(C2-11) Beyond the Centres: Religion and Enlightenment Based on the Examples of Islam and of Greek and Arabic Christianity in South-Eastern Europe and the Levant

The project deals with the investigation of the enlightenment movements in South-Eastern Europe and the Levant as a paradigm of a cultural transfer heavily involving religions, particularly Christianity and Islam. In this way, the question is to be answered as to what extent Enlightenment processes are an interreligious phenomenon and may be comprehended as a transfer between religions.

The starting point for this approach is the observation that Enlightenment does not necessarily have to be opposed to religion. It was already several years ago that the close connection of British Enlightenment to religion and to the Protestant tradition on the Continent was identified in research. In contrast to its French counterpart, British Enlightenment was not a matter of estranged, anticlerical philosophes, but a movement consisting of academics, people of the church and politically involved intellectuals. In South-Eastern Europe and the Levant, too, Enlightenment ideas were propagated primarily by missionaries, people of the church and religious scholars. This not only conveyed a world view challenging traditional values, it also provoked a lively debate about religion.

The Project is part of interconnecting platform F Transcultural Entanglements and coordinated project group Exchange among and between ‘world religions’: appropriation – transformation – demarcation.