Von der Heiligkeit gefallener Kriegerkönige
Holy kings, killed in action. Inculturation of Christianity in martial societies using the holy kings of the Anglo-Saxons and the Scandinavians as examples. In the terms of theology "inculturation" means the process that integrates Christianity in the culture of people. The perpetuation of the main substance of Christian belief and the necessary adjustments to new social conditions cause a huge challenge for the church during her history. In this thesis the process of inculturation is analysed
... sing the Christianisation of Germanic clan people in the north of Europe as an example. In the course of that Christianisation the development of a new idea of sainthood can be found: The cult of holy, fighting kings, who died in battle. Oswald of Northumbria, Olav II Haraldson, Knut IV of Denmark and Eric IX of Sweden are presented as examples. A chapter of this thesis gives a short summary of the Christianisation in England and the Scandinavian countries. Another chapter tries to define Christian sainthood and presents different types of saints worshipped by the Catholic Church. The question of violence is of special interest for this work. Violence and the reaction of the church are only understandable considering the historical and social context. As the crusades also the adoration of the holy kings can be interpreted as a modified access of the church to violence. This change is closely connected to the inculturation of Christianity in martial Germanic clan nations. Additionally the question whether the holy kings can be considered as an independent type of saints or not has been studied in this thesis. This question is negated in this work. There are some discrete similarities above the characteristics of martyrs or noble saints described in the literature. Because of the small number of individuals that can be identified as holy kings, who died in battle and because of the emphasis that is given on the gentility it seems reasonable to add them to the type of noble saints.