Individual and collective salvation in late Visigothic Spain

Wood, Jamie (2009) Individual and collective salvation in late Visigothic Spain. In: Church, the afterlife and the fate of the soul. Studies in Church History (45). The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, pp. 74-86. ISBN 9780954680954

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Abstract

Bishop Julian of Toledo is remembered primarily as a key actor in the processes of king-making and -unmaking that went on in the Visigothic kingdom of the 670s. In the early part of the decade Julian’s Historia Wambae Regis legitimated King Wamba’s hold on the throne in opposition to a rebellion. The text also provides us with the first reference to unction in the early medieval West, while Julian’s actions in putting the same king through penance when he appeared to be on the brink of death in 680 and then insisting that the king could not resume his royal duties when he recovered have long attracted the attention of scholars of penance and conspiracy theorists alike. As the Bishop of Toledo, capital of the Visigothic kingdom, Julian was the main ecclesiastic in Visigothic Spain, presiding over four councils of Toledo (from the twelfth in 681 to the fifteenth in 687). Perhaps as a result of his historical significance in a poorly documented era, Julian’s plentiful writings about the end of time have largely been ignored; after all, they seem not to deal with ‘historical’ events. This is a shame, since Julian’s Prognosticum futuri saeculi was the most widely disseminated work of late seventh-century Spain: hundreds of manuscripts survive and there are well over one hundred references to the work in medieval library catalogues. The great success of the Prognosticum can be attributed to the contents of the three books, which deal with the origins of human death, the fate of the soul after death and the fate of the body at the resurrection, and thus address a series of theoretical and practical issues connected to death and its aftermath. The text was so popular because it was very easy to use, briefly summarizing a wide range of patristic opinions on death, the second coming of Christ and its aftermath.

Additional Information:Bishop Julian of Toledo is remembered primarily as a key actor in the processes of king-making and -unmaking that went on in the Visigothic kingdom of the 670s. In the early part of the decade Julian’s Historia Wambae Regis legitimated King Wamba’s hold on the throne in opposition to a rebellion. The text also provides us with the first reference to unction in the early medieval West, while Julian’s actions in putting the same king through penance when he appeared to be on the brink of death in 680 and then insisting that the king could not resume his royal duties when he recovered have long attracted the attention of scholars of penance and conspiracy theorists alike. As the Bishop of Toledo, capital of the Visigothic kingdom, Julian was the main ecclesiastic in Visigothic Spain, presiding over four councils of Toledo (from the twelfth in 681 to the fifteenth in 687). Perhaps as a result of his historical significance in a poorly documented era, Julian’s plentiful writings about the end of time have largely been ignored; after all, they seem not to deal with ‘historical’ events. This is a shame, since Julian’s Prognosticum futuri saeculi was the most widely disseminated work of late seventh-century Spain: hundreds of manuscripts survive and there are well over one hundred references to the work in medieval library catalogues. The great success of the Prognosticum can be attributed to the contents of the three books, which deal with the origins of human death, the fate of the soul after death and the fate of the body at the resurrection, and thus address a series of theoretical and practical issues connected to death and its aftermath. The text was so popular because it was very easy to use, briefly summarizing a wide range of patristic opinions on death, the second coming of Christ and its aftermath.
Keywords:Spain, Medieval History, Religion
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V224 Iberian History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V330 History of Religions
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:7393
Deposited On:31 Jan 2013 22:56

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