Sacrifice in the Europe of the religious conflicts and in the early modern world: comparisons, interpretations, legitimations


Responsabile del progetto: Prof.ssa Lucia Felici

Settore scientifico disciplinare: M-STO/02 - Storia moderna

Data inizio/fine progetto: 06/02/2019 - 18/03/2023

Ente finanziatore: PRIN

Anno di riferimento: 2018

Sito del progetto


The project proposes to study certain aspects of religious sacrifice from the Late Middle Ages to the Enlightenment. It will compare various European Christian denominations following the Reformation, broadening its scope to the colonial world as well, especially to Christian reflections on Islam and on Asia. Utilizing a wide spectrum of source material (biblical comments, normative texts, rites, images, philosophical and anthropological reflections, histories of ancient Christianity, missionary correspondences), the research group intends to focus on the language of sacrifice in the modern era (the presence of a scapegoat, the ritual role of blood, the use of violence) and will concentrate on the following themes: the persistent idea of holy war and the use of biblical figures as examples of sacrifice in religious conflict in Europe; early modern Catholic sanctity, its ideological use and the rewriting of the bodily sacrifice; the Protestant martyrology and the idea of sacrifice in the Radical Reformation; the birth of the history of religions and of the anthropological comparison and their reflection on sacrifice; the view on the colonial world, especially India, through missionary accounts on sat (the ritual immolation of the widow on her deceased husband’s funeral pyre).

The Florence unit focuses its research on the theme of martyrdom for faith in the early modern and contemporary ages. The areas analysed are, in particular, the Protestant Reformation, mysticism and holiness between the Middle Ages and the modern age and war in the twentieth century.

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