Silent Tolerance. The Discursive Presentation of Religious Diversity in 19th-Century Newspaper Reports on Charity in Vilnius and Brno



Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Reden Und Schweigen über religiöse Differenz. Tolerieren in epochen-übergreifender Perspektive
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field History
Keywords tolerance; religious diversity; charity; newspapers; nineteenth-century Moravia; nineteenth-century Lithuania
Description The article analysed the discursive presentation of charitable events in the nineteenth-century Vilnius and Brno press and demonstrated that they succeeded in laying ideological foundations for the cooperation of people of various religious backgrounds. Even though those events used to be organised during Advent and Lent and clergy used to take part, the editors and the reporters created the secular foundations for the cooperation, which were alternative to religious motivations for charity. Those were humanism, morality, study of classical musical work or patriotism. The attractiveness of those undertakings was strenghthened by listing the names of the contributors, the most distinguished personalities among them. By listing the names, the reports uncovered the presence of a multi-religious gathering at the prestigious events. Never mentioned explicitly, but discretely propagated in this manner, "silent tolerance" could serve as an example of dealing with people of different religious background. It could encourage not only to talk in a certain way, but also to meet, cooperate and ignore the religious differences. By means of discursive secularisation, the newspapers in Brno managed to praise the performances of Protestant religious music for charity goals without feeling uneasy for presenting and praising something publicly that had been only tolerated as a private practice since 1781. The comparative analysis of the reports o the concerts of Catholic and Protestant religious music showed, that reports in similar textual situations chose different discursive strategies: the Protestant reports used the strategy of concealment of religious context in order to emphasise the secular purposes and contributions of the concert, while the Catholic ones spoke openly about the specific tasks of the religious music.
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