Prof. Dr. Annette Gerok-Reiter

"Religiöses Wissen im vormodernen Europa (800–1800)"

The Research training group pursues two objectives. Firstly, to establish the concept of “religious knowledge“ as an interdisciplinary research concept. Secondly, it aims to use this concept to describe the development of European knowledge society with its self-ascribed values of tolerance, secularity, rationality, as well as the differentiation of knowledge and education, legislation, politics, religion, the arts and literature.

Christianity understands itself as a religion based on revelation. Canonical texts usually assume knowledge of revelation to be intangible. It could only become a guiding principle for action by constituting meaningful forms of communication and practice. This is what the research training group understands by “religious knowledge”. Our research centres on the circumstances under which this religious knowledge was generated. The focus lies especially on the dynamic processes and the arenas of controversial negotiation that characterised its development in interdependence with revelation-based knowledge.

Central theses:

1. Societal change was not only a result of a perspective shift with regards to ideas. Rather, the very modes of transfer and transformation of religious knowledge were also – in fact, especially – crucial in the evolution of those philosophical approaches, differentiations and structures of argumentation which provided one of the foundations of modern society.

2. Within these complex processes of negotiation, ritual, annotative, aesthetic and empirical processes had an especially prominent role.

3. These processes of transformation also caused considerable interplay and the shift of demarcations between religious and other knowledge. Ultimately, this led to changes in the function of revelation-based knowledge as guiding principle for action.

Participating Disciplines at the Research training group

Archaeology, History (Medieval/Early Modern), German Studies (Medieval/Early Modern), Church History, Art History, Liturgical Studies, Protestant and Catholic Theology.

Spokespersons: Prof. Dr. Annette Gerok-Reiter, Prof. Dr. Volker Leppin