In the History Channel’s new series on the Vikings there is an episode where the Vikings raid the Island of Lindisfarne, a small island off of England’s Northumbrian coast. The raid is thought to be the beginning of Viking adventures on England, Scotland, Ireland, France and just about everywhere else their longships could carry them.
In the episode the Viking leader, Ragnar, takes prisoner a Saxon monk by the name of Athelstan. Athelstan speaks the language of the northmen and that’s what probably saves his life. As the Vikings loot the monastery of its treasures (crosses, chalices, candle holders, etc, made from precious metals) Athelstan hides a book under his robes. Ragnar catches him and asks quizzically why the monk would save a book when saving a treasure would make more sense.
Athelstan replies to the effect that the book, is the Book of John from the Bible and it…
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