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The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity
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While historians of Christianity have generally acknowledged some degree of Germanic influence in the development of early medieval Christianity, Russell goes further, arguing for a fundamental Germanic reinterpretation of Christianity. This first full-scale treatment of the subject follows a truly interdisciplinary approach, applying to the early medieval period a sociohistorical method similar to that which has already proven fruitful in explicating the history of Early Christianity and Late Antiquity. The encounter of the Germanic peoples with Christianity is studied from within the larger context of the encounter of a predominantly "world-accepting" Indo-European folk-religiosity with predominantly "world-rejecting" religious movements. While the first part of the book develops a general model of religious transformation for such encounters, the second part applies this model to the Germano-Christian scenario. Russell shows how a Christian missionary policy of temporary accommodation inadvertently contributed to a reciprocal Germanization of Christianity.
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About the Author

About the Author: James C. Russell received his doctorate in Historical Theology from Fordham University. He teaches at Saint Peter's College.

Reviews

"A provocative and admirable work."-Choice "Russell's work is valuable."-Journal of World History "Highly interesting and challenging reading. An important contribution to research."-Theological Studies. "An intelligent synthesis of observations from a wide range of anthropological, historical, and other literature....[Russell's] ultimate mapping of the Germanizing shifts in early medieval Christian belief and praxis is done with a subtle eye to this particularization, its consequences, and the attempted undoing of it since the Second Vatican Council. The overall result is a statement of general religios historical interest and of equal relevance to the modern heirs of Christendom."-Catholic Historical Review "There is far more to the book than simply a demonstration that Christianity was powerfully influenced by Germanic-and by extension, Indo-European-`world-accepting' religious ideas at a crucial phase in its evolution. Indeed, Russell develops a general model of religious change that ought to be of interest to anyone concerned with the sociology (or anthropology) of belief systems per se, let alone the history of the Church."-C. Scott Littleton, Occidental College "Fascinating. It is a very important contribution to the growing awareness of the bright light of the `Dark' Ages."-Ronald Murphy, Georgetown University "A provocative and admirable work."-Choice .. in its contentions, and academia could do well with encouraging more scholars of this calibre and fortitude who are able to avoid the pitfall of over-specialization and produce works of great scope and lasting relevance ... It is of imperative relevance for anyone who wishes to comprehend the past, present and future of genuine European religiosity. * Michael Moynihan, Runa, 5 * Scholar James Russell has given us an important work with this detailed study ... it is an exceedingly well-researched and documented analysis of the conversion of the Germanic tries to the imported and fundamentally alien religion of Christianity during the period 376-754 of the common era. Russell's work is all the more dynamic as he does not limit his inquiry simply to one field of study ... a convincing book that offers a wealth of food for thought- not just in regards to historical conceptions of the past but with far-reaching implications which relate directly to the tide of spiritual malaise currently at a high water mark in the collective European psyche ... wide-ranging yet commanding..

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