Monday, August 06, 2018

On St. George

ROGER PEARSE has been blogging on St. George, the late-antique Palestinian dragon slayer and patron saint of England.

Texts of the “Life” of St George
When I came to look at St George, my intention was to arrange for the translation of one or two versions of his Life. What I had not anticipated was to find a mess, where there is still basic scholarly work to do in identifying and classifying versions of the Lives. Originally I had hoped to list all the texts which contained versions of the martyrdom of St George; or at least the earliest ones. But this quickly proved futile. So here is what I was able to work out.

St George – the main post! What do we know about him, and how do we know it?
In short, we are dealing with fictional material about a figure for whom we have no evidence whatever, and no factual material whatever. Hagiography as a genre runs across a spectrum, all the way from historical accounts, down through fictionalised or “improved” versions of the facts, until we end up with wholly imaginary saints and wholly fictional Lives. St George is at the far end of that spectrum.
That's too bad. I'd always been a little skeptical about the dragon, though.

Past posts on St. George are here and links.

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