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'Tolerance is the Soul of Europe’: Christendom, Religious (In)Tolerance and the Birth of Europe

Event Type
European Union Center; Medieval Studies
Oct 21, 2020   12:00 pm  

It is not uncommon to see Europe, and in particular the idea of European unity, in the long term as the product of a ‘secularization’ of Christendom, and the rise of tolerance as the result of secular Enlightened thinking. However, secularization is a poor concept to approach the long term transition from (medieval) Christendom to modern concepts of Europe. Nevertheless modern Europe (and to some extent the West) is the heir of Christendom as it actually continues one of its most fundamental features, namely the longing for homogeneity and the fear of diversity.

This lecture will be given by Patrick Pasture, Professor of History and Director of the Master Programme in European Studies: Transnational and Global Perspectives at KU Leuven. Dr. Pasture is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Leibniz-Institute for European History in Mainz, Germany. His lecture will introduce and discuss the concept of Christendom and its relevance for European history, focusing on the ‘first phase’ of Western (or Latin) Christendom, between its conception in the Early Middle Ages and its transformation as a result of the Reformation. Dr. Pasture proposes a decentered, inclusive approach which questions the traditional boundaries of Christendom/ Europe. While the Middle Ages have been identified as the origin of the European ‘persecuting society’, that needs to be qualified taking in account not only different geographies and temporalities, but also the different, and changing meanings of identity, religion and the secular. It results not only in a surprisingly pluriform image, but questions the narrative of Europe that we are used to hear.

This event will be held virtually on Zoom:

Meeting ID: 864 3982 8396

Password: 537638

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