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A study of episcopacy in Northumbria 620 - 735

Gaunt, Adam (2001) A study of episcopacy in Northumbria 620 - 735. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The Northumbrian people were subject to two different conversions within the space of a single generation. The former was Gregorian in origin, headed by Bishop Paulinus and the latter was lonan, being led by Bishop Aidan. The result was that the Northumbrian church became a melting pot where these two traditions met. The aim of this study is to look again at the early days of the Northumbrian church; however, this study does so by considering the styles of episcopacy employed by the missionary bishops. This thesis attempts to get behind the hagiographical and historical sources to determine how the bishops themselves understood their role. The thesis begins by considering the Gregorian and Irish background to the two missions and looks at how bishops Paulinus and Aidan sought the conversion of the people of Northumbria, thereby demonstrating the differences in their styles of episcopal oversight. Following their legacies growing tensions between the two groups resulted in the Synod of Whitby where King Oswiu ruled in favour of following Roman customs. The episcopate of Wilfrid, a controversial and complex figure, followed the synod. I examine the claim, made by his biographer Stephen, that Wilfrid was metropoUtan bishop of York and demonstrate that Wilfrid is likely to have seen himself as a metropolitan bishop. The figure of Wilfrid contrasts well with Bishop Cuthbert, to whom the Venerable Bede devotes a lot of his historic and hagiographic writings. The thesis discusses what Bede's own theology of the episcopate was and relates this to his portrayal of Bishop Cuthbert. The thesis concludes by discussing the events that resulted in Bishop Egbert of York receiving the pallium from Pope Gregory HI, confirming the position of York as the head of a Northumbrian province in 735.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:2001
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 11:34

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