The conference will focus on the question: How, under which conditions and with which consequences are religions historicized? The conference aims at furthering the study of religion as of historiography by analysing how religious groups (or their adversaries) employ historical narratives in the construction of their identities or how such groups are invented by later historiography (comparative historiography). Thus the biases and elisions of current analytical and descriptive frames have to be analysed, too (history of research). Combing disciplinary competences of Religious Studies and History of Religion, Confessional Theologies, History, History of Science, and Literary Studies, the participants will help to initiate a comparative historiography of religion by applying literary comparison and historical contextualization to those texts that have been used as central documents for histories of individual religions and analyze their historiographic character, tools and strategies. Furthermore they will stimulate the history of historical research on religion; that is, identifying key steps in the early modern and modern history of research. The comparative approach will address Circum-Mediterranean and European as well as Asian religious traditions from the first millennium BCE to present.
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