Christianization of Iceland
Priests, Power, and Social Change 1000-1300
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 334
Width: 14.6 cm
Height: 22.5 cm
In this first historical study of High-Medieval Iceland to be published in English, Dr Vesteinsson investigates the influence of the Christian Church on the formation of the earliest state structures in Iceland, from the conversion in 1000 to the union with Norway in 1262. In the history of mankind states and state structures have usually been established before the advent of written records. As a result historians are rarely able to trace with certainty the early development of complex structures of government. In Iceland, literacy and the practice of native history writing had been established by the beginning of the twelfth century; whereas the formation of a centralised government did not occur until more than a hundred years later. The early development of statelike structures has therefore been unusually well chronicled, in the Icelandic Sagas, and in the historical records of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Based on this wealth of material,The Christianization of Iceland is an important contribution to the discussion on the formation of states.
The Christianization of Iceland is a competent, important and in many respects brilliant contribution to the history of church and society in medieval Iceland. * Saga-Book * ... meticulous scholarship ... valuable study. * Saga-Book * The book is aimed not only at readers whose primary interest is Icelandic history or the background to Old Icelandic literature, but more generally at those interested in the social or ecclesiastical history of medieval Europe. * Saga-Book * ... this volume is a major contribution to Icelandic scholarship and should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in medieval Icelandic or ecclesiastical history. * skandinavistik * Most of the scholarly discussion of Iceland's early political and social development has taken place in Icelandic or other Scandinavian languages. Not the least valuable feature of this volume is its summary of this scholarship. In the process, it corrects some outdated interpretations of canon law and European ecclesiastical history on which earlier work has often been based. Even more importantly, Dr. Vesteinsson carefully presents and analyzes the historical value of the primary sources that pertain to his topic ... Thanks to Vesteinsson, a great deal of dead wood can be cleared away. * skandinavistik * This is a useful book, especially because it helps to balance discussion about the Icelandic Free State Society ... The Christianization of Iceland is an important book, for it gives a good overview of church institutional development, in particular in the period prior to the fall of The Free State. * Journal of Ecclesiastical History * It would be hard to conceive of a more valuable and timely work than this one. * English Historical Review * The broad story it tells is engrossing, both for scholars of Icelandic culture, and for comparative historians of the medieval European Church ... An interesting, thoroughly documented and thoughtful account of the rise of an anomalous and uniquely Icelandic institution. * Times Literary Supplement * The Christianization of Iceland is an important book that puts the study of Icelandic society during the Commonwealth period on new and secure footing. It will be valuable to scholars studying the medieval history of Iceland or Europe. * History * The book offers a whole new way of interpreting Iceland's Golden Age ... The Christianization of Iceland is indeed a rare book, the kind that comes along once in a century. * Thomas Martin, Norway Times *