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The Cult of Vincent Ferrer and the Religious Life of the Later Middle Ages
Laura Smoller, University of Arkansas, Little Rock
Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FT-52199-04
“From Authentic Miracles to a Rhetoric of Authenticity: Examples from the Canonization and Cult of St. Vincent Ferrer.” (Article)
Title: “From Authentic Miracles to a Rhetoric of Authenticity: Examples from the Canonization and Cult of St. Vincent Ferrer.”
Author: Laura Ackerman Smoller
Abstract: Historians of science have often looked to the authentication of miracles at canonization trials as a way to investigate the ways in which religious and scientific understandings of the natural and the miraculous came together and, sometimes, into conflict. Most historians of science who have forayed into the world of miracles have, understandably, stopped at the moment of a saint's canonization. Examining the treatment of a saint's miracles both before and after the canonization process, however, yields a different picture. Drawing upon materials from the 1455 canonization and subsequent cult of the Dominican Vincent Ferrer (1350–1419), this essay reveals, first, that papal approval marked only one of several ways in which miracles received publicly-accepted “authentication,” and second, that, after the moment of canonization, the idea of carefully authenticated miracles became irrelevant not simply for the great masses of the faithful, but also for the ecclesiastical hierarchy, who adopted an ever shifting rhetoric of authenticity as authors used tales of the saint's “authentic” miracles to drive home their own various polemical points.
Primary URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8437501
Primary URL Description: Church History online
Periodical Title: Church History 80, no. 4 (2011): 773-97.
“A Case of Demonic Possession in Fifteenth-Century Brittany: Perrin Hervé and the Nascent Cult of Vincent Ferrer.” (Book Section)
Title: “A Case of Demonic Possession in Fifteenth-Century Brittany: Perrin Hervé and the Nascent Cult of Vincent Ferrer.”
Author: Laura Ackerman Smoller
Editor: Michael Goodich
Abstract: In 1453-54, 313 witnesses testified at a Brittany inquest into the sanctity of Vincent Ferrer. A number of witnesses at the canonization inquest testified about the miraculous cure in 1425 of one of the town’s more prominent citizens, a client of Duke Pierre, a man named Perrinus Hervei, also known as Grasset. Although in Perrinus’s own testimony, he simply had gone out of his mind until placed on Vincent Ferrer’s tomb, other witnesses were adamant that what they had seen was a case of demonic possession. This article examines the testimony about Perrinus’s miraculous healing as lens through which to view the nascent cult of Vincent Ferrer in Brittany. The timing of Perrinus’s cure, as well as its prominence in the Brittany testimony, suggests its importance in the formation of the cult of Vincent Ferrer. Furthermore, the testimony reveals the way in which various Bretons were attempting to shape the cult of the holy man on behalf of whose canonization they were testifying. Some of the testimony indicates a desire to impugn the reputation of the Carmelites, whose activities had come under question in mid-fifteenth-century Brittany. Other testimony underscores connections between the cult of Vincent Ferrer and the dukes of Brittany, who sought to gain a sacred legitimacy through stressing their ties to the holy preacher. The testimony also hints at the ways in which promoters of Vincent’s cult worked to publicize this and other miracles, particularly in the years leading up to the canonization inquest. Finally, the testimony about Perrinus’s cure helps to reveal social networks in fifteenth-century Vannes.
Primary URL: http://www.worldcat.org/title/voices-from-the-bench-the-narratives-of-lesser-folk-in-medieval-trials/oclc/61479614&referer=brief_results
Primary URL Description: WorldCat entry.
Book Title: Voices from the Bench: The Narratives of Lesser Folk in Medieval Trials.
ISBN: 1403966915 978
The Saint and the Chopped-Up Baby: The Cult of Vincent Ferrer in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Book)
Title: The Saint and the Chopped-Up Baby: The Cult of Vincent Ferrer in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Author: Laura A. Smoller
Abstract: Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419) a celebrated Dominican preacher from Valencia, was revered as a living saint during his lifetime, receiving papal canonization within fifty years of his death. Laura Smoller recounts the fascinating story of how Vincent became the subject of widespread devotion, ranging from the saint's tomb to Brittany to cult centers in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Latin America, where Vincent is still venerated today. She traces the long and sometimes contentious process of establishing a stable image of a new saint.
Publisher: Cornell Univesity Press
Type: Single author monograph
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes