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History and Theology

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HISTHEOL (History and Theology)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-08-31

"""History and Theology: the creation of disinterested scholarship from dogmatic stalemate (ca. 1525-1675)"" has explored the idea that one of the unexpected consequences of religious polemic was the growth of disinterested scholarship. This, in turn, led to increased tolerance of religious differences. This development was demonstrated by means of detailed research into the working methods of the authors of a number of works of history writing. When the strict rules and staunchly held positions of the rival confessional antagonists had become known and established, scholars were able to pursue their research relatively freely within this framework and even across confessional boundaries. After the first fifty years of Reformation polemic, Protestantism had become established in the Holy Roman Empire and had definitely been eliminated from the Italian Peninsula. Through a comparative study it has been shown that authors began to allow for diversity and error to become part of their narratives. The use of historical evidence helped authors from both sides to arrive at this critical insight. Change and diversity could now be described as historical facts rather than as simply polemical weapons in a battle of the books. The authors covered in the research for this projects date from the 1517 (the beginning of Luther’s polemical activity) until 1667 (death of Sforza Pallavicino). The development which has emerged from this research prepared the way for the religious tolerance championed by several influential Church histories of the Enlightenment. As originally planned, Enlightenment authors were not included in the project. The project focused initially on two cultural zones: England and the Italian peninsula. During the course of the project, the scope of research was enlarged even further so that German scholars were also included and analysed. In this way a comparative study of a carefully selected number of key scholars from rival confessions and scholarly traditions could be conducted. By means of a wide and effective dissemination strategy (panel discussions, public exhibitions, podcasts, blog, social media), this project has had an impact on Europe’s troubled multi-faith society of the early twenty-first century. It has provided and disseminated a new historical narrative, adding intellectual foundations to the moral desirability for mutual recognition and appreciation of diversity in religious debate."
"""History and Theology: the creation of disinterested scholarship from dogmatic stalemate (ca. 1525-1675)"" is enjoying a high degree of visibility. In addition to publishing several articles that will contribute towards a monograph, the fellow has organised (in conjunction with the ‘scientist-in-charge’ Professor Ditchfield) an international colloquium provisionally entitled “The Uses of History in Early Modern Religious Polemics” (June 2017). It was located at York University. York’s position as seat of one of only two archbishoprics in the Church of England, combined with the proximity of York Minster library and related educational infrastructure run by the Minster for all age groups, have provided a strong basis for “outreach activities” to enhance engagement with the project not only among fellow academics but also by the wider public. These have included podcasts, public lectures, two book exhibitions, and a blog."
"York’s position as seat of one of only two archbishoprics in the Church of England, combined with the proximity of York Minster library and related educational infrastructure run by the Minster for all age groups, have provided a strong basis for “outreach activities” to enhance engagement with the project not only among fellow academics but also by the wider public. These have included podcasts, public lectures, two book exhibitions, and a blog. The success of these activities has succeeded expectations on all accounts. More than 1,000 unique visitors have visited the digital interactive exhibitions, for example, and the project page on Twitter has over 7,000 followers. The conference papers will be published as a special issue of a prestigious peer-reviewed journal, ""Renaissance Studies""."
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