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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1135: Rumours, Humour, and Miraculous Histories in Early Medieval Hagiographical Texts

Wednesday 8 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Danuta Shanzer, Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel- und Neulatein, Universität Wien
Paper 1135-aSupernatural Agency of Rumour in Hagiographical Texts
(Language: English)
Angela Zielinski Kinney, Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel- und Neulatein, Universität Wien
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Greek, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 1135-bThe Hilarious Bishop of Tours: Are the Jokes in Gregory of Tours's Writings Intentional?
(Language: English)
Vicky Melechson, Independent Scholar, Ramat-Gan
Index terms: Archives and Sources, Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 1135-cThe Miraculous History of Gregory of Tours: In Gloria Martyrum and Its Context
(Language: English)
Tamar Rotman, Department of History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography, Religious Life, Sermons and Preaching

Paper -a:
This paper will discuss supernatural agency associated with the spread of rumuor in Late Antique and early medieval hagiography. Special attention will be given to examples in which the supernatural agent responsible for the spread of rumour is personified. When is a rumour considered a message from God? When is it characterized as demonic? Are positive and negative depictions of rumour given different physical characteristics? This paper examines these questions in the context of hagiographical texts, including texts such as Jerome's Eulogy for Fabiola (Ep. 77).

Paper -b:
In this paper I will examine the amusing episodes in the writings of Gregory of Tours, and will deal with the still open question whether these are intentional jokes or not. Some readers of Gregory of Tours' writings notice his mocking, sarcastic, dry, sometimes even black, humor, whereas others do not see this at all, or are sure that even if certain episodes do look humorous, it is unintentional, and Gregory himself never meant to provoke laughter or provide amusement. Our understanding of humor depends on numerous features, including geographical location, culture, education level, intelligence and context. Gregory of Tours' tone seems to be ambivalent, discreet, hidden, and wry. Can we assume that we understand it correctly? Is it possible to understand from the text, whether it contains humor? Can we find some literary devices in Gregory's text that indicate intentional humor? Can we use modern redactions and translations of Gregory's texts for these purposes?

Paper -c:
Gregory of Tours’ In Gloria Martyrum (GM) differs from the rest of his hagiographical works because of the appearance of non-Gallic martyrs and saints in it. The aim of this paper will be to examine this work in three levels: first, presenting the foreign martyrs; second putting the work in the context of two other hagiographical works of Gregory: In Gloria Confessorum (GC) and Vitae Patrum (VP); and, lastly, through a structural comparison between these three works and Gregory’s Decem Libri Historiarum, I will show that the GM, GC and VP are in fact Gregory’s version of 'Ecclesiastical History'.