Talk:Catherine of Alexandria

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


St. Catherine pool of Alexandria didnt exist, and in fact it was readded to the catholic calender. the article is biased.

To be [[Wikipedia:Neutral point of view|], it needs to have all perspectives. Your addition that it was readded to the Catholic calendar adds this perspective. The article does not explicitly state that she does not exist, but it does use language suggesting she may have not existed. Since the article explains why it suggests this, the article is NPOV. If you were to change the article to state that she absolutely did exist, that would be POV. The POV could be made a little more neutral, however, your suggestion is to make it POV in the other direction. -- JamesTeterenko 03:05, 16 May 2005 (UTC)[reply]

The problem lies with the word APOCRIPHICAL which implies that the saint is fictious maltesedog 20:34, 16 June 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I assume you meant apocryphal - and Catherine is definitely apocryphal, she is not mentioned in biblical canon. The article looks NPOV to me.

Yes I meant apocryphal. English dictionaries define "Of questionable authorship or authenticity." Texts not included in the B, she would have had to have been extensively researched, and, I believe, to have at least one verified miracle. So it is highly likely that she does exist.

Actually, that's not true: the formal process of canonization was arrived at relatively late in Christianity... in the early centuries, people were affored the title "Saint" by popular acclamation--the people of thus-and-such a town have a story of thus-and-such a folk hero/ine whose virtues they sing, and they call this person "Saint X," and many of the early saints' stories are of dubious authenticity. But a failure to mention her in the Bible has nothing to do with it, of course... less than 1% of saints are Biblical. :Just out of curiousity, has anyone knowledge of why her feast was re-added to the liturgical calendar? Makrina 03:06, 3 January 2006 (UTC)[reply]
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (Online) entry on [Saint Catherine of Alexandria[1]]:
Although contemporary hagiographers look upon the authenticity of the various texts containing the legend of St. Catherine as more than doubtful, it is not therefore meant to cast . . . doubt around the existence of the saint. But the conclusion reached when these texts have been carefully studied is that, if the principal facts forming the outline are to be accepted as true, the multitude of details by which these facts are almost obscured, most of the wonderful narratives with which they are embellished, and the long discourses that are put into the mouth of St. Catherine, are to be rejected as inventions, pure and simple.
It seems that although her existence can't be proven, it is taken that the existence of so many accounts, although, as the article states, fantastical and widely variant is evidence that such a person must have existed. However, I am not certain if the article I have cited reflects the scholarship that led to her removal and return to the liturgical calendar. It is also seems obvious that this source is biased until or unless the Roman Catholic Church has published a clear reasoning for its actions. Further research in that vein might prove fruitful. In addition, if we could find some primary sources that mention Catherine, it would aid in structuring this article. Thank you. L Hamm 03:07, 26 January 2006 (UTC)[reply]
According to John Delaney, in his Dictionary of Saints, p. 131: Venerated in the East since the tenth century, nothing of any certainty is known of her. Her unreliable legend has her born in Alexandria of a patrician family and converted to Christianity by a vision. The text also indicates she died c. 310 AD, I'm curious as to where this date came from. Thank you. L Hamm 03:12, 26 January 2006 (UTC)[reply]


I just wanted to put it out there that I've done a lot of major restructuring work with this article, including changing section names to better elucidate their contents, adding a lot of content to the "life and legend" section to put her life into more context (well, that is, the legend of her life, but nevertheless, the article's extent of information on her legend before only started at her martyrdom), adding real footnotes (there were manual, really primitive ones before), and making an image gallery. I personally think that the article is on a much better track than it was before the edits, but I invite anyone to revisit what I did in the history and bring up any issues you may have here on the talk page. --Alekjds 02:54, 31 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]

:Note: I also wanted to move the current infobox image to the gallery and replace it with perhaps the one by Caravaggio, which better illustrates her principal iconographical attribute (the wheel). However, I wanted some feedback before switching the two. --Alekjds 03:02, 31 December 2006 (UTC) Actually I'm just going to be bold and do it. --Alekjds 07:24, 31 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Information in support of the non-existence of St. Catherine[edit]

Though the possible falsification of her myth is explored further down in the article, I think it still leans a great deal more toward validating her existence. I have some information that could be taken into account when editing the article that I'd like to share: In Donald Attwater's "The Penguin Dictionary of Saints" published in 1965, he states that even Catholic scholars admit that the legend of St. Catherine is "preposterous." Her myth is explained further in Barbara G. Walker's "Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" as follows, "At Sinai, the original center of Catherine's cult, the Asiatic Goddess was once portrayed as the Dancer on the Fiery Wheel at the hub of the universe. A Greek convent of priestess-nuns at Sinai in the 8th century A.D. called themselves kathari, 'pure ones,' a word akin to the Kathakali temple-dancers of India, who performed the Dance of Time in honor of Kali, Goddess of the karmic wheel. The figure of the wheel figured prominently in beliefs of medieval Gnostics who called themselves Cathari, and revered St. Catherine almost as a female counterpart of God. Perhaps for this reason, in the 15th and 16th centuries, after the Cathari were exterminated, Catholic prelates made efforts to have St. Catherine eliminated from the canon." (Walker 149) Jessica 20:26, 30 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Where is the source for Walker's claim there was an Asiatic goddess "portrayed as the Dancer on the Fiery Wheel at the hub of the universe" at Mt Sanai? Does she site one? It doesn't appear in any of the lists of pagan gods anywhere else, that I can find. Secondly, the "kathari" referred to is probably the Cathars, which were a branch-off of Christianity considered heretical by the Church. "Priestess nuns" must refer to the beliefs Cathars held about celibacy and women's equality, however, even the Cathars did not believe women should be priests. See The name "Cathari" does mean "pure ones", but it is of Greek origin, not Indian, so therefore wouldn't really have any apparent connection to the Indian god Kali, as the author seems to be suggesting. It seems the author of the book is pulling together a bunch of unrelated factual or unsourced connections to disprove the origins of Christian beliefs. In any case, there is a definite bias to the book. Just saying it's not a good source, give a better one. Forgot to mention too: Which Mt. Sinai is the one with the alleged goddess? There is much debate about which mountain is the actual Mt. Sinai referred to in the Old Testament of the Bible. Reliberation (talk) 20:18, 16 January 2009 (UTC)[reply]


Unless someone can produce evidence that Catherine has been known in English (rather than Greek) as The Great Martyr Saint Catherine, this name should be deleted. Deipnosophista (talk) 11:22, 20 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]


The first two footnotes lead nowhere. This should be corrected or the dates of birth and death corrected. How serious are those two sources, anyway? This question also applies to the third footnote. --Ivbauer (talk) 12:02, 15 March 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Media - Katherine of Alexandria film[edit]

There's been a fair amount of back and forth regarding information on this film. Much of it inadequately sourced. I've given it a bit of thought. This article is about Catherine of Alexandria, not about the film. If the film has independent notability, an article on the film can contain facts regarding the production. At this time I've yet to see that independent notability and we should be careful not to coatrack non-notable events into a slightly related article. I intend to trim it back to a bare-boned sentence: A movie project about Catherine, called Katherine of Alexandria, began production in January 2010. using the only live link (IMDB) as the ref.--Cube lurker (talk) 13:07, 13 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Maxentius, Valeria Maximilla and Hypatia of Alexandria[edit]

Since when do the sceptical musings of a historian called Harold T. Davis undermine and override the Roman Catholic Church? All sorts of parallels may be drawn between different people and different lives, and the fact that there are parallels between the life of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and the life of Hypatia of Alexandria is one of the many coincidences that are rampant in the world. It is absolutely ludicrous to place the kind of emphasis that this article does on Davis' theory that St. Catherine was "invented specifically" to form "an exemplary counterpart to Hypatia in the medieval mindset".

The emperor who sentenced St. Catherine to death has been identified as Maxentius. According to the traditional narrative of St. Catherine's life, among the multitude of people that St. Catherine converted to Christianity was the wife of Maxentius, the Roman Empress, who was subsequently executed by her enraged husband. This empress was Valeria Maximilla, who, as it turns out, mysteriously disappeared from the historical record before her husband Maxentius was routed by Constantine (c.312), close to the time that St. Catherine's own martyrdom is traditionally placed (c.310). The fact that Maxentius's wife disappeared from the chronicles of history is most intriguing and significant when one bears in mind that no "contemporary" chronicles of the martyrdom of St. Catherine have apparently been found either. How convenient that Valeria Maximilla should suddenly vanish from the annals of time, along with all mentions of the Saint who was responsible for her becoming a Christian! It is reasonable to surmise that perhaps Maxentius didn't want history to remember the accomplishments of St. Catherine, which after all, included not only the conversion and martyrdom of hundreds in his court, but also the conversion and martyrdom of his own wife.

If one Harold T. Davis could suggest that Hypatia of Alexandria inspired Christians to "invent" St. Catherine of Alexandria, one could just as easily suggest that Hypatia - who was born many decades after the martyrdom of St. Catherine - was herself inspired by what she had heard about St. Catherine, and sought to model herself after the Saint. For the record, there is no certainty as to when Hypatia was born either - her birth date is set "c.350-370" - so much for meticulous historicity! And since no one save a smattering of non-believers like Harold T. Davis doubt the life and martyrdom of St. Catherine - who was sent to her death by Maxentius at least half a century before Hypatia is said to have been born - it is far more sensible to suggest that Hypatia was inspired by the story of St. Catherine (rather than the other way around), if some people can't come to terms with the fact that coincidences do abound in life.

Gehan (talk) 07:15, 29 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

And if you can find a reliable source that propounds such a theory, we can insert it into this article and the one on Hypatia of Alexandria. --Pseudo-Richard (talk) 09:45, 29 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • As even the Catholic Encyclopedia makes clear the Western church, with the Bollandists in the lead, has realized that the only "known" facts of Catherine's life were a later medieval legend since at least the 18th century, and to their credit, has been quietly dropping her since then. She now has the same status as St George. You are entirely misleading to assert that there is a contradiction between the position of the church and that of historians. Of course it is perfectly possible that there was a martyr in Alexandria at some point called Catherine, but unlike a great number of other martyrs there are no early traces of her cult (unlike say Dorothea of Alexandria, mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea), and the story that emerges much later is clearly a fiction. As the medieval hagiography website hosted by the Jesuit Fordham University puts it, she falls into the group of saints "about whom nothing at all is know, or if it is known, is besides the point - e.g. Nicholas, George, Catherine of Alexandria" [2]. Of course the Orthodox position may be rather different, as they don't seem to worry too much about these things. Your OR argument about Hypatia would have some force if there were any evidence of the Catherine story before Hypatia lived, but in fact there isn't for about half a millenium afterwards. If you are a Catholic, which some of your edit summaries make me rather doubt, you need to educate yourself about the church's approach to its own history. Johnbod (talk) 12:40, 29 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
GehanCA has now inserted his own OR from a primary source, while leaving in place an academic reference which directly contradicts his new text! That the text of the Golden Legend was, like most medieval texts, not static from its first compilation c. 1260 should be clear from its inclusion of Thomas Aquinas who still had several years to live then. See here - in fact the Mystical marriage did not appear in the Golden Legend until 1438, though it was in other texts before. Johnbod (talk) 15:28, 29 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
(Useful quote to work in Attwater. Johnbod (talk) 15:47, 29 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • . It is you who are "entirely misleading to assert that" the Church "been quietly dropping" St. Catherine since "the 18th century". Her feast day was reinstated into the General Roman Calender in 2002 as an Optional Memorial Date, which directly contradicts your wishful thinking. And only a non-believer like you could make the sweeping statement that the account of St. Catherine's life "that emerges much later is clearly a fiction" - I'm sure you would say the same about St. Philomena's life story. What will you declare next? That the account of Adam and Eve "is clearly a fiction" because there are no contemporary sources? That the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin "is clearly a fiction", because it wasn't formally dogmatised until the 20th century? The fact that a story doesn't appear in written/printed form for centuries, if not millenia, does not make it a fairy tale. The Roman Catholic Church comprises not only groups such as the Bollandists, who go by no more than human reasoning and 'scientific' inquiry, but also Saints like Joan of Arc, Catherine of Sweden and St. Bernadette, who received divine revelations. You may say that the Church classifies such revelations as "private revelations", which the Faithful are not bound to subscribe to, but the Faithful are no more bound to subscribe to what the Bollandists and Doubting Thomases believe. St. Joan of Arc said that St. Catherine was one of the Saints who appeared to her and guided her. Do you honestly think that every Catholic is going to believe your precious Harold T Davis and Attwater over St. Joan of Arc? Since you're a nonbeliever, your obvious allegiance is with the likes of Davis and Attwater who only have human deductive skills and conspiracy theories at their disposal, but make no mistakes that many many many Catholics will believe St. Joan of Arc - the glorious virgin who changed history - over St. Catherine's pitiful and ignominious detractors. And I don't know whence you have the audacity to say that "some of" my "edit summaries make" you "rather doubt" whether I'm a Roman Catholic, but since you "doubt" St. Catherine's earthly existence and presumably also the veracity of St. Joan of Arc's assertions, it isn't surprising that you would doubt what's emblazoned on my own userpage. Anyhow, I am indeed educated about "the church's approach to its own history", thank you very much, which is why I know that there is more to the Church than certain groups of scholars and apologetics. Gehan (talk) 19:47, 29 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
And why did it need "reinstating"? As the CE records, it was dropped from the Paris Breviary in the 18th century, & they report devotion to her essentially extinct in 1911. I don't know what sort of Pre-Tridentine medievalist fringe views you are espousing, but it won't do. I may have been wrong about your views (as you are wrong about mine), but many of your comments read like a student adopting a pose. Apologies if I'm wrong about that. Johnbod (talk) 20:27, 29 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • . First of all, I am not "a student adopting a pose". I can say something just as sarcastic and caustic about the way "many of your comments read", but I won't because I don't visit wikipedia to bully people. Anyway, I accept your apologies. The reason St. Catherine's feast day was reinstated as an Optional Memorial Date is because the Church does believe in her after all (i.e: her existence). And until such time as you conduct a survey among all Catholics worldwide, you cannot say that I have "pre-Tridentine medievalist fringe views". St. Catherine's feast was reinstated as an Optional Memorial Date in 2002, which was very much POST-Tridentine, and St. Joan of Arc was canonised in the 20th century (again POST-Tridentine), so my views are not what you think they are. I didn't come here to engage in arguments with people, I am here on St. Catherine's pages to represent the Christians who believe in her (which is to say, her life, her martyrdom and her power as a saint). Thank you for reading. Gehan (talk) 18:37, 1 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Edit war must stop[edit]

Johnbod, GehanCA and I have been engaged in a slow, low-intensity edit war but an edit war nonetheless and, if one reads WP:3RR carefully, I think it can easily be said that we are all over the 3RR line.

I have tried to temper my edit-warring by allowing the challenged material to stand and adding {{citation needed}} tags to highlight the unsourced nature of the text. I have also asked for help at WP:ANI where it was suggested that I post the request at the NOR noticeboard which I did.

Johnbod has been more direct and removed GehanCA's text, a move which is more aggressive and which I support in principle although I fear that his doing so will just prolong the edit war.

GehanCA, please stop reinserting your text. No one else is supporting you and there are two editors (Johnbod and myself) opposed. At this point, you need to follow the dispute resolution process, possibly by issuing a request for comment or seeking mediation through WP:MEDCAB. I think none of those would be worth your effort and you would be better off either seeking sources to back up your assertion or just finding a different way to contribute to this project.

--Pseudo-Richard (talk) 21:01, 29 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

  • You should add Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine where much the same has been happening. I don't believe I have breached 3RR though I haven't counted. Several of my edits here and there have made rephrasings to accomodate the odd valid point made by Gehan and to introduce extra referencing. He has not introduced a single reference and has (see above) changed text so that it directly contradicts the reference he has retained. Johnbod (talk) 23:39, 29 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • . Don't make false accusations against me - I introduced several references pertaining to St. Catherine and Valeria Maximilla, which were subsequently deleted by PseudoRichard. The single instance in which my text contradicted a retained reference was an editing mistake which was subsequently rectified. I take exception to your sarcastic mention of "the odd valid point made by Gehan"; I'm not in the habit of making points that are not valid! PseudoRichard, if you want someone to team up with me the way you have teamed up with Johnbod, I will find such an individual. Gehan (talk) 18:21, 1 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]
GehanCA wrote "if you want someone to team up with me the way you have teamed up with Johnbod, I will find such an individual.". GehanCA, if you had followed the links in the welcome message I left on your Talk Page, you would have a better grasp of the relevant Wikipedia policies. Wikipedia works by consensus. Ultimately, what an article says is based on the consensus of Wikipedia editors who express an opinion. Wikipedia is not a democracy but still numbers matter. You are currently outnumbered 3-1 but those are very small numbers. Being outnumbered 15-5 might mean something. 3-1 may or may not mean something but it's impossible to tell.
If you wish to continue pushing this issue, you should follow the dispute resolution process. The next step in this process is for someone to issue an RFC. In essence, this is advertising the dispute to a wider Wikipedia community and asking for their comment. If the RFC shows a supermajority in favor of one side or another, it is incumbent on the minority side to yield although it is not required. Mediation would be the next step for those not satisfied with the results of an RFC.
--Pseudo-Richard (talk) 20:40, 1 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

To Kits1972 regarding edits[edit]

It looks like your edits were reverted by someone else. Here is some of the problems I saw with your edits:

"Saint Catherine of Alexandria, also known as Saint Catherine of the Wheel and The Great Martyr Saint Catherine (Greek ἡ Ἁγία Αἰκατερίνα ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς) is, according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, and but and though 1 pagan emperor Maxentius had martyred across the early 4th century."

That sentence does not make sense, particularly at "a Christian saint and virgin, and but and though 1 pagan emperor Maxentius had martyred across the early 4th century" is complete nonsense. The phrase "and but and though" is not comprehensible in English.

"According to their hagiography,"

Catherine is one person -- "their" makes no sense when referring to a singular person. The singular "their" (which is hotly contested in English) is only used when speaking of a hypothetical person when gender is not known. We know Catherine is a female, so you would need to use the correct pronoun.

"Catherine was both a princess and a noted scholar and became a Christian at about fourteen years aged and did modify many people towards Christianity."

This is a run-on sentence. The phrase "about fourteen years aged" is not correct English idiom.

YES IT IS CORRECT ENGLISH: THE WINE HAD BEEN 14 YEARS AGED I have a university graduate education and you've subliminally called me an idiot and thus fibbed about me through you stating that my english has been a non-correct and/or uncorrect IDIOM? I'm not an IDIOM (IDIOT) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kits1972 (talkcontribs) 16:02, 13 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

1) No, it is not correct. "The wine had been aged for 14 years." People are not referred to as having "aged" in a simple statement of their age: She is 14 years old.
2) Do you understand what the word idiom means?
3) Please refrain from personal attacks. I have no opinion of you personally. I offered my help with your English usage. I did not call you an idiot. Lizbetann (talk) 00:39, 14 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]
"More than 1,100 years after where Maxentius had martyred Catherine, St. Joan had identified Catherine did and with be a saint and did appear at Joan to share counsel with Joan.[4]

The phrase "had identified Catherine did and with be a saint" makes no sense in English.

I would highly recommend that you continue to edit the article on St. Catherine in the Wiki in your own language. However, your English language skills are not strong enough to edit it in English, and your edits will be reverted since they are impossible to read. Lizbetann (talk) 00:12, 13 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Kits1972: please read the essay linked: Wikipedia:Competence is required. I may be led to believe that your university education is in a language other than English. If this is correct, then there are other Wikipedia languages that would like new editors to work for them. Do not waste your talents by arguing with others, but calmly discuss the points made by Lizbetann and try to understand our point of view here. She is right to make those reversions because the English words put together do not make sense to us English-speakers. I am sorry that you feel attacked, but we are trying to help you. Elizium23 (talk) 03:24, 14 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Catherine of Alexandria. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

This message was posted before February 2018. After February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{source check}} (last update: 18 January 2022).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 07:13, 1 August 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Bernardino Luini – Portrait of Catherine of Alexandria[edit]

Lorenzo Lotto, Saint Catherine, 1522, NGA

The portrait as Catherine of Alexandria used in the lede of this article (purported to be by Luini) is apparently not the original. See discussion on old file for more info.

Avindratalk 05:27, 15 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The Lotto might be a better choice? Johnbod (talk) 14:30, 15 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Agree it may be time for a change. I like this one too, I updated the item d:Q20175799 and reuploaded from IIIF. Avindratalk 23:09, 16 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
OK, I'll do it. Johnbod (talk) 03:34, 17 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The picture at top of St. Catherine needs to be replaced[edit]

The caption attributes the work to Caravaggio, but his St. Catherine is,_1991_Cinotti#/media/File:Caravaggio_-_Saint_Catherine_of_Alexandria_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg. I don't know how to fix images in Wikipedia articles so I thought I should speak up here. I think the Caravaggio is a better choice than the icon-style art currently displayed. GDub (talk) 16:32, 11 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Fixed. Johnbod (talk) 17:37, 11 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]