ReIReS Reflecting on Conflicts and Peacemaking

Today’s ReIReS workshop organized by the Leibniz-Institute of European History in Mainz reflected on conflicts and peacemaking in order to learn from the decisions of the past as they have implications for the present.

Religious conflicts and peacemaking constitute a recurrent element of European history: for centuries they contributed to the shaping of the political, economic, cultural and demographic strata of the continent. Academics from different disciplines are involved in this and presented their research, projects, or experiences during the first day of the workshop.

In the first panel Jaap Geraerts (IEG) showed competing sacred spaces in the Dutch republic, c. 1580-1700, varying from funeral processions, and churches to epitaphs and more, showing sacred spaces important to Catholics and Protestants. Talat Kamram (Mannheimer Institut für Integration und interreligiöse Arbeit) outlined the history of the Turkish Muslim minority in Mannheim from the 1970s onward, emphasizing the need of taking responsibility, learning how to live harmoniously, and to exchange ideas with other religious groups. At the same time he recognized the problem of working on integration and how to do this adequately.

The second panel was dedicated to the topic of religious peace in Early Modern Europe. Christopher Voigt-Gog (IEG) gave an overview of the history of the terminology of religious peace starting from the Augsburg confession. Henning P. Jürgens and Christophe Schellekens (both IEG), working on the RETOPEA project, presented the project and some of the results: via clippings on various topics from history, showing teenagers how people from the past dealt with similar problems that we face today in our own context.

At the end of the afternoon, interesting questions were debated in a breakout session. One of them directly related to the core of ReIReS: ReIReS’s slogan is “Knowledge creates understanding”. But does it? Is understanding a logical result of knowledge or is something else required as well? Most of the attendants tended to answer the question in this way, that knowledge indeed creates understanding (although we need more terms to explain it), but at the same time that we need to add something to it. Knowledge in a database is cold knowledge, but we also need warm persons to transmit and teach this knowledge. Emotions should be added, consciousness, and persons who can transfer academic knowledge to other target audiences, as in education, politics etc.

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