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Title: Ministry, mission and myth in early Christian Fortriu
Author: Fraser, James E.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis offers a re-examination of the range of evidence pertaining to the ecclesiastical history of the Pictish kingdom of Fortriu from conversion to the early eighth century. The testimony of the main historical sources is examined critically, with particular attention to the ramifications for Adomnán’s Vita Columbae and Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum as sources for this period of Pictish history. it is argued that the former text contains two distinct and significantly different views of the place of Iona in Pictish ecclesiastical culture in this period, and that both texts, taken together, may be interpreted as showing that in the last quarter of the seventh century such views underwent marked change that corresponded with contemporary changes in Iona’s relationship with the Verturian kings. An array of evidence is put forward to show that the Christianisation of Fortriu is likely to have begun in the late fifth century as a result of contact with British Christians south of the Forth, and that Iona’s role in this process was exaggerated in the source material upon which Adomnán and Bede depended for information. Evidence from medieval hagiography and church dedications is employed to suggest that Columban activity in Fortriu in the sixth and seventh centuries was limited as compared to the work of native churchmen with not demonstrable ties to Iona. The basis of Northumbrian claims after 664 to ecclesiastical jurisdiction in northern Britain is explored, and the likelihood that there were meaningful Anglian influences on Verturian ecclesiastical culture in this period is also discussed. The period of ‘Columban ascendancy’ in Fortriu alluded to by Bede is assigned here to the early eighth century and is envisioned as having been linked to the establishment of ‘Verturian hegemony’ in Pictavia.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available