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.