Vol. 11 No. 4: Behaving Like Heathens. Polemical Comparisons and Pre-Modern Discourses of Religious Diversity from an Interdisciplinary Perspective

Guest Editors: Sita Steckel and Christina Brauner

The special issue "Behaving Like Heathens. Polemical Comparisons and Pre-Modern Discourses of Religious Diversity from an Interdisciplinary Perspective," edited by Sita Steckel and Christina Brauner, takes a historical view on the ongoing debate about comparison and religion. Offering a cross-cultural perspective on pre-modern histories, it seeks to rehabilitate the full explanatory potential of 'polemical' comparisons: rather than 'disqualifying' such asymmetrical and pejorative comparisons from the study of comparative practices, we can understand them as important tools in the construction of cultural hierarchies. On this basis, the contributions to the issue thus explore how practices of comparing in polemical exchanges relate to the negotiation of intra- and inter-religious boundaries and to varying conceptualizations of “religion” and the “religious” itself. Bringing together contributions from Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic studies, within a broad temporal framework from Late Antiquity to the nineteenth century, it also contributes to the re-assessment of comparisons beyond Western modernity and seeks to link a historicization of comparisons with a reflective perspective on comparative methodology in our own disciplines. Most contributions go back to a conference held at Bielefeld University in 2018 (https://www.hsozkult.de/event/id/event-88246).

Note: The contributions are being published successively between October 2020 and spring 2021. Please return then for the full spectrum of contributions.

Image: De duivel beschiet de katholieke kerk met ongeloof, anoniem, 1550–1599. Licence: CC 0 Universal.