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L

Tours, Grégoire de

Lives and Miracles

Gregory of Tours served as bishop of Tours, then a city in the Frankish kingdom, from 563 to 594. Acclaimed by the French as “the father of our history” on account of his History of the Franks, he also wrote stories about holy men and women and about wondrous events he experienced, witnessed, or knew as miracles. In our times many people deny the existence of miracles, while others use the term so loosely that it becomes almost meaningless. Must a true miracle transcend “natural laws”? Gregory’s lively stories relate what he regarded as the visible results of holy power, direct or mediated, and its role in the lives of his contemporaries. His conversational narratives, which are largely without self-conscious stylistic effects, present unique, often moving, glimpses into his world. For Gregory, the frontiers between interior and exterior, God and matter, word or gesture and its referent, remained fluid.

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