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cerberus
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PostSubject: suggests that the theme of comparing    Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:30 am

The historian R. A. Markus suggests that the reason for the conflicting advice is that the letter to Æthelberht was written first, and sent off with the returning missionaries. Markus argues that the pope, after thinking further about the circumstances of the mission in Britain, then sent a follow-up letter, the Epistolae ad Mellitum, to Mellitus, then en route to Canterbury, which contained new instructions. Markus sees this as a turning point in missionary history, in that forcible conversion gave way to persuasion.[74] This traditional view that the Epistola represents a contradiction of the letter to Æthelberht has been challenged by George Demacopoulos who argues that the letter to Æthelberht was mainly meant to encourage the king in spiritual matters, while the Epistola was sent to deal with purely practical matters, and thus the two do not contradict each other.[77] Flora Spiegel, a writer on Anglo-Saxon literature, suggests that the theme of comparing the Anglo-Saxons to the Israelites was part of a conversion strategy involving gradual steps, including an explicitly proto-Jewish one between paganism and Christianity. Spiegel sees this as an extension of Gregory's view of Judaism as halfway between Christianity and paganism. Thus, Gregory felt that first the Anglo-Saxons must be brought up to the equivalent of Jewish practices, then after that stage was reached they could be brought completely up to Christian practices



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