Given their stereotypical and manipulative nature, medieval religious polemics are often considered problematical as sources. But polemics also present various avenues of investigation. Frequently, polemical texts connected the realms of written and oral as well as learned and unlearned audiences. The intrinsically comparative nature of polemics often went beyond simple ‘othering’ to enable complex (albeit negative) views of religious diversity. As there was no fixed genre called ‚polemics’ in the Middle Ages, polemical discourses could draw on all kinds of communicative strategies.
The two sessions at IMC 2016 consciously cut across inter-religious and intra-Christian polemics. Five papers juxtapose texts attacking different types of opponents – principally heretics, Franciscan friars, and Jews. They hope to explore the limits and potentials of polemical techniques and the relation of arguments and audiences.
Anyone interested in medieval religious polemics is welcome to attend, discuss, or comment below.
Sponsor: Research project ‘Diversitas religionum: 13th-Century Foundations of European Discourses of Religious Diversity’, WWU Münster.
Organiser Sita Steckel, Historisches Seminar, WWU Münster
Session 1007 – Religious Polemics Compared, I: Inside the Polemicist’s Workshop
Wednesday 6 July 2016: 09.00-10.30
Moderator/Chair: Sita Steckel
Paper 1007-a: From Anti-Heretical Polemics to Vernacular Catechism: Ulrich von Pottenstein’s Translation of Petrus Zwicker’s Anti-Waldensian Treatise
Reima Välimäki, Department of Cultural History / Turku Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Studies (TUCEMEMS), University of Turku
Paper 1007-b: Magistra Magistrorum: Hildegard of Bingen’s Polemical Discourse on False Teaching
Andra-Nicoleta Alexiu, Historisches Seminar, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Paper 1007-c: The Text as Heretic: Polemical Techniques and the Speculum Simplicium Animarum
Justine Trombley, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, University of Toronto
Session 1107 – Religious Polemics Compared, II: Polemics between Rhetoric and Politics
Wednesday 6 July 2016: 11.15-12.45
Moderator/Chair: Emilia Jamroziak, Forschungsstelle für Vergleichende Ordensgeschichte (FOVOG), Technische Universität Dresden / Institute for Medieval Studies / School of History, University of Leeds
Paper 1107-a: Good and Bad Franciscans: The Construction of Mendicant Identity in Polemical Discourse
Melanie Brunner, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 1107-b: ‘To eradicate their perfidy’: Anti-Jewish Sentiment in Everyday Jewish-Christian Business Transactions
Birgit Wiedl, Institute for Jewish History in Austria, St. Pölten
Sita Steckel, WWU Münster