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The Church of Christ in early Bernicia: forerunners and foundation

Gardner, R.F.R. (1992) The Church of Christ in early Bernicia: forerunners and foundation. Masters thesis, Durham University.



A firmly multidlsciplinary approach starts from a theological definition of the Church as the Body of Christ, and Christians as empowered by the Holy Spirit, the possibility of miracle, and the reality of warfare with demons are taken seriously, and scholarly belief in them defended. They are made the subject of excursuses. Hagiographic writings are treated with cautious respect. Bernicia, land and people, and its relationship to its neighbours are considered. In a demographic excursus the view that Dark Age life-span was short is rebuffed. Part two discusses the life and mission of the Church in sub-Roman Britain. In our area evidence for this proves to be largely limited to the shadowy activities of Ninian and Kentigern, therefore further evidence of the status of the British church in the fifth and sixth centuries is sought in Patrick’s Confession and Gildas's De Excidlo Britɸmniae. A new model for the latter - the sermon of the protomartyr Stephen - is proposed; as is a new exegesis of D. E. B. c.69, which may have Implications for our understanding of the persistence of Pelagian beliefs. An excursus considers the significance of white stones in association with Christian burial. The origins of the mission of Augustine are considered briefly. Part three considers the mission of Paulinus in detail, in particular the reasons for its collapse; in contrasting it with the Celtic mission misslological principles are cited. A reappraisal of Paulinus's retreat, more favourable to him than that normally held, is reached by invoking wartime experience. The discipline of obstetrics is involved to advance the theory that /Ethelburh's delivery was premature; also earlier to re-examine the Herbert Ian account of Kentigern's conception, where the 'something contrary to sound doctrine' is identified, against the hitherto standard view, as the apparent approval, by Servanus, of extramarital coitus. The final establishment of the Church in Bernicia is seen as occurring principally as the result of Aidan's mission, but with valid contributions from the British and Roman traditions. That Simeon of Durham gave the credit for this foundation to Oswald is found Justifiable. A new genealogical tree of Oswy has been constructed, and maps have been provided.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1992
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 11:59

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