Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Hagiographical Strategies: A Comparative Study of the Standard Lives of St. Francis and Milarepa, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Hagiographical Strategies

A Comparative Study of the Standard Lives of St. Francis and Milarepa, 1st Edition

By Massimo A. Rondolino


216 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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This book examines the potential of conducting studies in comparative hagiology, through parallel literary and historical analyses of spiritual life writings pertaining to distinct religious contexts. In particular, it focuses on a comparative analysis of the early sources on the medieval Christian Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) and the Tibetan Buddhist Milarepa (c. 1052-1135), up to and including the so-called ‘standard versions’ of their life stories written by Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (1221-1274) and Tsangnyön Heruka (1452-1507) respectively.

The book thus demonstrates how in the social and religious contexts of both 1200s Italy and 1400s Tibet, narratives of the lives, deeds and teachings of two individuals recognized as spiritual champions were seen as the most effective means to promote spiritual, doctrinal and political agendas. Therefore, as well being highly relevant to those studying hagiographical sources, this book will be of interest to scholars working across the fields of religion and the comparative study of religious phenomena, as well as history and literature in the pre-modern period.


Recipient of the 2018 Frederick Streng Book Award for excellence in Buddhist-Christian Studies

‘Readers of Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Hagiographical Strategies can expect to be challenged as they follow the author through unfamiliar territories and cultures, even while knowing that they are being led through it all by a trustworthy guide. Such fine-grained study of two vastly different subjects is unavoidably difficult. Those who stick with Rondolino for the entire journey, however, will be rewarded by witnessing a well-grounded example of critical comparative study and by coming away with a more expansive view how hagiography is composed. Published in Routledge’s Sanctity in Global Perspective series, this book illustrates the "global" aspect exceedingly well and invites further comparison.’ Jon Keune, Michigan State University, in Reading Religion

Table of Contents

1 Introduction


Part One: The Early Lives

2 St. Francis of Assisi

3 Milarepa

4 Hagiological Reflections


Part Two: The Standard Lives

5 Bonaventure of Bagnoregio's St. Francis

6 Tsangnyön Heruka's Milarepa

7 Hagiological Reflections

8 Conclusion

About the Author

Massimo Alessandro Rondolino is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Carroll University, USA.

About the Series

Sanctity in Global Perspective

Published under the aegis of The Hagiography Society, this series is dedicated to exploring the concept of sanctity in literary, artistic, ideational, and sociohistorical dimensions. ‘Sanctity in Global Perspective’ publishes monographs and edited volumes that illuminate the lives of saintly figures, the communities dedicated to those figures, and the material evidence of their cults. Our aim is to foster critical scholarship that offers novel conceptualizations and the possibility of crosspollination of ideas across traditions, geographical regions, and academic disciplines. The series is open to all areas of scholarship, without restriction as to religious traditions or time periods.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General