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The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to…
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The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity (original: 1997; edição: 1999)

de Richard Fletcher

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5741030,638 (3.85)16
In a work of splendid scholarship that reflects both a firm mastery of difficult sources and a keen intuition, one of Britain's foremost medievalists tells the story of the Christianization of Europe. It is a very large story, for conversion encompassed much more than religious belief. With it came enormous cultural change: Latin literacy and books, Roman notions of law and property, and the concept of town life, as well as new tastes in food, drink, and dress. Whether from faith or by force, from self-interest or by revelation, conversion had an immense impact that is with us even today. It is Richard Fletcher's achievement in this superb work that he makes that impact both felt and understood.… (mais)
Membro:reecejones
Título:The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity
Autores:Richard Fletcher
Informação:University of California Press (1999), Edition: 1, Paperback, 575 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Etiquetas:Church History

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The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity de Richard Fletcher (1997)

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Heavyweight read, but oh so brilliant. The subtitle is 'From Paganism to Christianity 371-1386AD' and it really does that - gives you a picture of 1000 years with a framework to interpret it. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
Everyone knows Christianity started as a small sect in the Roman Empire and ended up as the religion of all Europe. This book fills in the gaps (or at least gaps for non-Europeans) about how exactly the religion got from point A to point B. It's a look at the spread of Christianity from a predominantly urban religion to the Roman peasantry to the barbarian tribes who replaced Roman rule in Europe, then to the periphery where the legions had never marched. I'm glad to have this hole in my history filled in, though the book was rather dense, full of names and places quickly forgotten. Still, I was particularly impressed with how the author handled the miracle stories and hagiographies so dominant in contemporary accounts of early Christianity — neither overly skeptical nor credulous, Fletcher recounts the stories of saints performing miracles with more of a concern for what the people of the time believed than how modern readers would view them. ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
This is a fantastic history covering a critical episode shaping Europe and, through that, the world. Although the scholarly writing could have been pedantic, the author writes in an easy style and his love of history clearly shows.

One of the key aspects I enjoyed also demonstrated the sheer depth of Mr. Fletcher's knowledge of the subject. He often cites conflicting accounts and views and the problems and benefits with each. Additionally, he isn't afraid to show how much he doesn't know and how much of what is written is based on assumption, perspective, or inference.

Rather than approach the topic as Christian vs pagan or a conflict theory perspective, Fletcher approaches the topic from the unique conditions, motivations, and traditions inherent in the mission fields. He discusses the commonalities as well as specifics to each time, place, and people. Why were missionaries unsuccessful at one time period, but successful in others?

I appreciated his discussions of the evolution of the church. This is easily illustrated in the use of vernacular vs "sacred" languages controversies. The early manuscripts in Hebrew, Koine Greek, and Aramaic were the common languages of their day. Translating them to Latin was a big deal, not because Latin was holy, but because it was the common language. Cyril and Methodius translated the Greek rites and rituals into the local vernacular (Old Slavonic) so that the Christian message could reach more people. This caused controversy at the time because some felt the language of rites should be Latin, Greek or Hebrew - none of which were the vernacular of the mission fields. Part of the Russian Orthodox schism stemmed from the departure of Old Slavonic hundreds of years later (in addition to 2 vs 3 fingered crosses or 2 or 3 allelujahs). Fast forward to the 20th century controversies of the Second Vatican with its allowance of vernacular rites and liturgy or the fringe Protestant insistence that the King James Bible is the only true Bible. These vernacular vs sacred controversies have been ongoing for 1700 years, more or less, and are generally indicative of those with evangelistic Great Commission vs those tied to man's traditions.

Although I understood how monasteries worked at the edges of society to reclaim marginal lands for productive use, how the Orders worked as banking institutions and furthered the Western model of popular education, but I didn't understand their critical role in evangelizing Europe. There is still a considerable amount of uncharitable veneer from Reformers and Protestants toward shaping the conception of monks and monasteries, nuns and abbeys, as dried husks chanting ancient monotones, hoarding their spiritual gifts rather than following the Great Commission. In their time, monasteries were the vehicles of knowledge, missionary activity, and pastoral care.

Although scholarly, The COnversion of Europe is easily approachable and fills in many gaps that other histories of Europe leave out. This is essential reading to understanding European history as well as the evolution of the church. ( )
  Hae-Yu | May 13, 2019 |
Heavyweight read, but oh so brilliant. The subtitle is 'From Paganism to Christianity 371-1386AD' and it really does that - gives you a picture of 1000 years with a framework to interpret it. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
The unique method of this historian is that he narrates events using the worldview of the participants that includes the supernatural! His goal is to understand, and the historian must enter the world of the sources in order to understand motives, etc. In some respects it is a treatise on missiology, because they were facing many of the same issues that the modern missionary faces. ( )
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
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In a work of splendid scholarship that reflects both a firm mastery of difficult sources and a keen intuition, one of Britain's foremost medievalists tells the story of the Christianization of Europe. It is a very large story, for conversion encompassed much more than religious belief. With it came enormous cultural change: Latin literacy and books, Roman notions of law and property, and the concept of town life, as well as new tastes in food, drink, and dress. Whether from faith or by force, from self-interest or by revelation, conversion had an immense impact that is with us even today. It is Richard Fletcher's achievement in this superb work that he makes that impact both felt and understood.

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