A Companion to Boniface


The eighth-century English missionary and church reformer Boniface was a highly influential figure in early medieval Europe. His career in what is now Germany, France, and the Netherlands is attested in an exceptional number of textual sources: a correspondence of 150 letters, Latin poetry, church council records, and other documents. Numerous saints’ lives and modern devotional materials further reveal how he was and is remembered by the religious communities that claim him as a foundational figure.

This volume comprises the latest scholarship on Boniface and his fellow missionaries, examining the written materials associated with Boniface, his impacts on the regions of Europe where he worked (Hessia, Thuringia, Bavaria, Frisia, and Francia), and the development of his cult in the Middle Ages and today.

Contributors: Michel Aaij, John-Henry Clay, Michael Glatthaar, Shannon Godlove, Leanne Good, Petra Kehl, Felice Lifshitz, Rob Meens, Michael Edward Moore, Marco Mostert, James Palmer, Janneke Raaijmakers, Rudolf Schieffer, Emily Thornbury, Siegfried Weichlein, and Barbara Yorke.

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Michel Aaij is Associate Professor of English at Auburn University Montgomery. He studied at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit and received a Ph.D. in Medieval Language and Literature from the University of Alabama. His interests include the popular veneration of saints; he has published on saints Elisabeth and Boniface.

Shannon Godlove is Associate Professor of English at Columbus State University. She received a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research on Old English and Anglo-Latin saints' lives has been published in journals such as Studies in Philology, Philological Quarterly, and Early Medieval Europe.
“Aaij, Godlove, and their fellow contributors offer critical perspectives from the UK, North American, German, and Dutch scholarly communities. Apart from John-Henry Clay’s In the Shadow of Death: Saint Boniface and the Conversion of Hessia (2010) scholarship on Boniface is scant, so this book is particularly welcome. The editors and contributors are scholars of religious studies and English and medieval history. The book includes a few color illustrations and maps and a 61-page bibliography. Summing Up: recommended.”

Agnes H. Widder, Michigan State University, in Choice Connect 59.2

“a valuable compendium of perspectives on Saint Boniface, succinctly articulated, carefully documented, and thoughtfully analyzed with depth and insight. The authors incidentally provide a very fine update of scholarship on all of the saint’s times and places in general.”

Craig R. Davis, Smith College, in The Medieval Review 22.02.21
  List of Illustrations
  Notes on Contributors

   Michel Aaij and Shannon Godlove

Part 1: Contexts

 1 Boniface: His Life and Work
   Rudolf Schieffer

 2 Boniface’s West Saxon Background
   Barbara Yorke

 3 Boniface’s Missionary Circles and Networks
   James T. Palmer

 4 Women in the Anglo-Saxon Missionary Circles
   Felice Lifshitz

Part 2: Written Sources

 5 Boniface as Poet and Teacher
   Emily V. Thornbury

 6 The Boniface Correspondence
   Michel Aaij

 7 The First Life of Boniface: Willibald’s Vita Bonifatii
   Shannon Godlove

 8 The Later Medieval Vitae Bonifatii
   Shannon Godlove

 9 Boniface: Preaching and Penance
   Rob Meens

 10 Boniface and the Reform Councils
   Michael Glatthaar

Part 3: Spheres of Activity

 11 Boniface in Francia
   Michael Edward Moore

 12 Boniface in Hessia and Thuringia
   John-Henry Clay

 13 Boniface in Bavaria
   Leanne Good

 14 Boniface in Frisia
   Marco Mostert

Part 4: Veneration and Afterlife

 15 The Veneration of Boniface in the Middle Ages
   Petra Kehl

 16 Imitemur nos, qui alumni eius sumus…: Boniface’s Nachleben in Early Medieval Fulda
   Janneke Raaijmakers

 17 Boniface as Political Saint in Germany in the 19th and 20th Centuries
   Siegfried Weichlein

 18 Popular Veneration and the Image of Boniface in the Modern Era
   Michel Aaij

Anyone interested in history of early medieval England, Francia, Germany, missionaries, church history, canon law, hagiography, Anglo-Latin literature, modern cults of the saints in Europe; (post-)graduate students, specialist and non-specialist historians. Keywords: Bonifatius, Early Medieval England, Anglo-Saxon England, Germania, Hessia, Frisia, Francia, Missionaries, eighth century, 8th C., Anglo-Latin literature, church history, canon law, cult of saints, letters, hagiography.
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