The lecture will analyze the ways in which the remarks on language use and the stories about language-related miracles helped to create the image of a holy man in late antique hagiography. The appearance of Greek, Latin, and Syriac hagiographical narratives that depict miraculous linguistic skills of holy men or introduce demons speaking in foreign languages reveals that symbolic power and authority started to manifest themselves through remarks on one’s multilingual competence or specific languages used, unlike in the Classical Greece and Hellenistic periods, when the knowledge of foreign languages was not conceptualized in terms of a special connection with the divine.

Yuliya Minets is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Princeton University’s Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies supported by the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on the intersection of early Christian studies, history, classics, and linguistics. She received her PhD in History from the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (2011) and in Early Christian Studies from the Catholic University of America (2017).

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