Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (MA)

Degree Level





Joshua Smith

Committee Member

Lynda Coon

Second Committee Member

Charles Muntz


Language, literature and linguistics; Philosophy, religion and theology; Aelfric of eynsham; Alfred the great; Anglo-saxons; England; Ezekiel; Gildas


During the Viking Age, the Christian Anglo-Saxons in England found warnings and solace in the biblical text of Ezekiel. In this text, the God of Israel delivers a dual warning: first, the sins of the people call upon themselves divine wrath; second, it is incumbent upon God’s messenger to warn the people of their extreme danger, or else find their blood on his hands. This thesis examines how the Anglo-Saxon applied Ezekiel’s warnings to their own cultural crisis. It begins with the early development of this philosophy by the Britons in the 500s, its adoption by the Anglo-Saxons, Irish, and Franks in the later centuries, and how the Carolingians modified it during their political reform movement and reintroduced it to England when it was most needed: during the darkest days of the 9th-century Viking invasions of England. From there, Ezekiel’s warnings are traced through the following century and a half as the English flush their oppressors from the island, but then are finally conquered by a Christian Viking, who in turn takes to heart the call to repent or face God’s judgment.