christian and Pagan foundations, I will analyze what elements in utilizing this literary device contributed to the success of the spread of Christianity in barbarian late antique Gaul through the resonance of these themes with already existent Pagan culture, as well as Christianity's reciprocal relationship with those characters with whom Christianity professed an aversion: namely the rustic, the heretic, and the necromancer, and how this relationship contributed to the formation of the Christian cosmology and metaphysics that formed the foundation for the later medieval period.

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Keywords

History, Church, Gaul, Gregory of Tours, Miracles, Necromancy, Relics, Saints

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Department

History