Leading the Way to Heaven
Pastoral Care and Salvation in the Carolingian Period
Starting from manuscripts compiled for local priests in the Carolingian period, this book investigates the way in which pastoral care took shape at the local levels of society. They show what illiterate lay people learned about their religion, but also what priests themselves knew.
The Carolingian royal dynasty, which ruled over much of Europe in the eighth and ninth century, is well-known for its success in war, patronage of learning and its ambitious style of rulership. A central theme in their plans for the future of their kingdom was to ensure God's everlasting support, and to make sure that all inhabitants – down to the last illiterate farmer – reached eternal life in heaven. This book shows how the ideal of leading everybody to salvation was a central element of Carolingian culture. The grass-roots approach shows how early medieval religion was anything but uniform, how it encompassed all spheres of daily life and how well-educated local priests did not only know how to baptise and preach, but could also advise on matters concerning health, legal procedure and even the future.
This volume is of great use to upper-level undergraduates, postgraduates and scholars interested in the ecclesiastical history of Europe in the Carolingian period.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: Foundations 1. Carolingian correctio 2. Manuscripts for priests Part 2: Cornerstones 3. The cornerstones of Christian society I: baptism 4. The cornerstones of Christian society II: mass 5. The cornerstones of Christian society III: penance Part 3: Beyond pastoral care 6. Priests as experts 7. The edges of orthodoxy
Carine van Rhijn is a cultural historian of the early middle ages. She teaches medieval history at the Department of History and Art History at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.