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The Agony of Passing: Monastic Death Ritual in Twelfth-Century England

HARGREAVES, BARBARA,MARY (2016) The Agony of Passing: Monastic Death Ritual in Twelfth-Century England. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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The Agony of Passing: Monastic Death Ritual in Twelfth-Century England

Between them, the lives and deaths of Anselm of Canterbury, Ailred of Rievaulx, Gilbert of Sempringham and Hugh of Lincoln, spanned the twelfth century. This thesis considers the death narrative accounts found in the Lives of these four saints, all of them monks, two of them bishops (including one archbishop), who were leaders of their respective communities. The death ritual process mandated by Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury in his customary, the Monastic Constitutions, is deployed as a base text for comparison. The analysis of these texts seeks to elicit an understanding of how monastic death was to be managed in principle, and how it might have been performed and experienced in practice, in twelfth-century England. The death narratives are those of saints, and therefore hagiographical works intended to demonstrate the sanctity of their subject and his suitability as an exemplar of monastic virtue. The Lives show significant commonality in their utilisation of the death of the saint as a framework through which to describe this. There is commonality too in the areas of the death ritual that the hagiographers chose to use, and those they ignored, in their accounts. These aspects of monastic sanctity as demonstrated through the accounts of dying and death are explored in this thesis. A supplementary, and complementary, line of enquiry investigates the role of medicine and medical practitioners at the bedside of a dying monk, and explores the often overlapping expression of medical science within a work of hagiography.

The copyright of this thesis rests with the author. No quotation from it should be published without the author's prior written consent and information derived from it should be acknowledged.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:Death; ritual; hagiography; monastic; monastery; Life; Lives; saint.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 Sep 2016 12:00

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