The Role Of Apocrypha and Saints’ Lives, Their Transmission and Readership in The history of Childhood and Family

Methodological Challenges and the State of the Art


  • Marijana Vuković University of Warsaw



saints’ lives, hagiography, Apocrypha, transmission, readership, childhood, family, Middle Ages


The article proposes to explore the potentials of examining Apocrypha and saints’ lives in pursuit of knowledge about children, childhood, and family in the past. It first stresses a necessity to accurately define Apocrypha and saints’ lives within early Christian literature. The transmission of Apocrypha and saints’ lives in their textual varieties, the number of manuscripts they appear in, and their absence of authorship also demand further discussion. Scholars additionally do not reach the consensus over their readership, reputation, and audience in the same period.   Although a great deal of potential remains in these genres for the pursuances named above, one has to bear in mind the restrictions. One has to be cautious when prying out social realities from hagiography. One also has to distinguish the theological and religious aspects from the social realities and realities of everyday life in such texts, as well as to pay attention to their literary and genre aspects. Finally, one may wish to trace varieties of individual texts in manuscripts, because they sometimes give different information about our matters of interest.

Author Biography

Marijana Vuković, University of Warsaw

Marijana Vuković obtained a Ph.D. degree in Medieval studies from the Central European University in Budapest in 2015 with the dissertation “Martyr Memories: The Afterlife of the Martyrdom of Irenaeus of Sirmium between East and West in Medieval Hagiographical Collections (Eighth-Eleventh Century).” She holds another Ph.D. degree from the Department of History of Ideas at the University of Oslo (2018), with the dissertation “Jesus´ Childhood in the Middle Ages: Manuscripts and Texts of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas in the Latin West, Byzantium, and Among Slavs.” In 2018, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Warsaw within the ERC Project “The Cult of Saints,” based at the University of Oxford.


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How to Cite

Vuković, M. (2020). The Role Of Apocrypha and Saints’ Lives, Their Transmission and Readership in The history of Childhood and Family: Methodological Challenges and the State of the Art. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 48(3-4), 45-52.