Syriac Hagiography

Some General Works:

R. Aigrain, L'Hagiographie: ses sources, ses méthodes, son histoire (Paris, 1953)

C. Binfield, Sainthood Revisioned: Studies in Hagiography and Biography (Sheffield, 1995).

P. Brown, "The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity", Journal of Roman Studies 61 (1973), 80–101. [Reprinted in Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity(Berkeley, 1982), 103–52.]

———, The Cult of the Saints: its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (Chicago, 1981).

———, "The Saint as Exemplar in Late Antiquity", Representations 1:2 (1983), 1–25.

H. Delehaye, Legends of the Saints (New York, reprinted 1962).

———, Les passions des martyrs et les genres littéraires (Brussels, reprinted 1966).

———, Les saints stylites (Brussels, 1923).

A.G. Elliott, Roads to Paradise. Reading the Lives of the Early Saints (London, 1987).

S.B. Gajano (ed.), Agiografia altomedievale (Bologna, 1976).

S. Hackel (ed.), The Byzantine Saint (London, 1981).

Hagiographie: Cultures et societes, IV–XII siecles (Actes du Colloque) (Paris, 1981).

T. Head, Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints' Lives from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages (London, 1995).

E. Key Fowden, The Barbarian Plain: St Sergius between Rome and Iran (Berkeley, 1999).

D. Krueger, Symeon the Holy Fool (Berkeley 1966).

E.E. Malone, The Monk and the Martyr: The Monk as Successor of the Martyr (Washington, DC, 1950).

E. Patlagean, "Ancienne hagiographie byzantine et histoire sociale", Annales: Economies, Société, Civlisations 23 (1968), 106–26. [English translation in S. Wilson (ed), 101–21.]

P. Peeters, Orient et Byzance: Le tréfonds oriental de l'hagiographie byzantine (Subsidia Hagiographica 26; Brussels, 1950).

S. Wilson (ed.), Saints and their Cults: Studies in Religious Sociology, Folklore, and History (Cambridge, 1983) [Includes a useful annotated bibliography].


Some Available Translations of Syriac Hagiography:

S.P. Brock and S.A. Harvey, Holy Women of the Syrian Orient (Berkeley, 1987; reprinted, 1998).

E.A.W. Budge, The Life of Rabban Hormizd (London, 1894).

———, The Book of Paradise (London, 1904); also in The Paradise or Garden of the Holy Fathers (London, 1907), and Stories of the Holy Fathers (London, 1934) + The Wit and Wisdom of the Christian Fathers of Egypt (London, 1934). ["Enanisho"'s Collection of Egyptian Monastic texts].

———, The Monks of Kublai Khan (London, 1928). [Account of life and travels of Yahballaha III and Rabban Sauma].

F.C. Burkitt, Euphemia and the Goth (London, 1913). [Includes martyrdoms of Shmona, Gurya and Habbib].

W. Cureton, Ancient Syriac Documents (London, 1864). [Includes legendary martyrdoms of Sharbel and Barsamya].

———, History of the Martyrs in Palestine by Eusebius (London, 1861).

R. Doran, The Lives of Symeon Stylites (Kalamazoo, 1992).

C.J. Odenkirchen, The Life of St Alexis in the Old French Version (Leiden, 1978).

I. Shahid, The Martyrs of Najran (Brussels, 1971).



  • Acta Sanctorum et Martyrum I–II (ed. Assemani)
  • Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum I–VII (ed. Bedjan)
  • Bibliotheca Hagiographica Orientalis (1910)
  • Bibliotheca Sanctorum Orientalium I–II (Rome, 1998–9)
  • Bibliotheca Sanctorum
  • Bibliotheca Hagiographica Syriaca (in preparation)
  • J–M. Fiey, "Les Saints Syriaques" (forthcoming), Analecta Bollandiana.