Religion as an Argument in Acts of Violence and the Shaping of Written Tradition during the Central European Middle Ages

Jörn R. Christophersen, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The paper examines phenomena of violence that affected those groups marked as religiously different (especially Jews and heretics). Previous research has rarely taken a pronounced interest in when and under what circumstances the framing as deviant took place. Moreover, we observe that the tradition was co-created by the protagonists in violent events. This is the case with the destruction of alleged heretical writings or the legal instruments, such as deeds of persecuted people. Furthermore, it also is the case when, for example, the representatives of the mendicant orders aggressively created hegemonic narratives. Using material from Central Europe and primarily from the 13th and early 14th centuries, this complex is explored in order to illuminate the nexus between violent events and the formation of written tradition. The approaches applied come from social history and open up to sociologically influenced research on violence. The results help to identify, more generally, patterns of information transmission during or after violent persecutions.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 6. Religion, Power, and Culture in European History