Critical Inquiry Critical Inquiry

Saints: Faith without Borders

Edited by Françoise Meltzer and Jaś Elsner


Now in print and available for purchase!

While the modern world has largely dismissed the figure of the saint as a throwback, we remain fascinated by excess, marginality, transgression, and porous subjectivity—categories that define the saint. In this collection, Françoise Meltzer and Jaś Elsner bring together top scholars from across the humanities to reconsider our denial of saintliness and examine how modernity returns to the lure of saintly grace, energy, and charisma.

Addressing such problems as how saints are made, the use of saints by political and secular orders, and how holiness is personified, Saintstakes us on a photo tour of Graceland and the cult of Elvis and explores the changing political takes on Joan of Arc in France. It shows us the self-fashioning of culture through the reevaluation of saints in late-antique Judaism and Counter-Reformation Rome, and it questions the political intent of underlying claims to spiritual attainment of a Muslim sheikh in Morocco and of Sephardism in Israel. Populated with the likes of Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, and Padre Pio, this book is a fascinating inquiry into the status of saints in the modern world.


 by Françoise Meltzer and Jaś Elsner

From Cuba with Saints 
by Marc Blanchard

St. Elvis 
by Lawrence Jasud

Reviving the Fairy Tree: Tales of European Sanctity 
by Françoise Meltzer

Transgressing the Self: Making Charismatic Saints 
by Simon Coleman

On Naming Saints 
by David Tracy

Patron Saint of the Incongruous: Rabbi Me'ir, the Talmud, and Menippean Satire 
by Daniel Boyarin

Thinking with Saints: Sanctity and Society in the Early Modern World 
by Simon Ditchfield

St. Dymphna and the Lunatics: The Advent of Moral Community Psychiatry 
by Bernard Rubin

On the Politics of Sainthood: Resistance and Mimicry in Postcolonial Morocco 
by Malika Zeghal

The Enchantment of Judaism: Israeli Anxieties and Puzzles 
by Aviad Kleinberg

Persuading the Absent Saint: Image and Performance in Marian Devotion 
by Robert Maniura

Miracles of Bodily Transformation, or How St. Francis Received the Stigmata 
by Arnold I. Davidson

Re-Presenting a Contemporary Saint: Padre Pio of Pietrelcina 
by Michael A. Di Giovine

Saint Teresa of Avila 
by Julia Kristeva
, translated by Anne Marsella

‘Lycidas’: A Wolf in Saint’s Clothing 
by Neil Forsyth

The Invisibility of the Saint
by Jean-Luc Marion

Beyond Compare: Pagan Saint and Christian God in Late Antiquity 
by Jaś Elsner

by Aviad Kleinberg


For more CI Books, click here.

  • Jaś Elsner and Françoise Meltzer

  • Saints: Faith without Borders, edited by Françoise Meltzer and Jaś Elsner.