Throughout the long history of the Church's struggle to take seriously the biblical precepts for peacemaking, the changing context has always brought with it a difficulty in being a witness to peace in a world gripped by violence. The Viking raids of the ninth and tenth centuries are no exception. In this paper, I will attempt to reveal how Alcuin of York, Charlemagne?s finest theologian and clergyman, grapples with this question of violence by looking specifically at the Viking raids of two English monasteries in the last decade of the eighth century. I will show that Alcuin employs an Old Testament covenant model for explaining the two attacks: regarding those within Charlemagne?s Empire (including the English) as the elect people of God, and those outside the empire (the Viking raiders) as agents of God?s wrath. Alcuin situates the elect of Christendom within a strict two-kingdom framework and thus makes two varying ethical demands on the recipients of his letters. In these theological convictions Alcuin is very much in line with traditional theological orthodoxy of the Early Middle Ages in that his ideas conform to both the Augustinian framework of Just War as well as the royal theocracy of the Carolingian Empire.
History, Philosophy and Political Science
Library Research Prize - First Place Winner
Ferda, Taylor, "Alcuin and Vikings: A Theology of Carolingian Election, Chastisement, and Exaltation" (2010). Library Research Prize Student Works. 15.
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