Gregory of Tours: History and Society in the Sixth Century

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"For over 1,400 years the Histories of Gregory of Tours (538-94) - the principal work of Merovingian history - have been understood as a 'history of the Franks'. The work has also been viewed as an objective portrayal of history, albeit told by a naive narrator: incapable of endowing his material with any sort of internal order, he succeeded only in the chronological organisation of this 'colourful muddle'." "A completely new interpretation of the Histories is put forward in this book, in which the bishop of Tours can be seen to be giving each of his 'Ten Books' a self-contained topic, and also making use of the patristic method of typological biblical exegesis. By appreciating these elements, one can clearly see the often antithetical connections between apparently unconnected, adjacent chapters, and also begin to make out their function within a universal, Christological concept of history. Gregory's historiographical interests can be seen as focusing on the development of a socio-political concept of society, one which wishes to see the leadership of the Christian state entrusted to joint government of bishops and king (christianus princeps)."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...even those who do not subscribe to Heinzelmann's main thesis will greatly profit from the many important findings set out in his book." Walter Goffart

"[This study] marks a watershed in studies of Gregory and is the capstone of decades of this eminent scholar's work." American Historical Review

"Heinzelmann's book is a good companion to Gregory's work in that it provides a comprehensive interpretation of Gregory's concept of history." Comitatus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521631747
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2001
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of abbreviations
Introduction: The state of research into Gregory of Tours in 1992 1
1 Gregory of Tours and his family 7
2 The function of autobiographical elements in Gregory's concept of contemporary history (Books V-X); the relationship of 'bishop' and 'king'; autobiography and the writing of history; the concept of history 36
3 Ten Books of History: genre, structure and plan 94
4 Gregory's ecclesia Dei: the eschatological church and the concept of society 153
Conclusion 202
Postscript 210
Bibliography 214
Index of references to Gregory's works 223
Index of names 230
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