Boydell & Brewer
Traces the journey from ill health to miraculous cure through the lens of hagiographical texts from twelfth-century England.
The cults of the saints were central to the medieval Church. These holy men and women acted as patrons and protectors to the religious communities who housed their relics and to the devotees who requested their assistance in petitioning God for a miracle. Among the collections of posthumous miracle stories, miracula, accounts of holy healing feature prominently and depict cure-seekers successfully securing their desired remedy for a range of ailments and afflictions. What can these miracle accounts tell us of the cure-seekers' experiences of their journey from ill health to recovery, and how was healthcare presented in these sources?
This book aims to answer these questions via an in-depth study of the miraculous cure-seeking process, considering Latin miracle accounts produced in twelfth-century England, a time both when saints' cults flourished and there was an increasing transmission and dissemination of classical and Arabic medical works. Focused on seven shorter miracula (including Eadmer of Canterbury's Miracula S. Dunstani and Thomas of Monmouth's Vita et Passione S. Wilelmi Martyris Norwicensis) with a predominantly localised appeal, and thus on a select group of cure-seekers - including Abbot Osbert of Notley who suffered from an eye complaint, Leofmær the bedridden knight, and Gaufrid who experienced a bad tooth extraction - the volume brings together studies of healthcare and pilgrimage, looking at the alternative to secular medical intervention and the practicalities and processes of securing saintly assistance.