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The Book of Sainte Foy

Edited and Translated by Pamela Sheingorn

Publication Year: 1995

The miracle stories surrounding Sainte Foy form one of the most complete sets of material relating to a medieval saint's cult and its practices. Pamela Sheingorn's superb translation from the Medieval Latin texts now makes this literature available in English. The Book of Sainte Foy recounts the virgin saint's martyrdom in the third century (Passio), the theft of her relics in the late ninth century by the monks of the monastery at Conques (Translatio), and her diverse miracles (Liber miraculorum); also included is a rendering of the Provençal Chanson de Sainte Foy, translated by Robert L. A. Clark.

The miracles distinguish Sainte Foy as an unusual and highly individualistic child saint displaying a fondness for gold and pretty things, as well as a penchant for playing practical jokes on her worshippers. In his record of Sainte Foy, Bernard of Angers, the eleventh-century author of the first parts of the Liber miraculorum, emphasized the saint's "unheard of" miracles, such as replacing missing body parts and bringing dead animals back to life.

The introduction to the volume situates Sainte Foy in the history in the history of hagiography and places the saint and her monastery in the social context of the high Middle Ages. Sheingorn also evokes the rugged landscape of south central France, the picturesque village of Conques on the pilgrimage road, and, most important, the golden, jewel-encrusted reliquary statue that medieval believers saw as the embodiment of Sainte Foy's miracle-working power. In no other book will readers enjoy such a comprehensive portrait of Sainte Foy and the culture that nurtured her.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication Page

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pp. i-v

Contents

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pp. vii-

Figures

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pp. ix-

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiii

The golden majesty of Sainte Foy has fascinated me ever since Professor Marilyn Stokstad showed a slide of her reliquary-statue in my first art history class. As I learned more about relationships among art, liturgy, drama, and hagiography in graduate school and later, my thoughts often returned to a figure that seemed to stand at the intersection of so many strands of medieval culture.

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Introduction

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pp. 1-31

As a compilation of texts that make up the dossier of a saint, this book resembles what medieval people would call a libellus, a "little book" about one saint. And it is appropriate that this should be so, for almost all the texts translated in this book appeared in manuscripts solely concerned with Sainte Foy (see Figure 1). These manuscripts exemplify a type not so well known as the great compilations...

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Passio: The Passion of Sainte Foy

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pp. 33-38

The sixth of October, the Passion of Sainte Foy, virgin and martyr.

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Liber miraculorum sancte Fidis:The Book of Sainte Foy's Miracles

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pp. 39-261

The beginning of the book of miracles of holy and most blessed Foy, virgin and martyr, related by Bernard, a teacher,

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Translatio: The Translation of Sainte Foy, Virgin and Martyr, to the Conques Monastery

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pp. 263-274

The King of the Heavens is magnificent and eternal. Thus, before the beginning of the world the Father, Whose rule is absolute and Whose wisdom is indescribable, marvelously saw beforehand the end of all creatures along with with their beginning, although they did not yet exist. That is the way He chose those who were later going to be His own Christians. They were the ones who took up...

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The Song of Sainte Foy: A prose translation from the Proven

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pp. 275-284

I. I heard a Latin book about the old times read under a pine.

Notes

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pp. 285-310

Bibliography

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pp. 311-318

Index

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pp. 319-329

University of Pennsylvania Press: MIDDLE AGES SERIES

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pp. 331-334


E-ISBN-13: 9780812200522
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812215120

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 1995

Series Title: The Middle Ages Series

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Subject Headings

  • Foy, Saint, ca. 290-303.
  • Christian child saints -- France -- Conques -- Biography.
  • Conques (Aveyron, France) -- Religious life and customs.
  • France -- Religious life and customs.
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