Religious Identities in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages:
Strategies for the Construction and Representation of the Religious Self
With the fall of the Roman Empire and the advent of Christianity, new political and religious realities gave an impulse for an interplay of identity constructions. “Christian,” “pagan”, “barbarian” or “Jew” became categories ideologically charged, and the borders between them became rather fluid. With the emergence of asceticism and religious devotion in communities, even other types of identities started to be displayed. “The outsiders” and “the insiders” became categories used in various texts, varying from monastic rules to imperial legislation, although the frontiers in-between were rather blurred. The rise of Islam determined a need for construction of new boundaries, which would stress the unique religious identity over common elements identity.
During the Middle Ages, Eastern Europe came to be known as an interference area between Western and Eastern Christianity, sometimes even the ground of ideological dispute or physical conflict. Varied and at times contrasting religious tendencies led to specific developments in this part of Europe. The literature regarding religious identities and the history of Christianity during the Middle Ages is currently facing a need for new narratives in Western Europe. On the other hand, in Eastern Europe, historians have yet to reach this threshold, since there is still a need of understanding the religious changes that took place after the collapse of the Roman Empire up until Luther’s Reformation.
To the above considerations, one should add the new scholarly trends of comparing different spaces and chronological frames in analyses of anthropological concepts, using interdisciplinary approaches. Thus, this special issue of Review of Ecumenical Studies (RES) is dedicated to gathering materials that focus upon strategies for construction and representation of religious identities, as well as their evolution, change, and interplay, from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
Submission deadline: July 1.2021