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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 706: Narrative Construction in 8th- and 9th-Century Latin Hagiography

Tuesday 5 July 2016, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Anne-Marie Helvétius,
Paper 706-aStructure and Narrative Sequence in Adomnán's Vita Sancti Columbae
(Language: English)
Duncan Sneddon, Scottish History, School of History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Latin, Manuscripts and Palaeography
Paper 706-bThe Potent and the Potable: Food and Drink in Carolingian Miracle Narratives
(Language: English)
Maximilian McComb, Department of History, Cornell University
Index terms: Hagiography, Mentalities, Religious Life

Paper -a:
Adomnán's Vita Sancti Columbae, written c. 700, is one of the early group of Irish hagiographies. It consists of short narratives divided by type into three books, and within those books stories are often linked by their theme or certain common motifs - some of which Adomnán comments on explicitly. This paper will examine the structure and narrative sequencing of this text, including a consideration of inconsistencies in Adomnán's approach and how he attempts to present his work as a unified whole.

Paper -b:
In this paper, I discuss the role of food and drink in miraculous healing and punishment. Carolingian hagiographers present a number of cases in which food related illnesses required saintly intervention. Food and drink could also be the direct or indirect object of punishment miracles. These miracles both healed disordered eating and used food and drink as a way of correcting improper human belief or behavior. I argue that through references to food and drink, 9th-century hagiographers expressed broader ideas about physical and spiritual correction inherent in their presentations of saints's posthumous miracles.