Meanings of Community across Medieval Eurasia

Comparative Approaches


Volume Editors: , , and
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.
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Eirik Hovden, Ph.D. (2012), is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Social Anthropology (ISA), Austrian Academy of Sciences. He works on Yemeni history in general and specific topics related to Zaydi history, Islamic law, endowments and local water management.
Christina Lutter, Ph.D. (1998), is Professor of Austrian History at the University of Vienna. Her research and publications concentrate on various aspects of Central European medieval and early modern cultural and gender history.
Walter Pohl, Ph.D. (1984), is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Vienna and director of the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy. He works on identity formation and other aspects of early medieval Europe.
Editors’ Preface ix
List of Contributors xi
Introduction: Meanings of Community in Medieval Eurasia 1
Walter Pohl
part 1
Addressing Community: Terms, Concepts and Meanings
1 People(s) of God? Biblical Exegesis and the Language of Community in
Late Antique and Early Medieval Europe 27
Gerda Heydemann
2 The Political Usage of Religious and Non-religious Terms for Community
in Medieval South Arabia: A Comparative Response to Gerda
Heydemann’s Chapter 61
Johann Heiss and Eirik Hovden
3 Jamāʿa vs. Mulk: Community-Centred and Ruler-Centred Visions of the
Islamic Community 78
Rüdiger Lohlker
part 2
Urban Communities and Non-Urban Sites
4 The City as Commune 99
Elisabeth Gruber
5 Addressing Community in Late Medieval Dalmatia 125
Oliver Schmitt
6 Urban Communities in Medieval South Arabia: A Comparative
Reflection 148
Johann Heiss, Eirik Hovden and Elisabeth Gruber
Part 3
Genealogies as Means for Constructing Communities
7 The Political Construction of a Tribal Genealogy from Early
Medieval South Arabia 165
Daniel Mahoney
8 Genealogical Representations of Monastic Communities in
Late Medieval Art 183
Christian Nikolaus Opitz
9 Genealogy into the Future: Glimpses from Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho’s
(1653–1705) Exposition of the Extended Dalai Lama Lineage 203
Birgit Kellner
10 Genealogy: A Comparative Perspective from the Early
Medieval West 232
Walter Pohl
Spiritual Communities: Texts, Sites and Interactions
11 Introduction: Spiritual Communities across Medieval Eurasia 273
Rutger Kramer
12 Enclaves of Learning, Religious and Intellectual Communities in
Tibet: The Monastery of gSang phu Neʼu thog in the Early Centuries of
the Later Diffusion of Buddhism 289
Pascale Hugon
13 Teaching Emperors: Transcending the Boundaries of Carolingian
Monastic Communities 309
Rutger Kramer
14 Competing Visions of Welfare in the Zaydi Community of Medieval
South Arabia 338
Eirik Hovden
15 Vita communis in Central European Monastic Landscapes 362
Christina Lutter
16 The Schottenklöster in the World: Identity, Independence and
Integration 388
Diarmuid Ó Riain
17 Among Teachers and Monastic Enclaves: An Inquiry into the Religious
Learning of Medieval Tibet 417
Mathias Fermer
18 Enclaves of Learning: A Commentary on the Papers in the Section on
“Spiritual Communities” 451
Steven Vanderputten
19 Response to the Chapters in “Spiritual Communities” Section 461
Jonathan R. Lyon
20 Medieval Eurasian Communities by Comparison: Methods, Concepts,
Insights 468
Andre Gingrich
Index 499
Scholars, students and anyone interested in Medieval, Global, Cultural and Comparative History, Asian Studies, Historical Anthropology and Sociology and Religious Studies and academic libraries in these fields.
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