Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
SOLDIER SAINTS AND HOLY WARRIORS: WARFARE AND SANCTITY IN THE LITERATURE OF EARLY ENGLAND is an outstanding study of the evolving relationship between religion and warfare in medieval Latin and Anglo-Saxon hagiography. The conjunction of faith and violence is a topic relevant to our times, and Damon's fair and comprehensive treatment of his provocative theme deserves a wide readership. In examining the literary period from the writing of Sulpicius' VITA MARTINI in 397 to the revising of Saint Martin's biography by several Anglo-Saxon authors prior to the First Crusade in 1095/96, Damon discerns a pattern of development in which the idealization of Christian pacifism by Sulpicius was eventually superseded by the championing of Christian militancy in AElfric's LIVES OF SAINTS. However, Damon not only avoids making a Procrustean bed of this pattern, he emphasizes the point that the gradual sanctification of warfare in medieval literature was a complex and conflicted trend. In fact, he devotes his last chapter to the demonstration of how Anglo-Saxon versions of Saint Martin's life preserve many of the pacifistic tropes used by Sulpicius.
SOLDIER SAINTS AND HOLY WARRIORS is blessedly free of theoretical jargon. Damon makes his points clearly and methodically, weighing his evidence judiciously and quoting in full the passages he examines. He translates the Anglo-Saxon passages himself, and his renderings are elegantly terse and accurate.
In his discussions of Saint Martin of Tours, Saint Guthlac, Kings Edwin and Oswald, and many other Christian soldiers marching as to war or marching to actual war, Damon's eruditon is always manifest. His research is reliable and his voice is assuredly authoritative.Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?