Christian Cult of Saints : The threat of Rape and the female martyr Saint in the Golden Legend
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The hagiographic narration of popular legends by Jacobus Voragine in the Golden Legend has had a wide readership in the 13th century and onwards. The cult of saints was rooted in the Christian tradition. These venerated saints had their feast days celebrated in the liturgical church season. To portray the legends and traditions of the church, Jacobus writes of historical female saints who met the threat of rape. Although he writes about both the male and female saints, the virginity of the female saint is somehow tied to her martyrdom. In Jacobus’ narrative, these virgin martyr saints are of noble birth, beautiful, pious, and desirous. The virginity of these female saints is put online when menaced with rape and their male counterparts never face this horrendous threat. Sexual shaming and physical punishment were related uniquely to the female saint. The sex and gender of the female saint made their martyrdom defer significantly from the male saints though they went through the same magnitude of torture. Particularly only the female saint’s virginity was ardently related to their martyrdom. This research was done using the source-oriented approach and question-oriented approach. It explored Jacobus’ narrative of the male and female saints and attempts to understand how virginity was communicated and propagated. Virginity is articulated as being valuable by the Church Fathers who came up with treatises in the 4th century. Some of these Church Fathers significantly influence Jacobus, who was also a member of the Dominican Order. These Church Fathers regarded Mary as the virgin par excellence, and she epitomized virginity. In conclusion, Jacobus’ narrative promotes the sanctity of the female saints by showcasing their purity. He depicts virginity as having physical and spiritual attributes but overemphasizes that of the female saint.