The Life of Saint Helia: critical edition, translation, introduction and commentary

12 June 2014 | by Virginia Burrus and Marco Conti (editors)

The Life of St Helia is a curious Latin work preserved as one of eight female hagiographies contained in a tenth-century Spanish manuscript copied in AD 954. The critical text given here is based on this and on a second tenth-century manuscript now in Paris; the critical edition and translation are mainly the work of Conti, the introduction and commentary of Burrus. The text had been known in a somewhat inaccurate and little-known transcription of the Escorial MS made in 1909 by the then head of the library, so the present edition, translation and commentary allow it to emerge as a notable addition to the early Christian works that debate the respective merits of virginity and marriage. Two-thirds of this long work consist of dialogue, first ­between Helia and her mother, who tries un

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