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Waiting for the End of the World

European Dimensions, 950–1200

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Tsvetelin Stepanov

The French president Charles de Gaulle spoke of a Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals”. Europe was spatially formed with these topographic parameters from the late 10th century onwards, with the massive Christianization of its inhabitants. At that time, however, all three monotheistic religions already had a steady presence there. Could such a macro-space be thought-and-narrated from a macro-perspective, in view of its medieval past? This has already been done through common ʻdenominatorsʻ such as the Migration Period, wars, trade, spread of Christianity. Could it also be seen through a common religious-philosophical and spiritual phenomenon – the Anticipation of the End of the world among Christians, Muslims, and Jews? This book gives a positive answer to the last question.

Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam

Coercion and Faith in Premodern Iberia and Beyond

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Edited by Mercedes García-Arenal and Yonatan Glazer-Eytan

Focusing on the Iberian Peninsula but examining related European and Mediterranean contexts as well, Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam traces how Christians, Jews, and Muslims grappled with the contradictory phenomenon of faith brought about by constraint and compulsion. Forced conversion brought into sharp relief the tensions among the accepted notion of faith as a voluntary act, the desire to maintain “pure” communities, and the universal truth claims of radical monotheism. Offering a comparative view of an important yet insufficiently studied phenomenon in the history of religions, this collection of essays explores the ways in which religion and violence reshaped these three religions and the ways we understand them today.

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Montserrat Piera

This book is devoted to medieval Iberian women, readers and writers. Focusing on the stories and texts women heard, visually experienced or read, and the stories that they rewrote, the work explores women’s experiences and cultural practices and their efforts to make sense of their place within their familial networks and communities. The study is based on two methodological and interpretive threads: a new paradigm to represent premodern reading and, a study of women’s writing, or, more precisely, women’s textualities, as a process of creating words but also acts, social practices, emotions and, ultimately, affectus, understood here as the embodiment of the ability to affect and be affected.

The ʿAbbasid and Carolingian Empires

Comparative Studies in Civilizational Formation

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Edited by D.G. Tor

Circa AD 750, both the Islamic world and western Europe underwent political revolutions; these raised to power, respectively, the ʿAbbasid and Carolingian dynasties. The eras thus inaugurated were similar not only in their chronology, but also in the foundational role each played in its respective civilization, forming and shaping enduring religious, cultural, and societal institutions.
The ʿAbbāsid and Carolingian Empires: Studies in Civilizational Formation, is the first collected volume ever dedicated specifically to comparative Carolingian-ʿAbbasid history. In it, editor D.G. Tor brings together essays from some of the leading historians in order to elucidate some of the parallel developments in each of these civilizations, many of which persisted not only throughout the Middle Ages, but to the present day.

Contributors are: Michael Cook, Jennifer R. Davis, Robert Gleave, Eric J. Goldberg, Minoru Inaba, Jürgen Paul, Walter Pohl, D.G. Tor and Ian Wood.

The Religious Concordance

Nicholas of Cusa and Christian-Muslim Dialogue

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Joshua Hollmann

In The Religious Concordance: Nicholas of Cusa and Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Joshua Hollmann examines Nicholas of Cusa’s unique Christocentric approach to Islam. While many late medieval Christians responded to the fall of Constantinople with polemic, Nicholas of Cusa wrote a peaceful dialogue ( De pace fidei) between Christians and Muslims as synthesis of religious concordance through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Nicholas of Cusa’s Christ-centered dialogue with Muslims sheds further light on his broader Christ centered theology over his entire career as philosopher and theologian. Drawing upon Nicholas of Cusa’s philosophical foundations for religious dialogue and peace, Joshua Hollmann convincingly proves that Cusa constructively understands religious diversity through the concordance of religion as centred in Christ.

Locating Religions

Contact, Diversity, and Translocality

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Edited by Reinhold Glei and Nikolas Jaspert

This collection of articles is an innovative contribution to religious studies, because it picks up concepts developed in the wake of the so-called “spatial turn”. Religions are always located in a certain cultural and spatial environment, but often tend to locate (or translocate) themselves beyond that original setting. Also, many religious traditions are not only tied to or associated with the area its respective adherent live in, but are in fact “bi-local” or even “multi-local”, as they closely relate to various spatial centers or plains at once. This spatial diversity inherent to many religions is a corollary to religious diversity or plurality that merits in-depth research. The articles in this volume present important findings from a series of settings within and between Asia and Europe

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Edited by Eirik Hovden, Christina Lutter and Walter Pohl

This volume explores some of the many different meanings of community across medieval Eurasia. How did the three ‘universal’ religions, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, frame the emergence of various types of community under their sway? The studies assembled here in thematic clusters address the terminology of community; genealogies; urban communities; and monasteries or ‘enclaves of learning’: in particular in early medieval Europe, medieval South Arabia and Tibet, and late medieval Central Europe and Dalmatia. It includes work by medieval historians, social anthropologists, and Asian Studies scholars. The volume present the results of in-depth comparative research from the Visions of Community project in Vienna, and of a dialogue with guests, offering new and exciting perspectives on the emerging field of comparative medieval history.
Contributors are (in order within the volume) Walter Pohl, Gerda Heydemann, Eirik Hovden, Johann Heiss, Rüdiger Lohlker, Elisabeth Gruber, Oliver Schmitt, Daniel Mahoney, Christian Opitz, Birgit Kellner, Rutger Kramer, Pascale Hugon, Christina Lutter, Diarmuid Ó Riain, Mathias Fermer, Steven Vanderputten, Jonathan Lyon and Andre Gingrich.

Abraham Bar Hiyya on Time, History, Exile and Redemption

An Analysis of Megillat ha-Megalleh

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Hannu Töyrylä

An analysis of Megillat ha-Megalleh by Abraham Bar Hiyya (12th c.) as a complete text in its historical and cultural context, showing that the work - written at a time when Jews increasingly came under Christian influence and dominance – presents a coherent argument for the continuing validity of the Jewish hope for redemption. In his argument, Bar Hiyya presents a view of history, the course of which was planted by God in creation, which runs inevitably towards the future redemption of the Jews. Bar Hiyya uses philosophical, scientific, biblical and astrological material to support his argument, and several times makes use of originally Christian ideas, which he inverts to suit his argument.

The Armenian Apocalyptic Tradition

A Comparative Perspective

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Edited by Kevork Bardakjian and Sergio La Porta

The Armenian Apocalyptic Tradition: A Comparative Perspective comprises a collection of essays on apocalyptic literature in the Armenian tradition. This collection is unprecedented in its subject and scope and employs a comparative approach that situates the Armenian apocalyptic tradition within a broader context. The topics in this volume include the role of apocalyptic literature and apocalypticism in the conversion of the Armenians to Christianity, apocalyptic ideology and holy war, the significance of the Book of Daniel in Armenian thought, the reception of the Apocalypse of Ps.-Methodius in Armenian, the role of apocalyptic literature in political ideologies, and the expression of apocalypticism in the visual arts.