Crime and Sin in Early Medieval England

Hannah Purtymun

Vol. 3, No. 1

Summer 2021

Pages: 169-180

Crime and Sin in Early Medieval England

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no1.08

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Hannah Purtymun, England, Medieval, Sin, Crime, Penitential, Ireland, Law Codes, Homicide

Early medieval society had complex views of crime and sin. In early medieval English society, concepts of crime and sin overlapped to a certain extant in terms of what “wrongs” were under either religious or secular jurisdiction, or which fell under both. An in-depth analysis of the definition of crime versus sin in early medieval English society has not yet been undertaken, a feat that is attempted in this article in the context of one of the worst crimes and sins: homicide. It is found that a crime can be defined as any act that is performed against the protection of the king, while a sin is any action that falls within the confines of the capital sins or can be considered either an affront to God or detrimental to the soul.

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