Gerda Heydemann
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The rhetoric of election
1 Peter 2.9 and the Franks
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In this chapter, the passage in 1 Peter that Alcuin paraphrased in the Vita Vedastis is used as a test case for the 'rhetoric of election' and its uses in the early Middle Age. The chapter explores how the often emphatic use of ethnic rhetoric in a Christian context shaped medieval perceptions of community. The exegetical approach towards 1 Peter 2.9 is well exemplified by the work of Bede. The rhetoric of election is used to underline the fundamental contrast between pagan damnation and salvation through baptism. The Franks had not been a chosen people from the start; it was the act of baptism in which the divine 'acquisition' was expressed. This miraculous rite de passage is operated by God's grace through the pious deeds of the two saints who bring remedy to the souls of the king and his Franks.

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