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Sacralisation and Desacralisation

Sacralisation and Desacralisation

Societies across time and space regarded certain values, ideas, principles, scriptures, things, practices, or spaces as sacred – absolute, intangible, and of ultimate meaning. The sacred was assigned normative function and the capacity to structure and organize collective thinking and behaviour. Once we abandon understanding the sacred narrowly as the defining core of institutionalized religions (as religious phenomenologists long had it) and take it as a social construct and repeated discursive attribution, multiple sacralities become visible. These sacralities oblige and foster social coherence at the same time as they differentiate and even divide. Their claims are usually challenged, contested and at times completely disputed and desacralized.

Our research on a select number of case studies of (de)sacralizations in early modern and modern European history has shown that, amongst others, the sacred is characterized by the paradox constellation of the constant negotiation of what should be intangible and non-negotiable. Another recurring feature of the sacred is the strong link between difference and cohesion: Creating and obliging adherents is usually accompanied by the exclusion of non-believers. Finally, all processes of secularization and pluralization notwithstanding, European societies are still marked by the cultural grammar, the concepts, rituals, and articulations of the Christian sacred.

News from the research area:  

- Christliche Linksintellektuelle im Kontext: Politische, kulturelle, kirchlich-religiöse und transnationale Konstellationen in Ost- und Westdeutschland (1960–2000), conference organized by Benedikt Brunner in cooperation with Sarah Jäger and Gabriel Rolfes, Katholische Akademie des Bistums Dresden-Meißen, Dresden, October 5–7, 2023. Programme

- Dark Green Religion in Europe: History and Impacts, Dangers and Prospects, conference organized by Bernhard Gißibl, Kate Rigby und Bron Taylor, IEG Mainz, April 25–27 2024. CfP

Publications (in selection):

BOUWERS, Eveline G./Nash, David (Hg.): Demystifying the Sacred. Blasphemy and Violence from the French Revolution to Today, Berlin–Boston 2022. URL.

BRUGGMANN, Jana: Earthrise – Bildgeschichte einer Ikone; in: Kunstbulletin 2019 (2019), H. 9, S. 30–35. URL.

BRUNNER, Benedikt: Heilige Stimmen. Die kommunikative Funktion der Toten in protestantischen Funeralschriften der Frühen Neuzeit, in: Jahrbuch für Kommunikationsgeschichte 24 (2022), S. 29–55. URL.

BRUNNER, Benedikt: Heilige Räume?: Evangelischer Kirchenbau nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg – Einblicke und Implikationen; in: Kopp, Stefan/Werz, Joachim (Hgg.): Gebaute Ökumene: Botschaft und Auftrag für das 21. Jahrhundert?, Freiburg im Breisgau 2018 (Theologie im Dialog 24),  S. 335–348.

DINGEL, Irene/Tietz, Christiane (ed.): Säkularisierung und Religion: Europäische Wechselwirkungen; Göttingen 2019 (VIEG Beiheft 123). URL.

FEINDT, Gregor: New Industrial Men in a Global World. Transfers, Mobility, and Individual Agency of Jewish Employees of the Baťa Shoe Company, 1938–1940; in: Jahrbuch / Dubnow-Institut = Yearbook / Dubnow Institute 18 (2019) (2022),  S. 113–138. DOI.

GISSIBL, Bernhard/HOFMANN, Andrea (ed.): Multiple Sacralities. Rethinking Sacralizations in European History, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2023 (VIEG Beiheft 140; Ein Europa der Differenzen 3). URL (ab 09.10.2023)

HOFMANN, Andrea: Année charnière et jubilé de la Réformation. 1917 dans des prédications de guerre alsaciennes; in: Revue d’Histoire et de Philosophie religieuses 102 (2022), S. 289–308. URL.

PAULMANN, Johannes: Sakralisierung; in: Sabrow, Martin/Saupe, Achim (Hg.), Handbuch Historische Authentizität, Göttingen 2022, S. 435–444.

SING, Manfred (ed.): The Changing Landscapes of Cross-Faith Places and Practices, Bochum 2019 (Themenheft der Zeitschrift »Entangled Religions« 9), URL.

VOIGT-GOY, Christopher: Puritanismus und Naturwissenschaft: Cotton Mather; in: Pollack, Detlef/Pohlig, Matthias (Hgg.): Die Verwandlung des Heiligen: Die Geburt der Moderne aus dem Geist der Religion, Berlin 2020,  S. 382–393.

WOOD, John C. (ed.): Christian Modernities in Britain and Ireland in the Twentieth Century, London 2022, zuvor erschienen als Themenheft der Zeitschrift »Contemporary British History« 34/4 (2020). URL.