Negotiated sanctity: Incorruption, community, and medical expertise

Bradford Bouley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The incorruption of a saint's body became a key miracle for Counter-Reformation saints, as it signaled their connection to God and therefore the correctness of the Catholic faith. Most canonized and many prospective saints in the seventeenth century were subjected to a posthumous medical examination. Competing local factors affected the process, including popular support for the prospective saint, the involvement of ecclesiastical and secular authorities, and the strength of the medical community. In the end, the attempt to make the miracle of incorruption a matter of medical opinion resulted in a negotiated truth about the state of the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalCatholic Historical Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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