Religious interpretations of epidemics

Dossier “Religion and conspiracy theories in the time of the corona epidemic”

The first part raises the question of how religious communities and their representatives interpret the epidemic, what patterns of interpretation they use, how these patterns differ from earlier religious and theological interpretations of pandemics, and how diverse religious interpretations are depending on the socio-historical context and religious self-understanding. Looking at the major churches in Germany, for example, we notice how carefully they formulate their interpretations of the crisis. But not all religious actors are so careful and sensitive, with some also seeing the crisis as an opportunity to proclaim their message loudly.

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History does not repeat itself? How an early modern epidemic led to conspiracy theories and religious punishment fantasies. By historian PD Dr. André Krischer

It was hard to believe: The pandemic was approaching at an alarming rate, and the casualty figures from France sounded frightening. The government, advised by its experts, had therefore decided on extensive lockdown and quarantine measures. They were even prepared to accept massive economic losses and almost bring trade to a standstill if this was the only way to prevent infections. And despite all these measures that seemed so rational to the government and its experts, there were people who told incredible stories about them: Infected people were either confined to their homes, or forcibly moved to quarantine centers. Family ties should not play a role in separating the healthy from the sick. If necessary, the military should also be deployed inside and prevent any freedom of movement. It was therefore clear what this was all about: The establishment of arbitrary rule. More