The Construction of Episcopal Identity: The Meaning and Function of Episcopal Depictions within Latin Saints’ Lives of the Long Twelfth Century
Mesley, Matthew Michael
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
My PhD offers a reassessment of the representation of English bishops within episcopal vitae composed between 1093 and 1214. It argues that the depiction of episcopal sanctity was shaped by the expectations of the community for which these texts were written and the hagiographer’s specific causa scribendi (reasons for writing). Through an investigation of four distinct Latin episcopal saints’ lives, I investigate the relationship between hagiographical function, episcopal identity and patronage by setting each text within its specific institutional and historical context. The vitae I have selected are: Faricius of Arezzo’s life of Aldhelm (c.1093-1099), William Wycombe’s life of Robert Bethune (c.1148-1150) and Gerald of Wales’s lives of Remigius (c.1198-1199) and Hugh of Avalon (c.1210-1214).
PhD in History