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Holy Bones, Why We're Obsessed With Relics

The office of the bishop of Wurzburg recently received the rib of Saint Aquilinus. But why are the faithful obsessed with relics?

The relics of Padre Pio at the Vatican in Feb. 2016
The relics of Padre Pio at the Vatican in Feb. 2016
Bastian Benrath

MUNICH — It's just a rib. But it's the rib of a man born in the German city of Würzburg who was offered the esteemed position to become the bishop of Cologne. But he refused that post to become a wandering preacher, and was subsequently fatally stabbed in the neck on the streets of Milan. This, the story of Saint Aquilinus, all happened more than 1,000 years ago.

It's said that Aquilinus' blood-drenched corpse lay on the street, unnoticed, all day long until it was discovered by a group of porters at dusk and was brought to Milan's Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore, where to this day the barely decomposed, mummified corpse was kept in a reliquary made of silver and crystal.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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