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Individualization II

Session Chair: Wolfgang Spickermann | Friday, August 28, 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Venue

Frantisek Novotny

Trial of the Templars and the Thematisation of physical Devil-Worship in the Inquisitional Investigations

This paper focuses on how the trial of the Templars contributed to the establishment of the concept of the devil's physical interaction with the investigated heretics in the inqusitional records. My argument is based upon two statements: First, although the idea of bodily interaction between the devil and his minions emerged during the 1230s' antiheretical campaign, it was rather a stereotype of the propaganda than a topic appearing in the records during the 13th century. Second, although the investigation of the Templars doesn't frequently concern this idea, it brought forth themes which contributed to the thematisation of the devil's physical action for later trials. The essential ones were the separation of malpractices from doctrinal heresy, accusations of a physically dangerous conspiracy and the emphasis on idolatry. I will conclude that mainly those factors led to rare talks on the topic during the trial, and laid foundations for its further development.

Elisa Heinämäki

Proving the Inner Word. Radical Pietism and the changing semiotic ideologies in Lutheranism

One of the recurrent and often cited characteristics of Radical Pietism is the appeal to the “inner word” and the criticism of Orthodox Lutheran theology and practice as focused on “mere letter”. Yet, the appeal to the inner word is not simply a token of an increased attention to interiority and inner experience: it is often intimately linked to an intense engagement with the Bible, and entails a whole problematic of proving and testifying to the presence of the inner word in the community. This paper analyses the cultural rupture occasioned by Radical Pietism in the orthodox Lutheran, early 18th century Sweden-Finland by applying the concept of semiotic ideology, connoting an implicit, culturally specific understanding of how signs are supposed to be able to represent inner states and outside reality. The paper is a contribution to a deepened understanding of the role of and investment in language in Protestantism.

Wolfgang Spickermann

Individual choice, catholic resistance and conversion in vandal Africa

With the invasion of Roman Africa and the conquest of Karthago 439 the vandals tried to erect a new Arian kingdom in a well organized catholic environment. The first kings Geiserich and Hunerich went hard against the catholic clergy to undermine the institutional church and to invite greater parts of the provincials to become Arians. But these attempts failed, because many individuals decided to stay catholic and to be part of a better organized catholic network. On the other hand we can recognize conversions of Arian individuals to Catholicism. The reasons for this are not so much to be found in a substantive departure from Arianism, but rather in the individual circumstances and the social ties of the converts. Also pagan and Donatist groups played an important role in this religious conflicts. The paper will discuss this religious conflicts from the perspective of network building and individual choice.

John Marshall

Authority and Anxiety: the Circle of Pseudepigraphy

Pseudepigraphic compositions were widely produced in the early centuries of Christianity. Letters, testaments, apocalypses, and treatises written under false names strove at a self-contradicting task: to invoke the power of tradition to condition change in their present, while simultaneously inventing that tradition in the process of pseudepigraphy, that is to say falsifying the past. In many instances, followers of Jesus in the first, second, and third centuries were painfully aware of this instability in their tradition. This paper examines early Christian expressions of anxiety over the integrity of their tradition, expressed in letters, heresiological treatises, controversies, and other genres. A key response to these anxieties was a discourse of apostolic heritage and apostolic validation. Perversely, this generated further incitements to pseudepigraphic composition. This paper sketches the contours of this tense dynamic of tradition and innovation.


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