The Legends of the Holy Harlots

The Legends of the Holy Harlots

Thaïs and Pelagia in Medieval Spanish Literature

Andrew M. Beresford


Tamesis Books



An introduction to the legends of Saints Thaïs and Pelagia, together with critical editions of the five Castilian redactions.
The legends of the holy harlots, Thaïs and Pelagia, are two of the most controversial accounts of female sanctity to have circulated in Spain during the Middle Ages. In this book, which reviews the origin and development of their cults, the author reconsiders the relationships that have traditionally been thought to exist between them and three of the other so-called prostitute saints: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt, and Mary the niece of Abraham. This is accompanied by an evaluation of the five Castilian versions of the two legends and their Latin sources, followed by a reading of their thematic and structural significance, with particular emphasis paid to the ways in which the two women renounce their sins and embark on the slow and agonizing path of redemption. The book is completed by critical editions of the five Castilian versions.

ANDREW M. BERESFORD lectures in Spanish at the University of Durham.


June 2007
174 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Monografias A
ISBN: 9781855661448
Format: Hardback
Tamesis Books
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Table of Contents

Origin and Metamorphosis
A Common Ethos?
Versions in Spanish
Theme and Meaning
Critical Editions
Works Cited


Scholars, teachers, and students in Hispanomedieval studies will welcome this much-needed, highly teachable set of brief texts. (.) It will be essential reading for graduate students. SPECULUM
(A) study full of interest. (...)This is a book to be welcomed, firstly since it draws attention to two of the great texts of the early monastic world and secondly for the new editions of the Spanish translations of them, which contribute to many fields, not least the study of the reception of texts. THE JOURNAL OF THEOLOGICAL STUDIES

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