Article

Christianity and the Church in Pre-Conquest England

Joel Rosenthal

in Medieval Studies

ISBN: 9780195396584
Published online December 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0098
Christianity and the Church in Pre-Conquest England

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)
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  • Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400)
  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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The history of the pre-Conquest Church can be roughly divided into three periods. In chronological order, at the very start is Roman Christianity, which is a sort of prehistoric period, followed by the age of missionary activity and conversion running from the early 7th century up to the Viking invasions of the 9th century. Finally, there is the revival of monasticism and intellectual life covering the last two centuries of Anglo-Saxon times. The Roman period is mostly covered by the work of archaeologists and, as such, will only be treated briefly; the sources are very thin, being mostly material remains with some enlightened inferences about place names. No contemporary writer, either Christian or pagan, and neither from the British Isles nor the Continent, said anything that has survived about the church in Roman Britain. For the latter two periods—from 597 to about 900 and then from 900 to the conquest in 1066—there is a wealth of contemporary materials (primary sources) and of modern scholarly analysis and discussion. Both types of material will be explicated in this entry. Some basic reference tools, such as encyclopedias and biographical dictionaries, have been cited in the entry on post-Conquest England and are omitted here unless they are vital for a focus on ecclesiastical history. The same is the case for the general bibliographies that appear in various annual guides.

Article.  10837 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy ; Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400) ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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