As recent research has shown, the religious history of the medieval centuries was deeply shaped by interreligious encounter and transcultural entanglements acrosse the Euro-Mediterranean continuum. As the project aims to show, there were moreover intense debates about religious diversity and difference within Latin Christianity, which have not yet been connected to recent attempts to re-write the history of religious diversity across the centuries. This gap in research stabilizes the outdated but still popular assumption of modern social sciences that medieval Christianity was a 'unified culture' (Ernst Troeltsch) and largely lacked religious plurality (Peter E. Berger). To rectify this, the project will study the forms and dynamics of intra-Christian debates and connect them to other forms of constituting religious difference in pre-modern Europe.
To this aim, the project will bridge different and so far largely separate research fields dealing with the construction of difference in interreligious polemics (especially Christian depictions of Jews and Muslism) and intra-christian polemics (especially those resulting from conflicts between monastic and mendicant orders, lay and clerical groups). By engaging in interdisciplinary cooperations and reviewing normative, polemical, historiographical and satirical or literary sources, it aims to provide a better description of cross-references and long-term developments.