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Възрожденски интерпретации на житийното
Sacred Biography in Early Modern Bulgaria

Author(s): Irina Dobreva
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Институт за литература - BAN

Summary/Abstract: Traditionally, creating sacred biographies (narrative texts of the saint’s life) was a way of giving some structure and coherence to traumatising experiences in order to strengthen integrity of Christian community. But even more, sacred biographies are providing both linguistic and philosophical frame for the community understanding of such experiences and these experiences’ theological, moral and political implications in a situation of new ideological needs. Imitatio Christi receives additional significance, being charged with special value as an argument believers to take part in liberation movements when national ideology was considered to share common features with magistral ideas of Christianity. More traditional authors emphasize the situation of renunciation to present models of behaviour worthy of emulation–texts provide a documentary witness of sanctification for community and in thus become themselves a part of the sacred tradition they serve to document. But there also appear interpretations of recent saints as ancestors of national heroes because the sameness of their sacrifice for a glorious idea. Genre’s rhetorical practices and purposes undergo change and contribute to the construction of a national pantheon and acceptance of new personae and deeds. In the new biographical practices authors also often seek to model hero’s suffering on that of Christ or to adopt certain topoi from hagiography and Scripture in an attempt to locate personal events in some larger absolute frame. As most preferable are distinguished the debate or bringing to court situations. Biographical and paradigmatic are brought together to assure legitimacy for biographical texts and auto/biographical intention. Discussing different aspects of sacred biography in 19th century we tend to conclude that recent saint’s legitimacy is based chiefly on the existence of properly composed vita of a saint. At the same time conventions well known from hagiography affect different life-writing practices and continue to play a significant role in giving shape to personal experience.

  • Issue Year: 2005
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 155-175
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: Bulgarian