on 14 July 2005
Richard Fletcher, who sadly passed away earlier this year, has crafted one of the classic studies of Medieval Conversion. While vast and scholarly, it also manages to be highly readable - lively, light in tone, even humourous in places - which, believe me, makes a welcome change for those of us engaged in lengthy research!
The work takes a whistle-stop tour of Europe, north to south and east to west, focusing as any decent study should on the primary literature and archaeology. This signifies an almost impossible amount of research, but therein lies my one little niggle - such a broad study can never really get beneath the skin of the subject under discussion, in my opinion at least. Saying that, Fletcher raises many important and stimulating issues, and is one scholar of the past 10-15 years who does not try to foist modern values upon his Medieval subjects by saying that the only reason they converted to Christianity was the political advantages it afforded them. Instead, Fletcher attempts to understand them in the context of their own world, infinitely more pious than our own.
Thus, one of those rare things - an enjoyable, if sprawling, academic tome, and surely the starting point or benchmark for any student or enthusiast of conversion, religion or Medieval history in general.
on 24 July 2014
An excellent book from Fletcher which I could not find a lot wrong with.
Firstly, it is eloquently written, maintaining a great standard while remaining accessible to historians or general readers. Secondly, it looks at the development of Christianity by considering key individuals, or events, not necessarily chronological. The author looks at various such instances and provides top analysis.
Overall, a great publication. Thoroughly recommended for students, or the general reader interested in Christianity. This book suits both.