The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe

The Conversion of Scandinavia Vikings Merchants and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe In this book a MacArthur Award winning scholar argues for a radically new interpretation of the conversion of Scandinavia from paganism to Christianity in the early Middle Ages Overturning the receive

  • Title: The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe
  • Author: Anders Winroth
  • ISBN: 9780300170269
  • Page: 319
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In this book a MacArthur Award winning scholar argues for a radically new interpretation of the conversion of Scandinavia from paganism to Christianity in the early Middle Ages Overturning the received narrative of Europe s military and religious conquest and colonization of the region, Anders Winroth contends that rather than acting as passive recipients, Scandinavians cIn this book a MacArthur Award winning scholar argues for a radically new interpretation of the conversion of Scandinavia from paganism to Christianity in the early Middle Ages Overturning the received narrative of Europe s military and religious conquest and colonization of the region, Anders Winroth contends that rather than acting as passive recipients, Scandinavians converted to Christianity because it was in individual chieftains political, economic, and cultural interests to do so.Through a painstaking analysis and historical reconstruction of both archeological and literary sources, and drawing on scholarly work that has been unavailable in English, Winroth opens up new avenues for studying European ascendency and the expansion of Christianity in the medieval period.

    One thought on “The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe”

    1. Winroth makes a sophisticated argument about how and why Scandinavia became Christianized. I'll sketch out the basics here.Scandinavia was a vast network of chieftains who competed with one another by means of gift-giving. Whoever gave the best gifts was more likely to attract followers. Sheer quantity of wealth was not enough. A chieftain had to give rare, exotic, valuable, or prestigious gifts. As the rest of Europe experienced an economic recovery following the nadir of its development after [...]

    2. In The Conversion of Scandinavia, Winroth argues for a reinterpretation of the Christian conversion of Scandinavia in the early Middle Ages. Much older scholarship accepted a narrative of Christian European military and religious conquest, a sort of "proto-imperialist" cultural colonisation of the region. Winroth claims that to the contrary, Scandinavians chose Christianity because it was in the political and economic interests of their societal elites. In the stateless societies of the early me [...]

    3. Winroth's basic thesis - that the christianization of scandinavia was a project of the elites, not in the essence of the "conversion kings" commonly depicted in older historeography but more of using the religion, its institutions, prestige and its ties to the continent - is not entirely new but it is quite clearly argued here for an english audience. Many scandinavian academics would do well to heed Winroth, as this concept, while definitely treated before, sadly has some trouble taking root in [...]

    4. The book elaborates on the conversion of Scandinavia up to 1000ce. Winroth contends that the traditional view of adamant Christian missionaries Christianizing Scandinavia over simplifies the facts. He argues that evidence supports the view that the elites adopted Christianity because it offered advantages that paganism didn't, and that subsequently the lower classes adopted the religion. The argument is a new take on the conversion of Scandinavia, the author researched his topic thoroughly and t [...]

    5. An interesting take on an important historical process. A very reasonable analysis for the most part, but with certain speculations here and there whose probability is questionable.

    6. Ler me start this off by saying that I had to read this for school. Well no. Not this book in particular, but I had to pick a book to do multiple projects on for an Intro to Christianity class that my school requires. Gotta love private schools!Believe it or not, I had high hopes going into this book. I am 75% Norwegian and my family is extremely proud of ojr Norwegian heritage. So what was I expecting? Vikings, Thor, Odin, and lots of Olav Tryggvason. I got some Vikings and less Olav Tryggvason [...]

    7. Good bit of contemporary historical perspectives. Should have been called, "Silver, swords, baptism: how gift exchange spurred early Scandinavian politics." (That's from the last chapter.)Winroth directs us past the writings of medieval monks and the Christian conversion story that has been used to explain Western European history up through and past the 19th century missionary colonialists. He argues that Scandinavian warrior band chiefs chose Christianity in their quests for power, rather than [...]

    8. Very well written with clear prose and very clear argument. This book is not for someone who is not at all familiar with the historical period, but for those that are, the argument for the factors of conversion is very clearly laid out. It's certainly possible to debate the conclusions, but the fact that the book has such a clear argument makes this much easier to do.

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