Medieval Digital Visionary Women: editing the wiki ‘Catalogue of Living Saints’

Speakers: Rebeca Sanmartin Bastida (Complutense University of Madrid)
Pablo Acosta-García (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf) @PabloAcostaGarc

This paper aims to introduce the “Catalogue of Living Saints”, a wiki for users interested in gender and spirituality that provides knowledge about the lives of Castilian charismatic women previous to Teresa of Ávila who acquired reputation for holiness between 1400 and 1550. The collected lives appeared in a diversity of sources: manuscripts of the 15th-16th centuries (including early conventual books and compendiums containing lives of saints), handwritten and printed chronicles of religious orders and other formats. Besides recovering a group of texts that have never been printed before and many others that were not independently edited, this platform allows us to create a tool for the geolocalization of the phenomena and to develop a database of gestures and actions in order to understand the hagiographical models based on its performative features. This paper aims to focus on the idea of how working with an open access corpus of Castilian lives of women via a wiki tool involves a radically different relationship between the user and the material text. In this sense, we would like to discuss the change involved in these narratives from the original codicological contexts to the universal accessibility of the digital world, highlighting how texts are affected by evolving reading practices. Indeed, gathering these lives online has an impact on the dissemination and reception of these fragments of the past. On the other hand, this catalogue is part of a wider network of projects that are mediating and completing primary sources through different digital perspectives. Here, the multiple layers of selection and meaning (marked by confessors, copyists, chroniclers’ choices and, ultimately, by the wiki editors) create and shape different receptions of the hagiographical narratives on its audience.