Topoi and Prototypes as Bearers of Christian Memory in Hagiography (according to Lives of Saints Dating from the First Bulgarian Kingdom)

Грета Стоянова. Топосите и прототипите като носители на християнската памет в агиографията (според жития на светци от Първото българско царство)

  • Author(s):
  • Subject(s): Scripta // Medieval Studies // Linguistic // History of Literature //
  • Published by: Institute for Literature BAS
  • Print ISSN: 1312-238X
  • Summary/Abstract:

    The paper discusses the use of topoi, prototypes and proto-characters to present the protagonists in the oldest surviving Old Bulgarian lives and deeds of saints (The Life and Works of Saint Cyril the Philosopher, The Life and Works of Saint Methodius, and the Anonymous Life of Saint John of Rila). The function of a prototype/ proto-character is to reveal the saint’s resemblance to the former concerning symptomatic characteristics, actions, and situations, for example, by analogy to a familiar authority (biblical, patristic, hagiographic or other). The lives recall the ascetic exploits of the prototype and simultaneously laud the new saint. The meanings of the topoi and prototypes extend beyond the particulars of the text and become a significant element in the creation of shared Christian memory. The topoi and prototypes in hagiographic texts portrayed ideal examples to be followed, passing them on in time and turning them into traditions.