Matthew Bryan Gillis
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Heresy in the flesh
Gottschalk of Orbais and the predestination controversy in the archdiocese of Rheims
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This chapter examines the intersections between the career of the controversial theologian and missionary Gottschalk of Orbais, condemned for heresy at the Council of Mainz (848) and the Council of Quierzy (849), and the reign of the reforming archbishop Hincmar of Rheims, who sought to contain the danger of Gottschalk’s outlawed teachings. Beginning with a focus on Gottschalk’s teachings on predestination and his subversive methods as a missionary and preacher in Italy and southeastern Europe in the 830s and 840s, the chapter then explores the synods that condemned him, and Gottschalk’s startling resistance to episcopal correction, when he refused to recant despite being severely punished and sentenced to monastic incarceration for the rest of his life. Thereafter, the investigation considers both Gottschalk’s role in the 850s and 860s as a religious outlaw and figure of dissent, encouraging resistance to Hincmar’s reforms and doctrines among young clerics and monks through texts smuggled out of his prison, as well as Hincmar’s repeated efforts to defend Gottschalk’s condemnation as canonical and to prove that his doctrines were heretical.

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Hincmar of Rheims

Life and work

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