----- Original Message -----
From: Dave Edsall - The Tauminator <[log in to unmask]>
> Graeme wrote an extremely nice summary of the spread of Christianity
> seems to have left out one important point - Christianity and status. Many
> scholars believed that Christianity took hold firmly only when it was
> "fashionable" to be Christian.
Don't know that I agree with this either. Based on Roman accounts, those
lions had plenty to eat.
A look at Roman Britain shows that Christianity
> only had a firm footing in the towns (i.e. the most dense area of people
> cared about status) and was pretty much ignored in the countryside.
> of side-by-side burials of Christians and pagans well into the 7th century
> supports this
On the face of it, I agree with this. However, I see one relatively major
problem with this paradigm. Converts to Christianity need not have changed
their burial practices, or even have possessed phyiscal evidence of their
conversions. I'm not saying the evidence doesn't support the upper class to
lower class progression, but I am saying we need to be careful making
assumptions based on lack of evidence.
. It also appears that Christianity only spread through the
> Anglo-Saxon kingdoms after the AS kings and their courtiers adopted the
> religion for themselves.
Maybe. However, I understood that a number of Colum Cille's followers
weren't of the upper classes. In fact, I thought St Cuthbert was from a
relatively lowly station too.
Now, getting back to revitalization movements. I very much believe the
theory could be applied to the introduction of Christianity into Celtic
societies. The reliance of the theory upon charismatic figures certainly
works---Patrick, Ninian, Brigid, Cutherbert, Colum Cille and Fillian all
seem to fit those characteristics. Also, the society was very much in
transition at the time; facing many new cultural challenges. Next, as
opposed to relying on military or even hierarchical support, Christianity
could have been introduced by the "everyday" man along trade routes---which
based on some of the early inscriptions is plausible. But then, revivals are
my pet project, so I could be wrong.....