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    Reluctant kings and Christian conversion in seventh-century England

    Tyler, Damian (2007) Reluctant kings and Christian conversion in seventh-century England. History, 92 (306). pp. 144-161. ISSN 0018-2648

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    Abstract

    This article challenges the generally accepted notion that conversion to Christianity was unambiguously beneficial for early Anglo-Saxon kings. It argues that the behavioural requirements of conversion frequently clashed with the social and political norms of early English kingdoms and thus often made it an unattractive option. The article concentrates on the relationships between kings and politically powerful groups within their kingdoms. It is suggested that Christianity often posed a threat to the positions of these groups and that because kings relied on the support of the elites it was only under exceptional circumstances that a ruler would embrace the new religion.

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