Heresy and Dissent in the Carolingian Empire: The Case of Gottschalk of Orbais

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Heresy and Dissent in the Carolingian Empire recounts the history of an exceptional ninth-century religious outlaw, Gottschalk of Orbais. Frankish Christianity required obedience to ecclesiastical superiors, voluntary participation in reform, and the belief that salvation was possible for all baptized believers. Yet Gottschalk-a mere priest-developed a controversial, Augustinian-based theology of predestination, claiming that only divine election through grace enabled eternal life. Gottschalk preached to Christians within the Frankish empire-including bishops-and non-Christians beyond its borders, scandalously demanding they confess his doctrine or be revealed as wicked reprobates. Even after his condemnations for heresy in the late 840s, Gottschalk continued his activities from prison thanks to monks who smuggled his pamphlets to a subterranean community of supporters. This study reconstructs the career of the Carolingian Empire's foremost religious dissenter in order to imagine that empire from the perspective of someone who worked to subvert its most fundamental beliefs. Examining the surviving evidence (including his own writings), Matthew Gillis analyzes Gottschalk's literary and spiritual self-representations, his modes of argument, his prophetic claims to martyrdom and miraculous powers, and his shocking defiance to bishops as strategies for influencing contemporaries in changing political circumstances. In the larger history of medieval heresy and dissent, Gottschalk's case reveals how the Carolingian Empire preserved order within the church through coercive reform. The hierarchy compelled Christians to accept correction of perceived sins and errors, while punishing as sources of spiritual corruption those rare dissenters who resisted its authority.

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Matthew Bryan Gillis is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His research and teaching focus on early medieval Europe.

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"Gillis presents an interesting, important, and largely original book." --Thomas F. X. Noble, The Medieval Review


"Heresy and Dissent in the Carolingian Empire is successful at portraying the career of a rogue 9th-century theologian. Although Gottshalk's case is exceptional, it illustrates in vivid and compelling ways the means by which one stubborn thinker could challenge church authorities about fundamental Christian doctrines, even from prison Gottshalk's imprisonment in Hautvillers provides an excellent example of the networks of information exchange that made the walls of early medieval cloisters much more porous than they usually seem. Historians of early medieval religion will find much to ponder in Gottshalk's notorious career, which Gillis has presented with admirable erudition and attention to detail."--Scott G. Bruce, Reading Religion


"Gillis's excellent book brings the life and ideas of this entrancing early medieval heretic to the attention of a new generation of scholars." -- Charles West, Journal of Ecclesiastical History


"This is an important study that scholars of the Carolingian world and of early-medieval religious culture in general will read and use for many years to come. It is a book we should be grateful to have..."--Dr Scott Ashley, Reviews in History


"This could be simply a story about the power of Carolingian bishops in suppressing dissenting voices, yet Gillis is able to demonstrate that Gottschalk had considerable agency." --Rob Meens, History


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2017. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Heresy and Dissent in the Carolingian Empire recounts the history of an exceptional ninth-century religious outlaw, Gottschalk of Orbais. Frankish Christianity required obedience to ecclesiastical superiors, voluntary participation in reform, and the belief that salvation was possible for all baptized believers. Yet Gottschalk-a mere priest-developed a controversial, Augustinian-based theology of predestination, claiming that only divine election through grace enabled eternal life. Gottschalk preached to Christians within the Frankish empire-including bishops-and non-Christians beyond its borders, scandalously demanding they confess his doctrine or be revealed as wicked reprobates. Even after his condemnations for heresy in the late 840s, Gottschalk continued his activities from prison thanks to monks who smuggled his pamphlets to a subterranean community of supporters. This study reconstructs the career of the Carolingian Empire s foremost religious dissenter in order to imagine that empire from the perspective of someone who worked to subvert its most fundamental beliefs. Examining the surviving evidence (including his own writings), Matthew Gillis analyzes Gottschalk s literary and spiritual self-representations, his modes of argument, his prophetic claims to martyrdom and miraculous powers, and his shocking defiance to bishops as strategies for influencing contemporaries in changing political circumstances. In the larger history of medieval heresy and dissent, Gottschalk s case reveals how the Carolingian Empire preserved order within the church through coercive reform. The hierarchy compelled Christians to accept correction of perceived sins and errors, while punishing as sources of spiritual corruption those rare dissenters who resisted its authority. Seller Inventory # AOP9780198797586

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2017. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Heresy and Dissent in the Carolingian Empire recounts the history of an exceptional ninth-century religious outlaw, Gottschalk of Orbais. Frankish Christianity required obedience to ecclesiastical superiors, voluntary participation in reform, and the belief that salvation was possible for all baptized believers. Yet Gottschalk-a mere priest-developed a controversial, Augustinian-based theology of predestination, claiming that only divine election through grace enabled eternal life. Gottschalk preached to Christians within the Frankish empire-including bishops-and non-Christians beyond its borders, scandalously demanding they confess his doctrine or be revealed as wicked reprobates. Even after his condemnations for heresy in the late 840s, Gottschalk continued his activities from prison thanks to monks who smuggled his pamphlets to a subterranean community of supporters. This study reconstructs the career of the Carolingian Empire s foremost religious dissenter in order to imagine that empire from the perspective of someone who worked to subvert its most fundamental beliefs. Examining the surviving evidence (including his own writings), Matthew Gillis analyzes Gottschalk s literary and spiritual self-representations, his modes of argument, his prophetic claims to martyrdom and miraculous powers, and his shocking defiance to bishops as strategies for influencing contemporaries in changing political circumstances. In the larger history of medieval heresy and dissent, Gottschalk s case reveals how the Carolingian Empire preserved order within the church through coercive reform. The hierarchy compelled Christians to accept correction of perceived sins and errors, while punishing as sources of spiritual corruption those rare dissenters who resisted its authority. Seller Inventory # AOP9780198797586

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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2017. Condition: New. Recounts the history of an exceptional ninth-century religious outlaw, Gottschalk of Orbais-a priest who developed a controversial, Augustinian-based theology of predestination that directly contradicted Carolingian beliefs, showing how the Carolingian Empire preserved order within the Frankish Christian church through coercive reform. Num Pages: 288 pages. BIC Classification: 3F; HBJD; HBLC1; HRAM7; HRCC2. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 163 x 240 x 24. Weight in Grams: 550. . 2017. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780198797586

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