Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Religious Studies

Second Department

Late Antique-Medieval Studies

Reader 1

Andrew Jacobs

Reader 2

Kenneth Wolf

Reader 3

Ellen Rentz

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© 2014 Lily C. Stewart


The purpose of this thesis is to explore the nuances and implications of the negative portrayals of bishops and the bishopric in late antique and medieval Catholic hagiography. I will consider how and why members of the episcopacy were painted so negatively, and how hagiographers got away with drawing such negative connotations around the office itself. In doing this, I will consider how these texts address real social anxieties surrounding the bishopric, and argue that they work apologetically for the episcopacy by establishing the corruptibility of the office's human aspect as an expected norm, and highlighting in contrast the extreme difficulty and laudability of living up to the office's divine aspect.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.