Palestinian Hagiography (Fourth–Eighth Centuries)

Authored by: Bernard Flusin

The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754650331
eBook ISBN: 9781315612799
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043966

10.4324/9781315612799.ch6

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Abstract

Palestinian hagiography is related to the history of the Churches of the area and their distinctive character. 1 1

See Abel, Histoire de la Palestine depuis la conquête d’Alexandre jusqu’à l’invasion arabe.

It must be said that Palestine does not form a coherent entity in terms of language and religion. Hellenic culture dominated urban centres and some cities, such as Ceasarea and Gaza, but a major part of the population, especially in the countryside, were Semitic in language and culture. As for religions, the diffusion of Christianity was not spread in all places in the same proportions. Large zones were dominated by Jews and Samaritans whereas the Saracen peoples of the south of this region were attached to paganism. 2 2

For an overview of the population of this region, see Dauphin, La Palestine byzantine.

The production of hagiographical texts in late antiquity was concentrated in cities and monasteries where the Greek language prevailed. It was after the Arab conquest in the seventh century that the linguistic situation changed to the effect that texts were sometimes written in Syriac and, more and more frequently, in Arabic. 3 3

See Griffith, ‘The Monks of Palestine and the Growth of Christian Literature in Arabic’.

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