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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

For centuries, the historiographical model of Gregory of Tours has dominated efforts to trace the history of Christianity in western Europe. However, even where archaeological evidence was admitted, it tended to be considered within a theological framework. These days, the approach to the evidence is altogether more sophisticated: all forms of evidence are considered as much as possible in the context of the societies in which they were produced. This article capitalizes on these new approaches and challenges traditional accounts of the development of Christianity in western Europe that emphasize ecclesiastical structures for their own sake. It aims to locate the history of early western Christianity – and not just the Church – in the social contexts in which it evolved and to illuminate its development by appealing to the widest range of sources possible.

Keywords: Gregory of Tours, Christianity, ecclesiastical structures, western Christianity, western Europe

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