I am currently reading The Flame Bearer. It is set in England after the Romans and before the invasion of the Normans. It is part of a series and a good read. I also salute Cornwell’s research. He is describing the king of the Saxons and trying to thread the complexities of the age when the old pagan religions were being overwhelmed by Christianity. King Edward is a Christian and at one point is described this way,
“I remembered Edward as a young and uncertain prince, since when I had heard rumors of too much wine and too many women, though the gods know the same rumors could be spread of any lord, but I had also heard that he cared deeply about his country, was pious, and I knew he had proved a notable warrior in his conquest of East Anglia.” p. 118This picks up the conflicting sense of morality in the middle ages. You have a man noted for his drinking and whoring and at the same time called “pious”. In the Biblical sense the two are mutually exclusive. Drunkenness is a sin in the Bible and sex outside of marriage is a major taboo. You can’t be sexually promiscuous and pious. That seems clear to me but in the middle ages the ruling classes has their own interpretation of what it meant to be a Christian.
And in the midst of that nonsense we have Bernard of Clairvaux and Brother Lawrence. It is one reason that I have confidence that Biblical Christianity will survive the luke-warm, watered-down version that is so common in churches today. Elijah had the same worry and God reassured him,
(1 Kings 19:18 KJV) Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.I hope there will be more than seven thousand in America. I hope I am counted among them.
Cornwell, Bernard. The Flame Bearer. New York: Harper, 2016.
homo unius libri