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Paperback The Oxford Dictionary of Saints Book

ISBN: 0192800582

ISBN13: 9780192800589

The Oxford Dictionary of Saints

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Book Overview

From the famous to the obscure, this book provides concise accounts of the lives, cults, and artistic associations of over 1,300 saints. Fully revised and updated for this new edition, it includes new entries on a number of recently canonized saints and a new appendix on patronages,confirming the work's reputation as the standard one-volume work available in English.'an essential reference work for anyone interested in the subject,'Daily Telegraph'this...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An exellent, balanced, . . .

. . . reasoned, and readable presentation of many, many of the saints of the Church, with particular emphasis on those saints important in the British Isles. Other reviewers have pointed out the balanced nature of the author's presentation, balancing known fact, pious tradition, legend and just plain superstition with scholarship and tact. I have to completely concur. I was also particularly impressed with the primary source material used and referenced, so that the interested reader can dig more deeply into those particular lives of interest (and perhaps come to conclusions different from those of the author!) The introduction, giving a brief background of the "history" of the making of saints was also helpful. Very highly recommended.

Endlessly fascinating

This book is an interesting and engrossing catalogue of saints, primarily from the British Isles. Far from exhibiting the "bias" of which other reviewers accuse it, that focus on British/Irish saints was the_intent_of the book. Although the major saints of the universal Church are included, this book fills a vacuum by concentrating on the saints of the British Isles, the majority of which are obscure and of purely local interest and devotion. In the lives of these forgotten saints, Mr. Farmer has dug deeply through the layers of history to give us a fascinating snapshot of British piety and devotion since the earliest times. Although the tone of this book is scholarly rather than devotional, and some of the early legends and beliefs tend to amuse rather than edify, on the whole the lives of these saints cannot but inspire the faithful.

solid scholarship, endless entertainment

The Oxford Dictionary of Saints will not disappoint you, no matter what your reasons are for buying it. It's an excellent reference book. David Hugh Farmer has a real gift for summarizing large amounts of material without sacrificing either natural language or the particularity of the information being summarized. He's especially good at conveying the nuances of sources and their reliability. Also: no matter what your religious and educational background may be, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints is one of the very best bathroom books ever printed: endlessly varied, always interesting. It's a trove of self-contained little stories.

Balanced and interesting

Balanced, informative, and interesting summary of available information on approximately 1300 saints, with useful system of indexing and cross-referencing.In summarizing the lives of the saints, some sources seem to want to gloss over the more fantastic, fairy-tale aspects of some stories, while other sources will drift off into a Daily Meditation self-help format. This text takes an even-handed and academic approach, that allows the reader to draw his own conclusions.As a Californian, it is a little frustrating to deal with the British bias on saints, and find nothing about saints who were chosen for California place names like San Dimas, San Luis Obispo, San Diego (Didacus?), and San Ysidro. But overall this is an excellent source for hagiographic trivia and history.

Scholarly, superbly researched and eminently readable

This book really is a superbly researched work by an author who has a real feel for the subject. It contains in-depth, well researched information which has been succintly put together. Where there is doubt about the authenticity of any source material, this is clearly stated in the text. This book is definitely the best place to start for anyone with an interest in the subject of saints.
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