Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Definition of a Saint

Thomas Long defines a saint as follows: "saints are figures out of the Christian past whose lives have been insufficiently researched."


Antonio Lombatti said...

As the Bollandists have clearly shown in their 70 volume "Acta Sanctorum", most of the ancient and early medieval saints and martyrs are legendary people. We cannot dig in their pasts simply because we have only hagiographical tales which, as a primary sources, have the same historical reliability of that of a fairy tale. :-)

Best from Italy,
Antonio Lombatti

Ben Witherington said...


Greetings to you in beautiful Italia. You are right about a good deal of this, but it is interesting that historians have done a pretty good job of ferreting out the truth from the myth when it comes to figures like St. Francis of Assisi. There is enough data to allow the hagiography to be read critically, and when you do, what remains is still a remarkable Christian life, just not a perfect one.

I miss Italia :(.. can't wait to come again.


Ben W

Falantedios said...

I hope they aren't using the same criteria on the "saints" that the Jesus Seminar used on Jesus.


preacherman said...

It is my believe that as Christians we are all Saints. Paul address the Churches as Saints. You not need to meet special requirements. You just need be a Christian.

Ryan said...

preacherman is right... saints = all true Christians. When we make it something other than this, I think we make unbiblical distinctions between people.