Judean hagiographies are unusual. Some are unexpectedly structured: a saint’s life in the form of a history text. Others offer surprising content. Expected hagiographic stylizations, for example, often depict moments in which the saint is offered money for a miracle. In such cases the saint invariably refuses. Judean saints, however, accept gratitude willingly – often with cash amounts recorded. The peculiarities of these works have regularly been examined on literary and theological grounds. The monasteries that produced these texts were utterly dominated by the environment of Christian Jerusalem. Although often commented upon, the unmined implications of this reality hold the key to understanding these hagiographies. It is only by examining these monasteries’ ties to – and embeddedness within – their peculiar context that we can perceive the mindset that produced such baffling texts.
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