The first monograph on the most important Byzantine redactor of saints´ lives, this book offers a detailed study of the life and working methods of Symeon Metaphrastes, who was active towards the end of the tenth century. The importance of the Metaphrastic redaction has often been measured by the amount of damage it did to the Late-Antique hagiographical texts, but in the present study it is seen as the culmination of long-term developments within this field.
The Metaphrastic collection is studied in the context of its predecessors and in the gradual changes that occured in the production of hagiography, especially as to the social background of authors, commissioners, and even saints. Emphasis is laid on the gradual redistribution, centralization and upgrading of hagiographical texts that took place in the Greek world. And in this process rewriting is seen as a vehicle for a canonization which, even if never instituted in Byzantium, was the intention and, to some degree, the outcome of the Metaphrastic redaction.