Theses Doctoral

Parsing Truth in Merovingian Gaul: Evidence and the Early Medieval Critic

Purcell, James

“Parsing Truth in Merovingian Gaul: Evidence and the Early Medieval Critic” considers how people distinguished truth from falsehood in a set of post-Roman kingdoms occupying much of modern France and western Germany from c. 450 to 751. Using Merovingian saints’ lives, legal documents, law codes, letters, and theological and philosophical texts, I consider how people and institutions navigated the possibility that information might be presented with the intent to deceive, or might just be wrong. Responses to questions about the reliability of information ranged from the practical to the abstractly epistemological, and the period produced multiple and contradictory arguments about how knowledge could, indeed, be certain. The dissertation concludes by examining some points of contact between Merovingian critical practices and Early Modern ones, looking specifically at the management of knowledge about relics at Sens.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Kosto, Adam J.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 30, 2020