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March 07, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF SAINTS by David Hugh Farmer (Oxford University Press: $13.95; 530 pp.). Although the veneration of saints can be traced back to the Second Century, the practice puzzles many non-Catholics. Farmer's scholarly yet approachable reference book offers concise accounts of the lives of 1,100 saints. These brief biographies contain useful facts (dates, places, associated symbols) for lay readers curious to know more about figures associated with paintings, sculpture, music and other cultural works, as well as Catholics who need to check on such obscure figures as St. Cuthfleda, St. Tewdric and St.Offa of Essex.

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