The legend of St Mary of Egypt, first appearing in sixth-century Byzantine Middle Eastern culture, became widely popular in medieval Latin and vernacular versions. The first known version, sometimes attributed to Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, reworks an earlier tale of a holy man who finds a solitary female penitent living in a cave. Sophronius was a strong defender of the dual nature of Christ – human and divine – and so of Christ’s possession of the human ability to choose. If he or a like-minded cleric is the legend’s author, that may lie behind its interest in an appalling sinner’s conversion by divine mercy, and its veneration of a being that late antique society considered “a sort of human vermin.” Nevertheless, this is not a story of a potentially overweening monk who needs to be humbled by seeing the superior virtues of a convertite.
|Title of host publication||Matters of Engagement|
|Subtitle of host publication||Emotions, Identity, and Cultural Contact in the Premodern World|
|Editors||Daniela Hacke, Claudia Jarzebowski, Hannes Ziegler|
|Place of Publication||Abingdon|
|Number of pages||14|
|ISBN (Print)||978-1-138-59465-4 (hbk), 978-1-138-59467-8 (pbk)|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|