Dr. Jonathan Reimer, Assistant Professor of History at Eastern University, will teach a new course on Christian Saints this Spring 2024.
This course introduces students to the history, hagiography, and theology of Christian saints, variously understood as heroic martyrs, radical ascetics, gifted teachers, transcendent mystics, powerful intercessors, and moral exemplars. While highlighting evolving patterns of sanctity, it also stresses the uniqueness of holy men and women in whom "Christ plays in ten thousand places, / Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his" (Gerard Manley Hopkins, As Kingfishers Catch Fire). To understand both these saintly individuals and the traditions that they illuminate -Catholic, Orthodox, and, to a lesser degree, Protestant-this course will explore the mediums by which saints are encountered across diverse Christian communities. These include written works-such as Scripture, letters, passions, histories, hagiographies, autobiographies, monastic rules, and legends-as well as material objects-such as icons and relics. In engaging with these figures and the texts and objects which communicate them, this course invites its members to reflect on and pursue the Christian quest for holiness.