To obtain sacred relics, medieval monks plundered tombs, avaricious merchants raided churches, and relic-mongers scoured the Roman catacombs. In a revised edition of Furta Sacra, Patrick Geary considers the social and cultural context for these acts, asking how the relics were perceived and why the thefts met with the approval of medieval Christians.
Patrick J. Geary is Professor of History at the University of Florida.
"[This] is a superb book, original and immaculate in scholarship, elegant in style and though."—R. I. Moore, Times Higher Education Supplement
"A shrewd, interesting, and helpful study."—C. N. L. Brooke, History
"Geary is at his best in unraveling the tangled accounts of individual thefts to suggest the reasons for their occurrence and in describing the central role of saints and their relics in this age. His exposition of the medieval view that saints resided with and participated actively in the affairs of the communities possessing their relics is essential to understanding the function of saints in this society and the desire of communities to steal or, as he argues, to 'kidnap' them."—John M. McCulloh, American Historical Review
"This is a fascinating study of a medieval way of thinking which in certain circumstances countenanced thefts of sacred relics from tombs, churches, and Roman catacombs. . . . Furta Sacra is a truly impressive history shedding much light on a difficult dimension of popular Christian piety in another age."—Michael Connors, Church History