Talk:Saint Boniface

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Name change[edit]

Proposal to change article name from saint Boniface to Boniface in line with general approach. Contaldo80 (talk) 21:07, 5 June 2020 (UTC)[]


Murder or execution[edit]

The view that Bonifatius was murdered by an angry mob is distinctly christian and relies on the christian side of the story.

How is it "distinctly Christian"? What makes it "distinctly Christian?"

As we know from the hagiography, he was known for disrupting germannic religious ceremonies and the article itself mentions the cutting down of sacred trees. It is reasonable to assume, and in fact the hagiography tells us so, he did pretty much the same in Fryslân. However, the Lex Frisiorum and Kestigia, which has survived, explicitly states that this is a capital offence, so the view that he was murdered may be allright from a christian perspective, but it's simply a lawfull execution from a 8th century Frisian view. In the interest of NPOV, this deserves a mention. Dura lex sed lex, after all. Kleuske 10:19, 3 September 2006 (UTC)[]


On people who can be killed without a fine:

The duellist, who is killed in combat; and the adulterer (note V.1a) and he who is caught in a ditch, which he is digging around [to search through?] the house of another; and he who attempts to set fire to the house of another, who has the torch in his hand, while the flames reach the roof or wall of the house; he who demolishes a shrine; and the child expelled from the womb that is strangled [or: killed without nutrition] by the mother. (note V.1b)


On the honour of the temple:

If anyone breaks into a shrine and steals sacred items from there, he shall be taken to the sea, and on the sand, which will be covered by the flood, his ears will be cleft, and he will be castrated and sacrified to the god, whose temple he dishonoured.

A historian has done some investigation on this subject, unfortunately it's written in Dutch.

Summary: The death of Bonifatius is NOT a murder. He was definately seeking his death by breaking all the laws and rules in Frisia Magna. The fact that it was his second attempt to baptise in Frisia, he should have known the rules. His barbaric way of destroying holy temples to prove that his God was the only one, caused his dead.
Hereby some information on the historian, he works at the univ of Leiden (this is in English):

The article that is now in the Engish version of Wikipedia is purely based on one source, written down 150-200 after the dead of Bonifatius. This author is Willibald. The purpose of the fairy-tale written by Willibald was to get Bonifatius to the level of a saint, and to blackmail a complete society for a murder. The church extracted gold and money from the Frisians as compensation for this murder. It is one of the reasons why the prosperity of this part of the world came to a halt. Many Frisians emigrated to England. Dumfries is founded by Frisians Cheers, Bornestera 06:02, 7 September 2006 (UTC)[]
Dumries is a brythonic name that has nothing to do with frisians. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:32, 5 September 2013 (UTC)[]
The killing may have had a perfectly legal rationale from the Frisian perspective, and that is what Hans Mol is arguing in the (Dutch) artilce. That he says so doesn't mean it was a justified kill--and that Willibald praises Boniface doesn't mean the saint was justified in doing what he did. That the recompensation (well, there wasn't a recompensation--a Christian army simply came in and plundered, as Willibald testifies) led to Frisian poverty is unlikely, as unlikely as a Frisian origin for Dumfries, as far as I know. Drmies (talk) 00:28, 9 December 2008 (UTC)[]
By the by, the Life of Saint Boniface by Willibald was recorded likely between 763 and 765, no more than 11 years after Boniface's death. Additionally, I highly doubt that the single purpose of the Life is to rise Boniface to the level of sainthood. More likely it had something to do with the contemporary church's need for order and its need to cement its ties with the Carolingian monarchy. Strophios (talk) 08:07, 3 November 2009 (UTC)[]

Apparently Kleuske has never read a word written by Willibald about Boniface, otherwise he would know that Boniface was not killed for destroying any shrines in Frisia (although Willibald mentions that he destroyed pagan idols and built churches in their place instead), but that his murderers were out for sheer plunder and booty. Willibald also says that Boniface had summoned the converts in the area around present-day Dokkum to come to him for confirmation - a peaceful act! It is true he cut down this oak tree, but that was in what today is Hesse. This was an act of barbarism in the eyes of the pagans living there, but quite a few of the spectators were Christians, including the garrison of a Frankish fortress nor far away. Altogether this means that there is no clear-cut case against Boniface.

And if you read the Frisian law carefully you may find this: Siems (1980, p 348) observes that the temple breakers article is not really a legal rule. The phrasing is rather narrative: it says how people acted, but it is not a strict order. Furthermore, it has been suggested that this ancient pagan custom has been included in the Lex to establish that the new Christian churches would enjoy the same protection as, before, the pagan temples. - the link is taken from the lemma -- (talk) 02:07, 25 February 2010 (UTC) (sorry I don't have an account here).[]

I'm amazed anyone can get this upset over an event that happend more than a thousand years ago to which they were not a party to. How's about you get upset over some things that've happened in German history more recently? BTW, execution and murder are the SAME if you're on the receiving end.

Murder and execution are a different thing in legal matters and according to the [Lex Frisionum] he would have been executed for the destruction of holy sites. The whole article goes way too easy on someone who took a large group of armed men into a land to destroy their culture and religion. If someone now would blow up Saint Peter's or the al-Masjid al-Haram to show "that god" is powerless to stop him... how would you like him to be revered to later other then as a terrorist? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 29 September 2013 (UTC)[]

First European[edit]

"He is regarded as the First European". What nonsense. By whom? Only reference is to the St Boniface website which says he is "described as The First European" but gives no source (and, indeed, none of the links work). Deleted this statement. Emeraude 16:43, 25 March 2007 (UTC)[]

That claim is just absurd. Europe and Europeans existed before. Only the predominant religion changed from time to time.--Bk1 168 (talk) 21:54, 23 December 2020 (UTC)[]

First Grammar[edit]

The article reads "He (Boniface) wrote the first Latin grammar produced in England." Does his predate Tatwine's? Tatwine was a contemporary, and was probably older than Boniface. So far as I know, there is no solid date for either one' grammar, so it would seem impossible to say which one was first. Boniface's was the first anywhere to include full conjugations of of all the classes of verbs. Dsmdgold (talk) 03:31, 28 May 2009 (UTC)[]

  • I agree--I don't think we have firm evidence (and it seems that the importance of his grammar is highly overrated, but that's another matter) I have removed the claim. Thanks, Drmies (talk) 21:24, 14 December 2010 (UTC)[]


The article reads as if it is certain that Boniface's birthplace was Crediton. Although this has been asserted by modern writers it is by no means certain from his "Life". Around 672 the area was possibly still in British hands and Boniface had to obtain king Ine's sanction to travel. Adresia (talk) 08:20, 4 September 2009 (UTC)[]

  • There isn't a hint of evidence in the vitae that such permission was necessary. The birthplace is of course a guess, just as Nursling is--but it's what scholars agree on as most likely correct. Drmies (talk) 04:15, 20 May 2010 (UTC)[]

I've lightly edited the first paragraph to remove the redundant second reference to Wessex. I've also changed 'possibly' to 'probably' as per Drmies comments about academic consensus. Also 'possibly' seems the wrong word to use in the context of someone's birth, which would definitely have to have happened somewhere. Blakkandekka (talk) 14:05, 15 November 2010 (UTC)[]

Theologians maybe, but I have yet to see a historian care about Boniface after the 19th century, and quite sincerely theologians are the last people I expect historical insight from. We know from welsh genealogies that the area around the Parrett was still held by the Britons in the 7th century (the local petty kings were related to the kings of Pengwern). Based on Draper's Dorset (2003), the conquest of Dorset was barely finished in the 7th century. The Exeter area is unlikely to have fallen before the 8th based on the time of diocese charters; the city was still majority breton by the 10th. Peonnum and Longphort, both in east Somerset, were in the 650s and 710s respectively (Peonnum's likely location is so far east it's almost Wiltshire). There is no way Crediton was in any way part of Wessex before that point. (talk) 04:24, 5 September 2013 (UTC)[]
For the sake of another point against; the ASC states that Peonnum pushed the border to the Parrett ("as far as the Parrett" in modern english translations). (talk) 14:56, 2 April 2014 (UTC)[]

"Legend" of the Christmas Tree?[edit]

The line at the end of the section Legends is not properly cited: "This account is completely legendary (and probably later than the Middle Ages) and has no credible authority in any of the vitae or later biographies."

There needs to be a reference to this statement before it can be considered fact. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nwadlit (talkcontribs) 06:32, 4 December 2010 (UTC)[]

  • The same applies, more strongly so, to the claim that he invented the Christmas tree. Drmies (talk) 20:40, 14 December 2010 (UTC)[]
Surely the fact that Christmas trees didn't appear until | about 1000 years after his time is a good indication? (talk) 06:01, 11 December 2018 (UTC)[]


I took a history class where the professor said that Boniface was very good friends with a woman named "Leafgyld" and in fact asked to be buried next to her, but of course, never was. Is this true? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:00, 14 February 2011 (UTC)[]

  • Your professor was probably thinking of Saint Leoba. The "of course" is not automatic--in those days, there was a bit less gendering among people belonging to religious houses than later. Drmies (talk) 20:47, 24 June 2011 (UTC)[]

Killed a man?[edit]

It says that Boniface killed a man just before going on his missionary expedition to Frisia. I can find no source to this that isn't a copy of the Wikipedia page, if someone could please confirm this with an actual source or remove it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:58, 20 March 2011 (UTC)[]

  • Where does it say that? Drmies (talk) 20:15, 24 June 2011 (UTC)[]

Please Provide More Objectivity.[edit]

I would request that this article be reviewed for moderate bias:

"According to the vitae Boniface felled the Donar Oak, Latinized by Willibald as "Jupiter's oak," near the present-day town of Fritzlar in northern Hesse. According to his early biographer Willibald, Boniface started to chop the oak down, when suddenly a great wind, as if by miracle, blew the ancient oak over. When the god did not strike him down, the people were amazed and converted to Christianity. He built a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter from its wood at the site[13]--the chapel was the beginning of the monastery in Fritzlar. This account from the vita is stylized to portray Boniface as a singular character who alone acts to root out paganism. Lutz von Padberg and others point out that what the vitae leave out is that the action was most likely well-prepared and widely publicized in advance for maximum effect, and that Boniface had little reason to fear for his personal safety since the Frankish fortified settlement of Büraburg was nearby.[14] According to Willibald, Boniface later had a church with an attached monastery built in Fritzlar,[15] on the site of the previously built chapel, according to tradition.[16]"

Maybe use more objective language from "Lutz von Padberg" on? Objective language was used so well in the first half of the paragraph, showing what Catholic Church teaching believes, without implying that Wikipedia itself believes it. But reading the second half of the paragraph, I would come to the conclusion that Wikipedia is actually favoring this angle of the story, whereas they should remain balanced and removed, as an encyclopedia should.

Such modifiers that could help in improving this language might be "according," such as is done in the first half of the paragraph:

"According to Lutz von Padberg"

or, if you don't want to use the same word too often, you could add variety with:

"Lutz von Padberg and others believe that the vitae left out was that..."

"Point out" is too preferential & conclusive. It makes it sound like what they have pointed out is true simply because they have "pointed it out."

And again, there is no modifier. Maybe something like:

"Lutz von Padverg and others believe that what the vitae might have left out is that the..."

Please just persevere as you always do to remain objective. Every time bias is found, its troubling for those who want to give Wikipedia a chance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:30, 19 October 2012 (UTC)[]

  • Sorry (better late than never...) but I don't see that at all. "Point out" is a problem? "Might" is a modifier that tackles what you suggest--but that the vita does not include this information is a fact, and that there was an armed guard nearby appears to be an historical fact. Drmies (talk) 01:23, 12 January 2014 (UTC)[]

English pronunciation[edit]

The lead could benefit from a phonetic spelling or IPA of Boniface's name in English for non-natives. Is it pronounced like "bonny face"? Or is it closer to Latin/Italian/Romance, as something akin to "bawny faw-chay"? -- (talk) 14:50, 10 June 2013 (UTC)[]

Requested move 08 January 2014[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. There is a clear consensus, that "Boniface" alone isn't enough; and a rough consensus that "Boniface of Mainz" isn't a good alternative. Armbrust The Homunculus 14:56, 15 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Saint BonifaceBoniface – According to WP:NCCL, "Saints go by their most common English name, minus the word 'Saint', if such a title is available and the saint is the primary topic for that name." Boniface already redirects here. Srnec (talk) 12:54, 8 January 2014 (UTC)[]


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Support (for now). "Saint" clearly has to go. But I am not sure plain "Boniface" is enough. I have a little trepidation on the lack of disambiguation. I'd be more comfortable with "Boniface of Mainz". Walrasiad (talk) 03:33, 9 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • Oppose; the title "Saint" is widely enough used for disambiguation that I don't see any reason to slavishly avoid it if it's necessary to make the name recognizable. Powers T 13:23, 9 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • Oppose IMO WP:COMMONNAME trumps the quoted naming convention in this instance, as well as acting as a form of natural disambiguation from related terms (e.g. Google's top hit for "Boniface" for me is an engineering firm of that name). benmoore 00:23, 11 January 2014 (UTC)[]
    • For me Google's top his is this page. The saint comes out on top on Duck Duck Go as well. Srnec (talk) 04:52, 12 January 2014 (UTC)[]
      • Sure, but Google is not the determining agent here. In Google Books, our Boniface is not the first one, and it's a bit Anglocentric to put this Boniface on top, over the other saints and the popes. Drmies (talk) 05:35, 12 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • Oppose per Ben Moore, Powers and Walrasiad - "Boniface of Mainz" is not very usual in English and not an option. We should stick with WP:COMMONNAME. Johnbod (talk) 03:39, 11 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • Oppose, in agreement with Johnbod. "Boniface of Mainz" is not a good alternative. Drmies (talk) 01:19, 12 January 2014 (UTC)[]
    • I looked at this again, and (though I'm a pretty die-hard Boniface fan myself) there are just way too many Bonifaces for us to make the case that this is the one, over the handful of popes for instance. Common sense, if nothing else, should dictate that Boniface should be a dab page: this edit seems to miss the point entirely. Drmies (talk) 03:53, 12 January 2014 (UTC)[]
      • I requested this move as uncontroversial and it was done. A user subsequently reverted it citing a guideline that says the opposite of what he thinks it does. So I opened this request citing the guideline correctly. That is why it is now impossible to see who first made Boniface redirect here and when (unless you are an administrator with access to the deleted page's history). Srnec (talk) 04:52, 12 January 2014 (UTC)[]
  • Strong support as per WP:CONCISE as well as per nomination. Red Slash 02:25, 12 January 2014 (UTC)[]


Any additional comments:
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Saint Boniface[edit]

        Saint Boniface (Latin: Bonifatius) (c. 675? – 5 June 754), born Winfrid, Wynfrith, or Wynfryth in the kingdom of Wessex, probably at Crediton, was an Anglo-Saxon missionary who propagated Christianity in the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He is the patron saint of Germany, the first archbishop of Mainz and the "Apostle of the Germans". He was killed in Frisia in 754, along with 52 others. His remains were returned to Fulda, where they rest in a sarcophagus which became a site of pilgrimage. Facts about Boniface's life and death as well as his work became widely known, since there is a wealth of material available—a number of vitae, especially the near-contemporary Vita Bonifatii auctore Willibaldi, and legal documents, possibly some sermons, and above all his correspondence.

Norman F. Cantor notes the three roles Boniface played that made him "one of the truly outstanding creators of the first Europe, as the apostle of Germany, the reformer of the Frankish church, and the chief fomentor of the alliance between the papacy and the Carolingian family."[1] Through his efforts to reorganize and regulate the church of the Franks, he helped shape Western Christianity, and many of the dioceses he proposed remain until today. After his martyrdom, he was quickly hailed as a saint in Fulda and other areas in Germany and in England. His cult is still notably strong today. Boniface is celebrated (and criticized)[2] as a missionary; he is regarded as a unifier of Europe, and he is seen (mainly by Catholics) as a German national figure. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:16, 29 January 2014 (UTC)[]

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Saint Boniface. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

This message was posted before February 2018. After February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 06:27, 2 December 2017 (UTC)[]


I miss a section on criticism.--Bk1 168 (talk) 21:55, 23 December 2020 (UTC)[]