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The Formation of Christian Europe
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The Formation of Christian Europe: The Carolingians, Baptism, and the Imperium Christianum

Owen M. Phelan


Around the turn of the ninth century, political and religious reformers worked to establish an imperium christianum—a Christian Empire—a society whose most basic organizing principle was the sacramentum of baptism. This study explores why they did this, how they did it, and with what consequences. As a sacramentum, baptism was an especially useful tool for Carolingian thinkers pursuing reform. Baptism rested on a substantial tradition filled with legal, moral, social, political and theological ideas from which reformers could draw. Furthermore, baptism was fundamental to Christianity and to be ... More

Keywords: baptism, Carolingian Renewal, sacrament, early medieval ritual, Frankish Europe

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780198718031
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718031.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Owen M. Phelan, author
Mount Saint Mary's University