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Scholarly edition recounts the legend of Saint Martial

March 2, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Dr. Molly Lynde-Recchia, associate professor of foreign languages at Western Michigan University, has published a new book about the legend of Saint Martial.

Written in Old French, "La Vie seint Marcel de Lymoges" is a scholarly edition of 13th century text and was published in late 2005 by Droz in Geneva, Switzerland. It recounts the legend of Saint Martial, missionary of Aquitaine and founder of the bishopric of Limoges. Baptized in Christ's presence and witness of the Resurrection, Martial was granted the same authority as the other apostles when the Holy Spirit descended upon them.

Later, Christ appears in a vision to Saint Peter, Martial's close relative, and tells him to send young Martial to Limoges to convert pagans. Thus begins the story of the miraculous healings, exorcisms and spectacular resurrections attributed to the saint. It ends with the holy man's apotheosis as his spirit ascends to heaven.

Wauchier de Denain, one of the earliest writers of French prose, translated this text from Latin into Old French in the early 13th century. This first edition of "La Vie seint Marcel de Lymoges" is accompanied by critical notes and an introduction in modern French that presents the origins and controversy surrounding the cult of Saint Martial of Limoges.

Lynde-Recchia has taught at WMU since 1993 after receiving her doctorate from Indiana University the same year. A specialist in medieval French language and literature, she previously published the book "Prose, Verse, and Truth-Telling in the Thirteenth Century."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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