(B2-15) Conversion in the Middle Ages: On the Ordering Function of a Cultural Narrative

The project investigates the phenomenal domain of conversion in the Middle Ages from a cultural historical perspective. In view of Paul’s conversion or of Augustine’s conversion experience, which reflect a biographical pattern that claimed normativity in the Middle Ages, conversion is understood to be a radicalisation figure which often appears as a medially controlled effect of precipitousness – as in, for example, the paradigmatic reading experience of Augustine. It finds expression (indeed also as a collective phenomenon) as an accelerated turnaround within one’s own religio-cultural systems, or as a conversion from one religion/denomination to another. Obviously, conversion accounts are constitutive for the different manifestations of all conversions in the religious field of discourse. This interrelation may even be exaggerated to the effect that there is no conversion without a conversion account. Conversion as a narrative pattern and conversion as a cultural pattern are inextricably linked. In this respect, a cultural narrative spanning discourses and practices becomes manifest in them.

Subproject: Between heaven and earth. The crossing of boundaries in bible epic texts about the assumption of Mary (Susanne Spreckelmeier, M.A.).

The dissertation project analyses various phenomena of the crossing of boundaries in bible epic texts on the assumption of Mary into heaven and, in doing so, explores the questions as to which factors influence the boundaries of what can be said in the text and as to which forms of functionalisation of boundaries are present. Intertextual semantics and narrative strategies of reversion are relevant in the context of this project, as are the questions regarding the validity claims of the secular and the spiritual in the medieval genre of the bible epic.

The Project is part of interconnecting platform H Cultural Ambiguity and coordinated project group Figurations of the religious and the political.