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The Apostolic See and the World. Challenges and risks facing global history

The Apostolic See and the World. Challenges and risks facing global history

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Publié le mardi 06 mars 2012 par Loïc Le Pape

Résumé

The Max-Planck Institute for European Legal History invites scholars to participate in the debate concerning "The Apostolic See and the World. Challenges and risks facing global history". The debate will be published in the next issue of the Institute’s journal – Rechtsgeschicht –, set for release at the end of this year.

Annonce

The Apostolic See and the World Challenges and risks facing global history  Invitation to debate

Argument

With the notable exception of the history of missions, it seems that studies on the Papacy and the Holy See have not been, so far, much affected by the suggestive historiographical trends represented by world and global history. The long tradition of research based on Vatican sources has, in fact, been characterized from the beginning by its organization on a national basis: on the one hand, this has allowed the establishment of research institutes, training of specialized researchers, funding for longterm research projects and the subsequent birth of established and prominent historiographic schools ; on the other hand, it has often forced surveys within national boundaries, both as regards the subjects of study and the exploitation of sources. Moreover, the traditional assumption of periodization based on individual figures of the popes and their pontificates, choice dictated by the organization of archives, has perhaps made it difficult to reflect on other temporal breaks.

Yet, the actual presence of Christian denominations in all continents, the development of own legal rules –canon law, moral theology, liturgy– and their global dissemination, as well as the formation of a complex hierarchical and institutional system active on a global scale make the figure of the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic See a very interesting subject of study in a global perspective. In addition, the archives of the Holy See house vast documentation about the whole world and cover a span of over twelve centuries. Recently, moreover, the consultation of new archives and archival series has been enabled: such is the case of the Archives of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office and the Sacred Congregation of the Index of Forbidden Books, which opened to scholars in 1998, as well as of the Historical Archive of the Apostolic Penitentiary, accessible as from last year. Between 2003 and 2006 the documentation concerning the pontificate of Pius XI –covering until February 1939– was gradually made available to researchers.

The recent developments regarding the consultation of the Holy See 's archives, as well as the 400th anniversary of the creation of the Vatican Secret Archives, may well be the opportunity to open a debate on the relationship between the tradition of studies on the Apostolic See, which is enriched – as mentioned– with new sources, and recent historiographical trends that favour a global perspective and the study of historical processes on a large scale : can the assumption of a global perspective encourage fruitful discussions within the scientific community specialized in the Apostolic See? How can a comparative approach of world and global history be put at the service of studies on the Apostolic See, an institution atypical by nature and, thus, not remotely comparable to others? Is it possible to expand the field of study in terms of space and time without yielding the accuracy of archival research or the rigour of critical sources that have always characterized the study of Vatican documents? And yet, from a thematic standpoint, how can the system for transmission and management of information, the widespread dissemination of local ecclesiastical institutions, the establishment of a comprehensive network of diplomatic relations, the activities aimed at the resolution of conflicts –jurisdictional, international– typical of the history of the Apostolic See be correlated and compared with other similar historical processes? Finally, can the methodology of world and global history help to understand and conceptually re-elaborate complex phenomena such as evangelization, conversion, training and dissemination of specific normative orders, and the translation of religious, legal, and moral terms and concepts?

These and other questions are linked to current research activities at the Max-Planck-Institut für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte which, since its creation in 1964, has dedicated to the study of legal phenomena from a historical point of view. Today, in an ongoing comparison with an increasingly globalized current reality, the underlying question that drives the Institute's research is the construction of historical and empirical foundations for a critical reflection on legal systems. In this perspective, the Institute pays special attention to the interrelationships between legal systems within and outside Europe with a long-term comparative perspective, as well as to the complex interaction between legal systems and other normative orders in different historical contexts.

The relationship between law and religion, in particular between the medieval and contemporary ages, constitutes a privileged research area and is the basis, among others, of some research projects on the role played by the Apostolic See and the dicasteries of the Roman Curia in the development of law, and the dissemination of moral theology and canon law in non-European contexts. Recently, the Institute has promoted work on the history of relations between the Apostolic See and the 'World', the formation of the archives of the Holy See and the use of their sources for historical and legal historical research.

In this framework, the Max-Planck-Institut für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte intends to open a debate in order to create an interdisciplinary forum for discussion and scientific exchange that could form the basis for future research projects, as has already happened on previous occasions for other topics.

Submissions

 Hence, the Institute invites researchers and scholars to participate in the discussion to express their opinions, formulate hypotheses, propose questions, specify positions, as well as to further develop this issue and establish future lines of research.

Candidates may send contributions in the form of short essays not exceeding 8,000 characters, written in German, English, Italian, French, Spanish or Portuguese.

Contributions must be submitted by 15 May 2012

at the following address: albani@rg.mpg.de.

Succeeding a peer review, the contributions deemed most appropriate will be published in the next issue of the Institute 's journal, ‘Rechtsgeschichte’.

For further information and/or clarification, please contact Dr. Benedetta Albani albani@rg.mpg.de.  

See for example numbers 7, 8 and 16 of the magazine Rechtsgeschichte:

Dates

  • mardi 15 mai 2012

Mots-clés

  • Saint-Siège, histoire globale

Contacts

  • Benedetta Albani
    courriel : albani [at] rg [dot] mpg [dot] de

Source de l'information

  • Benedetta Albani
    courriel : albani [at] rg [dot] mpg [dot] de

Pour citer cette annonce

« The Apostolic See and the World. Challenges and risks facing global history », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le mardi 06 mars 2012, http://calenda.org/207526