Session Title

Networks of Religious Exchange in Central and Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Univ. of Florida

Organizer Name

Matthew Koval

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Florida

Presider Name

Matthew Koval

Paper Title 1

The Crossroads of Byzantium: Syncretism in Byzantine Literature (Eleventh-Thirteenth Century)

Presenter 1 Name

Nicolò Sassi

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Indiana Univ.-Bloomington

Paper Title 2

Italian Saints in the Services of Clement of Ohrid: A "Western" Legacy in the Process of Bulgarian Conversion

Presenter 2 Name

Ethan Williamson

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Florida

Start Date

11-5-2018 10:00 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1340

Description

During the Middle Ages, Central and Eastern European societies were transformed by the spread of ideas and people from western Europe and Byzantium. Networks related to the church and Christianity, through monasteries, parishes, preaching, cults of saints, education, literacy, and patterns of life were essential to these changes. What is important to note, however, is that every region receiving Christianity mixed elements from Western (and at times Eastern) traditions with its own local cultural patterns, producing a wide regional variety. All of this is well-known, and the purpose of this panel is to explore this process from a particular framework, specifically trying to analyze this problem through the concept of networks. By employing this perspective, we can try to trace the concrete and material contact between people, objects, and landscapes that produced the transformations appearing through religion and spirituality. One advantage of this approach is that it avoids an uncritical assumption of a nebulous seepage of ideas “in the air” through time and space, and it keeps a focus on the real interactions between people and their environment that shaped the past. Another advantage of this approach is that it is by its very nature inter-disciplinary, begging the combination of history, art history, archaeology, anthropology, and material culture studies. Finally, a focus on networks allows discussion of cultural change without the assumption of a certain culture or individual being agent and another passive recipient, and avoids the pitfalls of seeing Central and Eastern Europe as simply a shadow of another culture.

Matthew Koval

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May 11th, 10:00 AM

Networks of Religious Exchange in Central and Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages

Schneider 1340

During the Middle Ages, Central and Eastern European societies were transformed by the spread of ideas and people from western Europe and Byzantium. Networks related to the church and Christianity, through monasteries, parishes, preaching, cults of saints, education, literacy, and patterns of life were essential to these changes. What is important to note, however, is that every region receiving Christianity mixed elements from Western (and at times Eastern) traditions with its own local cultural patterns, producing a wide regional variety. All of this is well-known, and the purpose of this panel is to explore this process from a particular framework, specifically trying to analyze this problem through the concept of networks. By employing this perspective, we can try to trace the concrete and material contact between people, objects, and landscapes that produced the transformations appearing through religion and spirituality. One advantage of this approach is that it avoids an uncritical assumption of a nebulous seepage of ideas “in the air” through time and space, and it keeps a focus on the real interactions between people and their environment that shaped the past. Another advantage of this approach is that it is by its very nature inter-disciplinary, begging the combination of history, art history, archaeology, anthropology, and material culture studies. Finally, a focus on networks allows discussion of cultural change without the assumption of a certain culture or individual being agent and another passive recipient, and avoids the pitfalls of seeing Central and Eastern Europe as simply a shadow of another culture.

Matthew Koval