Why are there difficulties in the coexistence of religions?

Lecture Series on the Integration of Religious Plurality from the Ancient World to the Present

News Rlv 2010 11 270

Detail of the lecture series’ poster 

The coexistence of believers of different religions takes centre stage in the next lecture series of the cluster of excellence “Religion and Politics”. Open to the public, the series runs under the title of “Integration of Religious Plurality from the Ancient World to the Present”. As of 26 October, fifteen lectures will shed light on the handling of religious pluralism from the Old-Testament Orient to the Roman Empire, pre-modern China and India, medieval and early modern Europe to the present. “Looking at other ages and cultures helps understand why there can be difficulties if believers of different religions live side by side in one and the same society”, explains historian Prof. Dr. Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, who organised the series.

Today’s religious pluralism seems to pose a problem to many, even though the modern separation of church and state in fact turned religion into a private matter protected by law, says the scholar. Seen from a historic angle, it was actually a rare exception that all members of a political community shared the same belief and practiced the same cult. “Religious diversity is the rule.”

According to the historian, it depends on many factors whether this plurality is perceived as a problem, whether conflicts arise in everyday life, and whether and how these conflicts are solved. Such factors are, for example, what kind of every-day behaviour religions expect from their followers, which economic and social status their members have, if they belong to the majority or to the minority of the respective society, and what type of relation religions have to the political regime.

Among the speakers of the lecture series are historians, theologians, judaists, religious scholars, ethnologists, jurists and sociologists, with the Frankfurt writer and orientalist Navid Kermani also taking the lectern. Lectures will be held on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. (6:15 p.m. sharp) at lecture theatre F2 of the Fürstenberghaus, Domplatz 20-22. The series introduces the cluster of excellence’s thematic pillar of “Integrative Procedures”, one in four main focuses of the research association. The opener on 26 October will be Prof. Dr. Stollberg-Rilinger, considering the question: “After the Peace of Westphalia – How well did the denominational groups in the Holy Roman Empire get along?” The lecture forms part of the “Dialoge zum Frieden” (dialogues on peace) series of the city of Münster. (vvm)


Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, Münster After the Peace of Westphalia – How well did the denominational groups in the Holy Roman Empire get along? (This lecture forms part of the “Dialoge zum Frieden” [dialogues on peace] series of the city of Münster.)

Reinhard Achenbach, Münster
Between Moses and Zarathustra. On the social situation of the Jews in ancient Persian Empire

Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Münster
Hindu-Buddhist relations in the past and present

Michael Borgolte, Berlin
Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Middle Ages


Helene Basu, Münster

Religious plurality in Indian regional kingdoms (16th to 20th century): Hindu kings, Muslim saints and Jain ascetics
Detlef Pollack, Münster The acceptance of religious plurality today. Selected European countries compared

Hubert Seiwert, Leipzig
Religion and the State in Pre-Modern China

Olaf Blaschke, Trier
Denominational coexistence and conflict during the time of the Kulturkampf

Angelos Chaniotis, Oxford
Beyond the market of religions. Cult communities as “emotional communities” in the Roman east

Etienne François, Berlin
Together within and despite segregation: Catholics and Protestants in the paritarian imperial cities (17th to 18th century)

Monika Wohlrab-Sahr, Leipzig
Secularity and religious plurality: Approximating fault lines of the present

Janbernd Oebbecke, Münster
Islamic religious education and the integration of Islam in Germany

Navid Kermani, Frankfurt am Main
Germans and Muslims. On understanding and misunderstanding

Regina Grundmann, Münster
The friendship between Mendelssohn and Lessing – an example for the cooperation of Jews and Christians in Germany’s educated middle-class?

Rainer Forst, Frankfurt/Main
Tolerance and Integration. Learning the lessons of the past for the present

Winter semester 2010-2011
Tuesday, 6-8 p.m.
Lecture theatre F2 at Fürstenberghaus
Domplatz 20-22
48143 Münster