|This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Christianization article.|
|WikiProject Religion / Interfaith||(Rated Start-class, Low-importance)|
|WikiProject Christianity / Catholicism||(Rated Start-class, Low-importance)|
This entry contains material suppressed at Halloween by User:Dogface and User:Brian Kendig. Readers should be aware that the Roman Catholic Church denies the very basis of this article. Consult "history" at the top of the entry page to see whether useful material has been suppressed.
"Christianization is also a term used for "baptized paganism"" I moved this apparent solecism here. Wetman 00:41, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I went through and made sure we were using more consistent spelling. Previsouly we had a mix of both the 'ize' and 'ise' ways to spell such words. Being that the page title uses a 'z' and American English in general makes use of the 'z' rather than 's' in these words, I have taken the liberty of changing the spelling on the page. Feel free to revert it if its not acceptable, but it looks really odd seeing both spellings next to eachother, so I'd advise you pick one. Most of the other wikipedia articles make use of 'Christianised', so maybe that would've been better for Wikipedia consistency, but then the title of this page would need to change, and I have no idea how to do that. 126.96.36.199 18:28, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
"the practice of converting pagan cult practices, pagan religious imagery, pagan sites and the pagan calendar to Christian uses."
- Is there any evidence that the Roman Catholic Church denies every detail in the article? I sincerely doubt this; it looks like a sidelong ad hominem attack. Even if this were true at one point in time, as soon as someone adds some detail which the RCC does not deny, the blanket statement at the top of the article would become false. Therefore I'm removing it. Wesley 17:53, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Excellent! That's in matters of cult, images, sites and calendar. Then we shall see no more reverting of any of this factual material at Wikipedia, at for example Halloween, All Saint's Day etc etc etc. --Wetman 18:54, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- The point was that such blanket statements are bound to be wrong, sooner or later. I'm sure the fact checking at those articles will continue. ;-) Wesley 06:00, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
An ongoing campaign, of which User:Wesley is a (hopefully thoughtless) footsoldier, viz:
- "Edit" at Halloween: "The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries (along with Christmas and Easter, two other traditional northern European pagan holidays)" (italics suppressed) --Wetman 20:38, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- I haven't looked at either article recently. However, the dating of Easter is obviously related to the dating of the Jewish Passover to begin with, and Christmas' connection with Saturnalia etc. is debatable either way. Neither is an open and shut case for either side. Wesley 23:00, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
A better idea, revised 
Rather than list the obvious, I have re-entered more sensitive text designed to satisfy even the most partisan (Revised to include a more neutral version of Wesley's objection, omitting ascriptions of low motivations):
- Such pagan precedents for Christian practice tend to be downplayed or even sometimes dismissed by Christian, particularly Roman Catholic apologists. On the other hand, these historical precedents may be played up by atheists wishing to discredit Christianity, thus the subject is sensitive both for the Christian faithful and for the historian
How can objections be made to that? --Wetman 20:55, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- Hmmm. If we're going to discuss how groups respond to these claims, what about adding something about these precedents being played up by atheists wishing to discredit Christianity, and by Protestants wishing to discredit earlier expressions of Christianity? Wesley 23:00, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- Are you serious, or trolling? /Tuomas 00:03, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- Well, a little both. I think it's trolling/POV to point out how Christians are "sensitive" to this subject. I don't dispute that Christians, including myself, are sensitive to this subject. I do question the appropriateness of including that in the article. But rather than ask that this text be deleted, I'm instead proposing that additional balancing text be added, namely, an equally neutral observation that atheists and protestants do seem to play up these sorts of 'precedents', as a way of discrediting earlier forms of Christianity. So really, my proposal is perfectly serious. Thanks for asking. Wesley 05:32, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- Oh, a classical our camp of the world vs. your camp of the world battle ;-)
- As a former student of theology (yeah, yeah, ...only a year, but anyway) in a country with a firmly established protestant state church, I remember nothing of neither protestant nor catholic teachers playing down the amalgamation of previous and introduced religious concepts.
- — Not the opposite either, I would wish to say, but I have nothing to compare with, so I don't say that. :-) Theories and research on the "inheritance" of annual feasts, that in most cultures have either a religious or semi-religious connotation, is as far as I understand one of the branches of Sociology of Religion.
- --Johan Magnus 06:07, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- Please comment on the revision above. I see no reason that this attempt at suppression can't be overcome in the interests of a genuinely neutral point-of-view and historical accuracy. The Roman Catholic response might be entered separately, as a rebuttal. --06:27, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Three Cheers: An End to Whitewashed History. 
I'm glad to see that the actions of Constantine are no longer being whitewashed. It's important to report the historical facts as they are, not just the history that lets people feel good about themselves and their history. The people who write American History text books could learn a lot from this! --Lucavix 11:10, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
- Sure, but it's still important to distinguish between what Constantine did and what Theodosius I did. Wesley 16:42, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
the article needs serious re-organization. At present it reads like a random collection of trivia and anecdotes. After some general musings, we speak about Poland for some reason, then about Druids and the Goths, then back to the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Then we mention some Roman festivals, then some Celtic festivals, and again some Roman festivals. What this article needs is a clear layout of time and space. "Christianization" has been occurring for 2000 years, and it is continuing today. We need:
- early missionaries
- Armenia, Georgia, Ethiopia, Syria
- Roman Empire (Gaul, Germanic, Britannia)
- Migration period, Goths, Lombards, Slavs,
- Middle Ages, Crusades, Scandinavia, Hungarians, Balts, Finns, Reconquista
- Reformation, heretic movements, forced conversion, Jews, Russian Empire
- Colonialism, Jesuits, Africa, Americas, Far East
- Modern proselytization, SIL, Chick tracts, etc.
Yes, this is a lot of material. Which means Wikipedia:Summary style, we already have lots of sub-articles, like Constantine I and Christianity, Germanic Christianity, Anglo-Saxon mission, Hiberno-Scottish mission, Christianization of Bulgaria, Baptism of Poland, etc. I daresay all the material required is already on Wikipedia, it just needs to be ordered properly here. dab (ᛏ) 09:35, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
- I don't know if inserting all those subsections has made the article more readable. I still think, it is an improvement; at least now I would have found the article on the Christianization of Scandinavia. -Zara1709 19:52, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
euroheritage.net on the added map:
I added a History of European Christianization timeline, as commentary above requested. Being my first contribution to the site, I hope it will not be deemed inappropriate. If something is erroneous to you, please notify me for change.
Wholesale deletions 
- The "See also" section does really need trimming. Jkelly 00:04, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
What was wrong with the "major dates of conversion" map? It looks okay. Isopropyl 00:07, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
- On second glance, it does look kind of amateurish...maybe if it were cleaned up a little? Isopropyl 00:11, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
From my experience a good half of the maps and charts throughout this site are drawn by the uploaders. It is whimsical to me why my map is an exception. If the clarity errors were fixed (which they have been now), placing this map in the article would turn it from a very marginal and poor article into a clear, historically-guided article. The map can be verified on every Wikipedia history page I checked under each nation's article, as I expected people to complain. Wikipedia demands "verifiabilty" not "truth" as the help sections even say. It is unreal why a historically-factual map (or as historical as this site can possibly be, usually dubious from my experience) cannot be used to help convey the content.
The clarity errors have been fixed based upon the issues informed to me. If there is another issue you see, let me fix it, then I will add it into the article for continuity.
- Did you in fact draw the entire map from scratch? If you just superimposed text on an existing map, it is a possible copyright violation. Isopropyl 14:56, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
The map template is from the United Nations, and as I read, it is for public use. Other charts and maps used throughout this site also use a template and superimpose historically legitimate information on top. As many people commented above, something like this is really needed for this article.
- Please stop inserting horizontal rules. Did you get the image from the main UN site? The maps section explicitly states that
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Unless otherwise noted, the maps included on this web site are produced by the Cartographic Section and are copyrighted by the United Nations. Reproduction of any part without the permission of the copyright owner is unlawful. Reproduction of any part without the permission of the copyright owner is unlawful.
- Please provide proof that the map is in fact in the public domain. Also, it'd be nice if you could remove the watermarking. Isopropyl 16:16, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
- Regardless of the copyright violation or not, this map should not be put into article because it is fairly misleading and full of errors. Just the fact that it gives the boundaries of modern, 21th century states while it speaks about Christianization during almost 2000 years should make anyone suspicious. For instance, on the map of (fairly norhtern) Russia it states from 800 by Germanic Kievan Rus state and later on by Byzantine monks (esepcialy St. Cyril and Method). Not a word of that is true. First of all, there is a lot of controversy wether should the rulers of Kievan Rus be considered Germanic. Political correctnes aside, that leaves us with question of historical correctnes: a) Kievan Rus was officialy Christianized in late 10th century, literaly over night, by quick and abrupt act of Vladimir the Great. b) Neither Constantine nor Method never set foot in Russia. Their great mission to convert the Slavs started in late 800s in Slavic state known as Great Moravia, which was roughly in the area of modern-day Hungary. By all accounts their efforts were fairly succesful, and the Slavs in the area were Christianized by the begining of 10th century - 100 year earlier than the map mentions. True, Hungarians, who conquered the lands of Great Moravia at the time, were Christianized only after 1000, but I think it is worthy mentioning that the Christianization of that central part of Europe started fairly earlier - especialy since the mission of Cyril & Method was the very nucleus of conversion of the greatest part of Slavic tribes to Christianity. Furthermore, the area of Bosnia & Herzegovina was definately not Christian from 400s onwards; it was not Christian a 1000 years later! Bosnia remained pagan well into high middle age, and even then, it developed a fairly peculiar sort of Bogumil heresy with its own, Bosnian church. 'Regular' Christianity didn't arive into the area practicly until the Turskih rule, with the efforts of the Franciscan monks who worked amongst the conquered populations. Holy Roman Empire was not just Austria (whose name, Osterreich, Eastren Realm, acctualy refers to the eastren part of the Empire), but the entire German part of Europe; and it definately did not exist in 500-800, but only from 10th century onward, after the fall and divsion of Carolign empire, invasion of Hungarians, and rise of Otto I. And finaly, without me going on forever about all the inaccurasies, why does the maps show only Europe, even without the entire Mediterranian basin? Through 2000 years, Christianity reached almost all parts of the world, and even in half of that time, it arrived to almost all corners of the Old World. --Hierophant 17:41, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
- If anyone is interested, the map in question can still be found at: http://euroheritage.net/html/images/christianhistorymap.jpg It might still be quite useful for writing a section on the Christianization of Europe. -Zara1709 20:16, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Few Christian churches built in the first half millennium of the established Christian Church were not built upon sites already consecrated as pagan temples ... 
This is not entirely true. In the early phases of Christianity early christian churches, "basiilicas", were built often built at places of great religious tolerance such as Cenchreae (also transliterated as Kenchreai) and stood next to other temples of worship. The structure of these churches is nearly uniformly that of a basilica (often with a baptistry), which is important to note because the basilica is a Roman public structure very different from the structure of Roman (and Greek) temples. A basilica structure cannot be substituted for a Greek or Roman Temple which requires opennesss to the light (most often with orientation opening to the East where the sunrises) and visibility of the cult statue from front entrance of the temple.
On the otherhand at some sites such as Nemea, a Christian basilica was erected nearby --though not on top of-- a pagan temple. Its from a later date than the one at Cenchreae 5th or 6th century, and although a separate structure from the pagan sanctuary, it was built with blocks taken from the nearby Sanctuary of Zeus.
Regardless, this sentence is vague (does building a new structure next on old one like at nemea count as building on a site consecrated as a Pagan temple?) and characterizes a broad and diverse period of time (500 years) with a generalization that falls apart upon closer inspection of the different time periods.
Christianisation is not identical to persecution 
This article is severely POV-pushing the opposite. 188.8.131.52 18:09, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
- Tell me about it. I am trying to get the article Persecution of Germanic Pagans NPOV on this for almost five months now. -Zara1709 16:48, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
- Historical persecution by Christians is basically a pov fork of this one. We need to NPOV both, and probably merge them. dab (𒁳) 09:28, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
- I agree with your comments here. The article includes way too much speculation on the reasons for conversion (which seem to be inevitably material in nature -- e.g. Baptism of Poland section) and should include references to positive cultural changes as well (e.g. abolishing existing practices of Child_sacrifice and other pagan rituals). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Frobnitzem (talk • contribs) 20:21, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
- Well, there have actually been cases of pagan buriel rites in which slaves (or children of slaves) were buried as company for someone on the afterlife (there is case of this discussed in in the introduction by Padberg). There were definitely positive aspects of Christianization, like the abolishment of Slavery (which lasted until the 16th century). But I can't work this into the article - I just don't have the time. Anyway, this article and the Historical persecution by Christians need to be keeped seperately. Aside from the late antiquity section, I should have gotten the POV largely out of the article, and then these are almost completely different topics (the main issue in 'religious persecution by Christians' took place after the Reformation.) Zara1709 09:46, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Nobody (serious) disputes there were vast positive effects going along with Christianization. Abolition of "child sacrifice" still isn't a very good example of them. This is needlessly polemic. Human sacrifice in tribal societies is a rationalization of a sound anthropological impetus to kill. For the detached ethnologist, it is really much the same if people are killed for better harvest or because of heresy. Of course executions of heretics aren't commonly referred to as "human sacrifice", but that's just terminology. Benefits and drawbacks of Christianization are elsewhere. dab (𒁳) 09:20, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
- human sacrifice and execution of heretics can by no means be compared or referred as the same thing with different terminology. Execution of heretics occured rather rarely(about 2 to 5 % of all accused when talking about the medieval inquisition) and could be avoided by rejecting heretical opinions. It was just about "crime" and punishment and belongs to the category of justice not religion. But there was no legal way to escape human sacrifice in a pagan society when you were chosen. Using the logic of the above comment even death penalty in the modern USA may be referred to as a form of human sacrifice(which in fact isn't). Both Christians and Pagans practised death penalty but some Pagans also made human sacrifices in adition to death penalty. Christianity never practised human sacrifices. And that's where Christianisation made a progress. Isidoros47 (talk) 23:37, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
- Abolishment of slavery?? Both testaments of the Bible are full of passages that portray slavery as normal and accepted (Jesus doesn't even oppose it, in fact he works it into his parables), and Christians in the United States had practiced slavery for a long time before it was abolished here. I definitely do not see how Christianization brought about the end of slavery.
- In many places including Africa and the Americas, Christianity brought with it conservative, repressive, even oppressive sexual norms. Some indigenous cultures had no concept of homophobia or transphobia before Christianization. Some had more equitable roles for men and women.
- And I agree that an objective historian would not make a moral distinction between human sacrifice and the killing of heathens and heretics. If you want to compare atrocities, some Pagan cultures may have practiced human sacrifice, but Christians came to the United States and massacred most of the indigenous people here, then forced the rest into Christian schools to assimilate to their culture.
- Christianization is a very complex issue, it is not identical to "persecution" but if you're going to go about judging history by today's moral standards, depending on what group you belonged to (gays, atheists, scientists, Native Americans, etc.), it did indeed take the form of persecution much of the time.
- There must be a way to objectively analyze those effects, and not gloss over or forget the atrocities, nor ignore any advancements. But I would suggest avoiding making any blanket statement like "Christianization led to the abolishment of slavery", because it's simply not true.VatoFirme (talk) 00:45, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Christianization of Native Americans 
I have changed the caption of the painting of the execution of a native American to indicate the Christianization of native Americans was "sometimes" a violent and coercive process. The previous statement that it was "mostly" violent and coercive is false. Roughly speaking, in some parts of Latin America, such as Mexico, Christianity was indeed imposed by violence, and Indians who resisted too openly were burned at the stake. However, generally speaking, in North America conversion was not imposed by violence or even coercion, and this is true of parts of Latin America as well. The history of the Christianization of the Americas is actually quite complex and varied. (By way of example, where I live the Carrier people actually sent a delegation in 1865 to demand a priest and converted voluntarily. This was by no means a unique event. Such requests were apparently often motivated by the belief that the priests controlled the devastating diseases that native shamans were unsuccessful in dealing with.)Bill (talk) 18:58, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
- ...since it's not a native American in the illustration, perhaps your points are less than apt when applied to the attempts at Christianization in India; nevertheless, if you can report the gist of any historian's printed articles that confirm your views, they would make suitable additions here or at the various sub-articles. --Wetman (talk) 20:10, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
we should be careful with plastering this article with romantic paintings. It's okay to convey a notion of how Christanization was perceived in the 19th century, but it is misleading to use them as if they were illustrating the actual events. Thus, the caption of "a 19th-century representation of the 'docile heathen'", but adding the caption "the conversion of Native Americans was sometimes a violent and coercive process" to Image:Persecution of Native American religion.PNG is disingenious. If anything, parallel the first caption with "a 19th-century representation of Hispanic fanatical evangelism" or similar. --dab (𒁳) 10:01, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
This article needs to be improved 
Especially the section on the cross which is bad historical POV. The cross as a symbol did exist in pre-Nicean Christianity, there are quite a few references to Christians making the sign of the cross. Tertullian (2nd-3rd century) said "we ware are foreheads out with the sign of the cross." This would hardly suggest that the cross "was not particularly associated with Christianity before the 4th century." And what do we base " Constantine I is widely considered to have introduced the symbol into Christianity" this statement on? Perhaps we might just add "Constantine made Jesus divine and invented Sunday worship" while we're at it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 01:45, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
Frankish Empire 
Just a cursory glance at the part of this wiki describing the christianization of the Frankish Empire and it is immediately apparent that this section is entirely unreferenced, over simplistic and glaringly wrong. To surmise;
- It describes the Frankish Empire, are we to presume this is the empire of Charlemagne?
- This very loose empire consisted of a myriad of different parts who became Christian at different times, in particular the Bohemians, Saxons and Wends so this portion is far too simplistic.
- I am fairly sure that the Franks themselves had become Christian before the dissolution of the Roman Empire in 476AD, they were Arians an heretical branch of Christianity but Christians none-the-less. (I'll look this up in Gibbons). James Frankcom (talk) 03:40, 28 December 2009 (UTC)