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The one is well known, and its own merits recommend it.The other too often passes undetected and prejudices the first.One might have thought that this simple analysis of the attitude of suspicion which so many devout souls assume in regard to historical criticism would suffice to demonstrate the injustice of their prejudices.Unhappily, it is less easy than might be supposed to efface an impression which, as they think, can only have been inspired by piety. Crawford 1907 [Reprinted University of Notre Dame Press 1961 With an Introduction By Richard J.Footnotes are marked in the text by

Nevertheless we shall occasionally be compelled to call attention to other people's mistakes.We therefore believe that we shall be doing a useful work if we try to classify, more definitely than has been done hitherto, the various methods pursued by pious writers, to sketch in broad outline the genesis of their compositions, and to show how far they are from being protected against errors which exact history is bound to denounce.It may, perhaps, be as well to warn the reader from the first against an impression that might be gathered from a study which is mainly devoted to the weak points of hagiographic literature.To give assistance in detecting materials of inferior workmanship is not to deny the excellence of what remains, and it is to the ultimate advantage of the harvest to point out the tares that have sometimes become mingled with the wheat to a most disconcerting extent.The simple narrative of heroic days, written, as it were, with pens dipped in the blood of martyrs, the naive histories, sweet with the perfume of true piety, in which [xi] eyewitnesses relate the trials of virgins and of ascetics, deserve our fullest admiration and respect.

Nevertheless we shall occasionally be compelled to call attention to other people's mistakes.

We therefore believe that we shall be doing a useful work if we try to classify, more definitely than has been done hitherto, the various methods pursued by pious writers, to sketch in broad outline the genesis of their compositions, and to show how far they are from being protected against errors which exact history is bound to denounce.

It may, perhaps, be as well to warn the reader from the first against an impression that might be gathered from a study which is mainly devoted to the weak points of hagiographic literature.

To give assistance in detecting materials of inferior workmanship is not to deny the excellence of what remains, and it is to the ultimate advantage of the harvest to point out the tares that have sometimes become mingled with the wheat to a most disconcerting extent.

The simple narrative of heroic days, written, as it were, with pens dipped in the blood of martyrs, the naive histories, sweet with the perfume of true piety, in which [xi] eyewitnesses relate the trials of virgins and of ascetics, deserve our fullest admiration and respect.

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