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SAINTHOOD . Saint is a designation that Christianity has used to recognize individuals deemed to have lived lives of heroic virtue and who, as a result, dwell eternally with God. They therefore may be venerated in a public cult. Historians of religion have liberated the category of sainthood from its narrower Christian associations and have employed the term in a more general way to refer to the state of special holiness that many religions attribute to certain people. The Jewish asid or tsaddiq, the Muslim walīy, the Zoroastrian fravashi, the Hindu i or guru, the Buddhist arahant or bodhisattva, the Daoist shengren, the Shintō kami, and others have all been referred to as saints.

The Category of Sainthood

The problem for the historian of religions is whether the term sainthood so broadly applied retains any meaning. Can a category that grows out of one religion be properly and usefully extended cross-culturally? William James described universal saintliness in psychological terms, while Joachim Wach defined the saint as a particular type of religious authority alongside the founder, the reformer, the priest, the prophet, and others. But sainthood may embrace persons of diverse psychological constitutions and religious offices. Fundamentally, then, sainthood may be described as a religion's acclamation of a person's spiritual perfection, however that perfection is defined. Persons so acclaimed exemplify the religion's highest values and thus function as models for others to follow. At the same time, the special holiness that inheres in such people endows them with supernatural powers that their devotees may call upon in their own spiritual quests. These figures may serve as wonder-workers, helpmates, or intercessors. In other words, saints are recognized by their religions as both subjects for imitation and objects of veneration. The tension between imitability and inimitability, between likeness to humans and otherness than humans, lies at the core of the saint's identity. While the extent to which particular saints or classes of saints are either emulated or worshiped varies greatly within and among religions, all saints attract some measure of both imitation and veneration.

Usually sainthood is a posthumous phenomenon. While recognition and proclamation of a person's exemplary virtues and exceptional powers may begin during his or her lifetime, a saint is one who stands the test of time. Indeed, a saint's exemplariness and powerfulness must transcend his or her death and be available to those who did not know him or her in the flesh. Thus, those who function as saints after their deaths may have been priests or prophets, activists or ascetics, rulers or the simple pious during their lifetimes. Sainthood, so understood, may embrace the holders of any number of religious offices but depends more on personal charisma than on religious status. Some religions even sponsor mythical saints, legendary people who lived long ago or dwell anonymously in the present world but who function for their followers much the same as do the historical human beings more commonly deemed saints.

Saints, however, should probably be distinguished from founders, the initiators of religious insights and religious communities. While founders may also be imitated and venerated posthumously, as are, for instance, Jesus of Nazareth and Gautama Buddha, they occupy a position of uniqueness in the structure of their religions that no saint can claim. Saints often imitate a founder, devoting themselves to living in his or her image. They may "translate" the founder's life and teachings for their own time and place. Saints come in quantity, collectively mapping out a topography of holiness that renders accessible the founder's example and power.

Sainthood in Major World Religions

Sainthood, as here typified, does not exist universally. Not all religious communities acclaim holy individuals as both paradigms to be imitated and intercessors to be venerated. Classic rabbinic Judaism, for instance, stressed the redemption of the entire Jewish people rather than individual salvation. Thus personal intercessors had little function in the religion. Furthermore, Judaism forbids the worship of human beings. Protestant Christianity, while emphasizing individual salvation, repudiated the Catholic cult of saints, finding in God's grace alone the key to redemption. Yet some forms of both Judaism and Protestantism recognize saints: The Besht (Yisraʾel ben Eliʿezer), spiritual leader of Hasidism, and Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science church, for example, are given the status of sainthood by their followers. Archaic and primitive religions tend to associate holiness more with certain offices, such as shaman or medicine man, than with unique individuals.


The recognition of the special holiness of certain people began early in the history of Christianity. Under the Roman persecution that began in the first century, many Christians gave up their lives rather than renounce their faith. These martyrs became the first persons to be given the title hagios ("saint"), though earlier the word had been used in the plural to designate the faithful in general. A martyr's willing renunciation of life demonstrated to other Christians his or her superhuman strength and convinced them that this person had conquered death. By the third century, commemorations in Rome marked the anniversaries of these deaths and celebrated the martyrs' rebirth into heavenly lives. Meanwhile the power of dead martyrs in drawing the faithful to their cemeteries had attracted the attention of the bishops, who made altars of their tombs and claimed them as their heavenly patrons. Christian officialdom thus embraced the popular veneration of martyrs and made it the cornerstone of ecclesiastical power.

At first the martyrs were remembered primarily as witnesses, examples to encourage others in times of persecution: Other Christians were urged to follow their model of imitating Christ by submitting to death. But at the same time, because they had transcended death and dwelled in heaven, martyrs possessed extraordinary powers, which the faithful could summon. At martyrs' tombs one could pray for cures of ills, for forgiveness of sins, or for protection from enemies. Indeed, after the establishment of Christianity as the state religion in the fourth century diminished persecution, the martyr was seen less as a paradigm and more as a hierophant.

With martyrdom on the wane, confessors, those who suffered but did not die for the faith, joined the ranks of the saints, as did ascetics, solitaries, and monks. By suffering voluntarily these saints imitated Christ and separated themselves from the world in order to know God better. They renounced food, money, marriage, human company, and even their own free will in order to discipline themselves for the contemplative life. In Eastern Orthodox Christianity the life of contemplation came to be the quintessential model of holiness. In the West in the thirteenth century, the mendicant orders, such as the Franciscans and Dominicans, promoted the contrasting saintly ideal of active service in the world. The image of Francis of Assisi overflowing with love for all creation balances the specter of pathological self-torture attributed to so many other Christian saints.

Although martyrdom was clearly believed to transport a person to heaven and sainthood, other forms of superlative piety required the evidence of miracles to substantiate posthumous heavenly domicile. Thus the miraculous element in the lives of the saints was increasingly stressed: Saints healed, exorcised, prophesied, and mastered the elements of nature. Although the Roman Catholic church insists upon the moral quality of a candidate for sainthood, only miracles constitute absolute proof that the candidate is in heaven and thus can intercede for those on earth.

Saints, especially monks and royal figures, are also central to the piety of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Saints are venerated in icons, elaborated and stylized pictures, not only found in churches but also prominently displayed in homes. These pictures aim to show the power that emanates from union with Christ and to depict graphically the unity of the church by linking the dead with the living.

In the sixteenth century Martin Luther attacked the Catholic cult of saints, which then included a huge traffic in relics. He ridiculed the veneration of saints as idolatry, for like the old pagan gods, many saints had special realms of expertise and particular places from which they could be invoked. While maintaining a belief in the exemplary value of some saints, Luther denied their intercessory efficacy. Protestant Christianity on the whole follows his lead, although some groups, such as the Mormons and the Christian Scientists, tend to revere their founders as saints.


The monotheistic religion preached by Muammad and exhibited in the Qurʾān abhorred and forbade the association of anything or anyone with God. Even Muammad himself was seen only as God's spokesman. The Arabic term generally translated as "saint," walī (pl., awliyāʾ ), is used in the Qurʾān to refer both to God and to God's "friends," that is, pious people in general. Those who obey God are awliyāʾ and God acts as walī to them. Nevertheless, popular Islam came to understand the walī as a particular kind of friend of God, one whose special closeness to divinity mediated between the ordinary faithful and that all-powerful and distant deity. Islam embraced and sanctified charismatic sons and daughters in its vast empire as vehicles for the popular transmission of the scriptural faith. These awliyāʾ personalized and localized the stern and austere faith of Muammad.

No formal canonization process, as exists in Roman Catholicism, determines who is to be walī. According to Islamic beliefs, a saint is made not by learning, asceticism, or piety but rather through a spontaneous enrapturing by God. Saints know who they are and may even proclaim their own sainthood. Together they form a single hierarchy headed by the qub, the pillar or axis, a legendary figure who dwells at the center of the universe and sustains it. Despite their power, saints occupy a lower spiritual rank than prophets, persons who bear special messages from God. Islamic theologians and jurists were forced by popular consensus to recognize saints and to acknowledge their miracles, but they did protest against pilgrimages to saints' graves and the practice of cultic activities there.

The figures who best illustrate the saint as imitated and venerated holy person are the ūfī masters. Sufism, the general term for Islamic mysticism, traditionally traces its origins to Muammad himself, for his reception of revelation is seen as a mystical experience. Ascetic tendencies among individuals who sought to interiorize their Islamic faith had led by the twelfth century to the formation of ūfī brotherhoods. In these associations disciples were expected to submit to the way of the master like, it was said, a corpse in the hands of an undertaker. The ūfī shaykh modeled the mystical path for his disciples and guided them along its stages. The stages of this path are epitomized in a Turkish saying:

Sharīʿah ("law"): Yours is yours and mine is mine.
Tarīqah ("way"): Yours is yours and mine is yours too.
Māʿrifah ("gnosis"): There is neither mine nor thine.

Veneration of a ūfī master continued posthumously at his tomb, especially on the anniversary of his birth. In Tanta, Egypt, for instance, the autumn mawlid ("birthday") of Sidi Amad, the founder of a ūfī order, is celebrated as a huge agricultural fair. The present head of the order, the caliph, bestows Sidi Amad's blessings during a long parade to the tombmosque complex, where prayers, sermons, and circumcision rituals take place. Relics of ūfī saints, such as their clothes and utensils, are often preserved by their orders.

Not all Muslim saints are ūfīs, however. Even an outspoken opponent of the cult of saints, the jurist Ibn Taymīyah (of the thirteenth to fourteenth century), who championed the equal access of all Muslims to superlative piety, was venerated after his death by those who sought his intercession and barakah ("spiritual power"). In Morocco, marabouts (warrior-saints), who claim descent from the Prophet and possession of thaumaturgic powers, are believed to preside after death over the territory around their tombs and bestow blessings through their descendants, some of whom will in turn become saints. Through the marabout, it is believed, the barakah of the Prophet directly touches the common person.

If saints play an important but unofficial role in Sunnī Islam, they lie at the very heart of Shīʾī orthodoxy. In Shīʾī Islam the term wilayāh denotes not sainthood in general but rather the position of authority of the imam who claims direct descent from the Prophet. This imam alone knows the esoteric interpretation of the Qurʾān, and he alone sustains the world. For one group of Shīʾīs, the Twelvers, the last imam went into occultation (hiding) centuries ago but continues to exert cosmic influence. For another group, the Ismaʿiliyah, the contemporary Aga Khan IV is the latest in an unbroken chain of imams who embody holiness for their followers.


Although classic rabbinic Judaism gave no sanction to hagiography or hagiolatry, it revered a whole galaxy of exemplary figures. Biblical heroes such as Abraham and Moses, rabbinic sages such as Hillel and Meʾir (of the first and second centuries, respectively), and martyrs such as ʿAqivaʾ ben Yosef (also of the second century) all displayed imitable virtues commended to the faithful in the legends of the Talmud and Midrashic literature. Martyrs were especially sacred to a people so often persecuted; their sacrifices were believed to atone for the community's sins, and as a group they were remembered in various liturgies. Generally speaking, however, rabbinic Judaism honored above all others the scholar who through learning, righteousness, and piety sanctified himself and the community at large.

If the rabbis of the Talmud never countenanced the veneration of human beings alive or dead, popular sentiment was often otherwise. Reputed graves of biblical and rabbinic worthies, for instance, were the objects of pilgrimages in ancient and medieval days, and among Middle Eastern Jews they still are. Mystical groups have been especially prone to lionize their founders. Yehudah ben Shemuʾel, leader of a medieval German ascetic and pietistic movement, was transformed into a wonder-worker in later legends, while among Spanish qabbalists the second-century rabbi Shimʿon bar Yoʾai was considered a patron saint. The sixteenth-century mystic Isaac Luria, of Safad, Palestine, called a tsaddiq ("just man") by his followers, saw himself as a reincarnation of Shimʿon bar Yoʾai and "discovered" the graves of other ancient sages, with whom he communed. His teachings and habits were reverently preserved by his disciples and had great influence on later Jewish mysticism.

In eighteenth-century Poland the pietist wonder-worker Yisraʾel ben Eliʿezer, called the Beshtan acronym of Baʿal Shem Tov (Master of the Name [of God])initiated the modern revivalist movement of Hasidism, which focused on the intercessory powers of the tsaddiqim. This movement appealed to Jews who were repelled by rabbinic elitism and learning. The tsaddiqim the Besht, certain of his disciples, and certain of their descendantsfunctioned for their followers as living, personal embodiments of Torah (law). In the "court" of the tsaddiq the asid (disciple) found a warm and fervent piety and a man who understood his innermost thoughts and needs. The tsaddiq could intercede with God on behalf of his followers and raise them to higher spiritual achievement. Thus the tsaddiq represents the clearest specimen of contemporary Jewish sainthood.


The boundary between humanity and divinity is far more fluid in Hinduism and in Eastern religions generally than it is in the monotheistic faiths. Thus devotees do not always distinguish human saints from divine incarnations. Hindu deities are regularly described anthropomorphically, and highly spiritual humans manifest divinity. The god Ka, for instance, appears in the Bhagavadgītā, Hinduism's most popular text, as both instructor and object of devotion to the young warrior Arjuna, while the sixteenth-century Bengali teacher Caitanya is sometimes deified by his followers as an incarnation of the same Ka.

Classic Vedic religion focused on the elaborate priestly performance of the sacrifice rather than on individual personalities; yet the ancient i s, legendary composers of Vedic hymns and renowned wonder-workers, and śramana s, self-mortifying ascetics, were highly revered. As the Vedic heritage was criticized and reinterpreted, human exemplars came more to the fore. The first famous historical model and teacher was Śakara (788838), whose monist philosophy revitalized orthodoxy and in the twelfth century provoked the dualist response of the equally revered Ramanuja.

But it was the bhakti ("devotion") movements, focused on the worship of theistic gods, principally Viu and Śiva, in which the guru ("preceptor") as saint became prominent. In literature as early as the Upanisadic texts the guru was seen not only as a teacher of the Vedas but also as a model whose daily habits pointed the way to spiritual liberation. The student not only learned from his master but also served him by attending to his sacred fire, his cattle, and his other priestly needs. In the bhakti tradition, however, the guru was honored not because of his knowledge or birth but because of the wholehearted devotion to his god that he manifested. The guru 's experience of liberation (moka ) became his disciples' goal. The tenth-century poet Jñanesvara described the total fulfillment that he experienced in the worship of his guru Nivritti to be like bathing in all the holy waters of the world. In the Vaiava and Śaiva sects the guru s were considered divine incarnations and were worshiped with incense and offerings.

In modern times guru s have continued to be an important force in Hindu religion, and some have found substantial followings beyond India. The gentle and sensitive Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (18361886) came to the attention of the West through the efforts of his disciple Vivekenanda, who spread his teaching worldwide. Similarly, the teachings of Caitanya are continued in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The most famous modern Hindu saint, Mohandas Gandhi (18691948), exemplified ancient Indian religious ideals and employed them to work for the cause of Indian nationalism. In so doing he became a "guru" for social justice movements in the West.


The two major divisions of Buddhism, Theravāda and Mahāyāna, have different understandings of sainthood. The Theravāda, whose adherents live primarily in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, acclaim the arahant as the acme of human perfection. The arahant achieves the final stage of the monastic quest for release from suffering and rebirth. The seeker begins by renouncing the householder's life in favor of homelessness and then passes countless lifetimes pursuing the "three trainings" in higher morality, higher concentration, and higher wisdom. At the end the arahant achieves the destruction of the asava s, the wrong mental states that bind one to kamma (Skt., karman ) and rebirth. He declares, "Destroyed is rebirth, lived is the higher life, done is what is to be done; there is no further becoming for me." The numerous legends of the arahant s in the Pali canon complement the descriptions of the path by relating stories about the previous lives of the arahant s, the ways they attain wisdom, their virtues, and their miraculous powers.

Remote from the ordinary person, the arahant provokes veneration rather than imitation. Indeed, few arahant s have been recognized since the time of Gautama Buddha. Yet a person can and should imitate the developing arahant as he is portrayed in the stories about his previous lives. By making offerings at pagodas containing the arahant s' relics, the householder purifies his own mind and earns merit. Moreover, by providing food, clothing, and housing to monks, laymen enable them to pursue enlightenment while, at the same time, accruing merit for themselves.

While Theravāda Buddhism idealizes the world-renouncing saint who follows the Buddha's reported last words to "seek your own salvation with diligence," Mahāyāna schools, dominant in East Asia, stress the power of saints to aid ordinary laymen to attain enlightenment. The bodhisattva (lit., "Buddha-to-be") is a saint who has postponed his complete enlightenment in order to help others along the path. He emulates the compassion of the Buddha by nurturing the seeds of enlightenment that are present in all beings.

The bodhisattva path is open to all people. Those who after many lifetimes have reached the stage of "arousing the thought of enlightenment" (bodhicitta ) resolve to work for the welfare of others. Through the practice of the six perfections (pāramitā s)giving, morality, patience, vigor, meditation, and wisdombodhisattva s overcome their self-motivated behavior. By imitating the virtues of a bodhisattva and having faith in his compassion, a person can be assured of eventual enlightenment. The bodhisattva is capable of transferring his own merit to the sincere seeker and thus directly speeding his progress.

The most advanced bodhisattva s are mythical figures who became venerated as divine saviors. Closely related are the celestial Buddhas, counterparts of Gautama Buddha existing in other worlds. In China and Japan devotion to the Buddha Amitābha, for instance, assures one of rebirth in the Pure Land. There the hindrances on the way to enlightenment are far fewer than they are in this world.

Tibetan Buddhists venerate the lama ("preceptor"), who may be either a scholar-monk or a wonder-worker like the most popular lama, Mi la ras pa (Milarepa) (10401123). The most famous saints of Tibet are the Dalai Lamas, incarnations of the celestial bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. Upon the death of a Dalai Lama, the incarnation passes to an infant born forty-nine days later, who must be discovered and properly raised for his exemplary and yet inimitable role.


As one of the several religious components of precommunist China, Confucianism offers a distinct notion of sainthood. For Confucius (551479 bce, as recorded in the Analects, the ideal humans were the sage-kings, the legendary ancient rulers who disclosed the ways of Heaven to humans and ruled in accord with those ways. Mengzi, a late fourth-century bce follower of Confucius, did not restrict the sheng ("sage") to antiquity but recognized the ongoing possibility of such exemplars. For Mengzi the sage was by nature the same as other people, so through learning and self-cultivation anyone could aspire to sagehood.

The Neo-Confucians worked out the ways to this goal. The school of Principle stressed the effort and discipline necessary to investigate li, the moral order in oneself and other things, while the school of Mind insisted that the highest good is waiting within to be uncovered and brought to fruition. For both, sagehood consists of the full realization of one's nature or mind and the sense of oneness with all things. A sage can be recognized by his peacefulness, warmth, honesty, and empathy for all beings. Sagehood thus became a reachable even if rarely realized goal.

As saint the sage is not only exemplary but also venerated. When, during the Han dynasty (206 bce220 ce), Confucianism became the official state religion, temples devoted to Confucius and noteworthy Confucians proliferated. Even in modern times the Wenmiao (Temple of Learning) was the site of sacrificial rites to Confucius. Such devotion arose out of respect for Confucian teaching, however, and not from the desire to seek intercession from Confucian masters. In the official religion the heroes were not deified. Yet in more popular circles Confucius was taken up as a deity in family shrines, along with ancestors, Buddhas, and popular gods.

Paths to Sainthood

Recalling that the most diverse types of people have been acclaimed as saints, as individuals both imitable and inimitable, one can nonetheless identify three broad paths to sainthood: moral, intellectual, and emotional.

The moral path is followed by those who seek to control and purify their will in order to do but one thing well: Serve their god or realize ultimate truth. The spiritual soldier is one who cultivates discipline in order to do his duty. Frequently that duty demands asceticism: By denying himself the ordinary pleasures of life, the ascetic reaches for extraordinary bliss. Among Christian saints chastity divided the world of spirit from the world of flesh. Eradicating bodily desires and mortifying the flesh, the Christian ascetic sought to remove the impediments that blocked his or her total communion with God. Similarly, for the Theravāda Buddhist monk the renunciation of the household life and the taking up of the begging bowl represent sacrifice of self-interest in the pursuit of enlightenment. Martyrdom represents the most extreme form of volitional control, a sure path to heaven in Christianity and Islam.

Other saints pursue an intellectual road to sanctity. Exercising the mind to know deeply oneself, the world, and ultimate reality has often been deemed a saintly vocation. The Confucian sage seeks the correlation between his inner self and the structure of the world outside, while the Jewish mystical sage aims to discover in Torah, God's revelation, the secrets of creation itself. For both, the mind is the road to truth. Judaism and Islam especially emphasize mastery of the written divine law as the prerequisite for further spiritual pursuits. On the other hand, education alone cannot make a saint. Religions typically emphasize supernatural intellectual qualities such as intuition, clairvoyance, and prophecy when elaborating sagely wisdom. The saint in this category rarely rests in his wisdom but reaches out instead as a teacher to share his wisdom with others. The master or preceptor type of saint, the Muslim shaykh or the Hindu guru, for instance, aims to guide others. Less by communicating objective knowledge than by teaching a way to live, the master exemplifies wisdom for his disciples.

The third path to sainthood is the way of the emotions, the perfecting of the heart to love unqualifiedly. Mystics of all religions are great lovers, and those acclaimed as saints have expressed that love in ways that inspire others to love. The Christian saint Bernard of Clairvaux and the Muslim saint Rābiʿah al-ʿAdawīyah did not hesitate to express their love for God in frankly erotic terms. Perfected love overflows into love for other human beings; thus saints are acclaimed for their healing and redeeming actions. The modern Jewish asid who experiences the love of his tsaddiq is elevated to new levels of holiness and feels all his earthly cares melt away in the master's presence. The typical walī can be depended on to listen to the prayers of barren women, paralytics, and the poverty-stricken and to respond compassionately. The quintessential lovers are the bodhisattva s, who aid their fellow creatures on the road to enlightenment. By assuming the sufferings of others they advance all beings toward final peace.

Finally, special note must be taken of the woman's path to sainthood, for it often varies from that of her male co-religionists. In general women have not had equal access to sainthood, especially in Judaism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. Still, the cults of Hindu goddesses such as Kālī and popular Chinese heroine-goddesses such as Mazi are likely functional equivalents to the veneration of established, male saints. Elsewhere, the ways to sainthood for women seem more rigid than those for men. In Roman Catholicism women are far more dependent upon supernatural powers to establish their holiness than are men and, as female nurturers, constitute a high proportion of the helping and healing saints. Their stories also typically feature penitential acts especially aimed at obliterating their debilitating sexuality. The Mahāyāna bodhisattva ideal, although asexual, requires of women, more so than men, a purge of their sexuality. In many cases a woman must undergo a sexual transformation in either this or a future life in order to become a bodhisattva, although some celestial bodhisattva s do retain their femininity.

See Also

Bodhisattva Path; Cult of Saints; Hasidism; Imamate; Martyrdom; Merit; Miracles; Perfectibility; Sufism.


A fine survey using sainthood as a category in world religions is provided by the essays in Sainthood: Its Manifestations in World Religions, edited by George D. Bond and Richard Kieckhefer (Berkeley, Calif., 1988). Very different in approach is the suggestive philosophical analysis of three models of spiritual perfection by Robert C. Neville, Soldier, Sage, Saint (New York, 1978).

For a classic psychological perspective on saintliness, see William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York, 1902). Brief taxonomical discussions of the saint are found in Gerardus van der Leeuw's Religion in Essence and Manifestation: A Study in Phenomenology, 2 vols., translated by J. E. Turner, incorporating additions of the 2d German ed. (Gloucester, 1967), and Joachim Wach's Sociology of Religion (1944; reprint, Chicago, 1962).

To explore sainthood in more depth one must consult works on the specific religions. The novelty and centrality of Christian sainthood in the context of late antiquity is the subject of Peter Brown's masterful work, The Cult of the Saints (Chicago, 1981). A fascinating sociological study of Christian saints is Donald Weinstein and Rudolph M. Bell's Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Christendom, 10001700 (Chicago, 1982). For a critique and reappraisal of the meaning of Christian sainthood for today, see Lawrence S. Cunningham's The Meaning of Saints (San Francisco, 1980). Of the many studies on Islamic saints, the classic is Ignácz Goldziher's "Veneration of Saints in Islam," in Muslim Studies, vol. 2, edited by S. M. Stern and C. R. Barber (Chicago, 1973). Most valuable on Sufism is Annemarie Schimmel's Mystical Dimensions of Islam (Chapel Hill, N. C., 1975). Some discussion of Jewish mystical saints is found in Gershom Scholem's Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (1941; reprint, New York, 1961). A summary of the role of the guru in Hinduism is Joel D. Mlecko's "The Guru in Hindu Tradition," Numen 29 (July 1982): 3361. For Buddhism, a standard introduction with a good discussion of the bodhisattva is Richard H. Robinson and Willard L. Johnson's The Buddhist Religion: A Historical Introduction, 2d ed. (Encino, Calif., 1977). On women saints in Buddhism, see Diana Y. Paul's Women in Buddhism: Images of the Feminine in Mahayana Tradition (Berkeley, Calif., 1979).

New Sources

Abou-El-Haj. The Medieval Cult of Saints: Formations and Transformations. Cambridge, U.K., 1997.

Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Renate, and Timea Szell, eds. Images of Sainthood in Medieval Europe. Ithaca, N.Y., 1991.

Cushing, Kathleen. "Events that Led to Sainthood: Sanctity and the Reformeo in the Eleventh Century." In Belief and Culture in the Middle Ages. Edited by Richard Gameson and Henrietta Leyser. New York, 2001.

Dempsey, Corinne. Kerala Christian Sainthood: Collisions of Culture and Worldview in South India. New York, 2001.

Ewing, Katherine. Arguing Sainthood: Modernity, Psychoanalysis, and Islam. Durham, N.C., 1997.

Kieckhefer, Richard. "The Holy and the Unholy: Sainthood, Witchcraft, and Magic in Late Medieval Europe." Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 24 (fall 1994): 355385.

Schulenberg, Jane Tibbets. Forgetful of their Sex: Female Sanctity and Society ca. 5001100. Chicago, 1998.

Sticco, Sandro, ed. Saints: Studies in Hagiography. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies series. Binghamton, N.Y., 1996.

Robert L. Cohn (1987)

Revised Bibliography