Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: 12 Point Summary


James C Russell’s ‘Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation’ (GOEMC) is an excellent study on the evolution of Christianity from a predominantly Mediterranean religion to a northern European one. [1] The book has recently gained popularity on the internet right, and it’s now regarded as a “must read” in some circles.

Russell is a conservative historian and theologian who authored another book condemning the role of organized Christianity in the facilitation of mass immigration into the United States and other Western countries. [2] Russell published GOEMC through the Oxford University Press in 1994.


In GOEMC’s concluding chapter, Russell summarized his work’s twelve main points. [3]

(1) Early Christianity emerged from an urban, heterogeneous, and low social capital society. German society at the time of first contact with Christianity was rural, homogeneous, and high social capital.

(2) Early Christianity was “world rejecting” and “salvation” focused. In contrast, the pre-Christian German worldview was world accepting and socio-biological (ethnic and immediate).

(3) The first Christian missionaries to Germany accommodated Christianity to the religopolitical and magicoreligous elements of the German worldview. [4]

(4) Early efforts to convert Germans to Christ resulted in the reinterpretation of Christianity through the Germanic worldview.

(5) Catholic Christianity’s political reliance on Germanic nations, like the Franks, led to the increased influence of their interpretation of Christianity over the Western Church.

(6) Some Germanic nations attempted to preserve their unique ethnic identity and independence by adhering to Arianism rather than subjecting themselves to the outside power of Church hierarchy.

(7) The “Christianization” of the Germans was very shallow until at least the reign of Charlemagne (768 – 814) because there was no catechumanate system or qualified teachers to finish instruction. The Church prioritized baptism over teaching because they thought the apocalypse was near. The German worldview was too strong to allow full Christianization.

(8) Early missionaries to the Germans were as successful as they could have been. If they had not accommodated Christianity to the German worldview they probably would not have found any success.

(9) The initial accommodation of Christianity to the German worldview laid the foundation for later indoctrination of Christian worldview and ethics.

(10) Christian missionaries misrepresented the extent of disparity between the Germanic and Christian worldview when initially accommodating Christianity to a fresh German audience.

(11) Early Christian accommodation left Germans with the impression that Jesus was one among many magicoreligous gods to include in their pantheon. New German converts did not possess doctrinal or ethical concerns.

(12) Contributing factors to Christianity’s German spread included: the association of Christianity with Frankish political aims, an imagined causal association of Christianity with Roman grandeur, and a coincidental similarity between German myths and Christian beliefs, rituals, and symbols.

This book is in the P reading list.


(Apologies. I don’t know who sent me this link to me)

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