"Religion" in Medieval Missionary Accounts about Asia



Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords Concept of religion; Middle Ages; mission; Non-Christians
Description The article strives to contribute to the discussion about medieval development of thinking about “religion” by exploring selected Christian missionary accounts about non-Christians in Mongolian empire and India. The contact with religious plurality in these areas, together with missionary zeal, encouraged new ways of thinking about “religion”, which challenged the existing terminology concerning “religion” (terms lex, secta, fides, ritus). Analyses of missionary terminology and descriptions of various “religions” reveals a tendency to implicitly accept general comparability of Christianity with non-Christian traditions. Not in terms of truthfulness, however in terms of typology – Christianity comes to replace and upgrade previous ways of life. In this context the question of relationship between religious practice (religion as worship) and faith (religion as system of beliefs) becomes very important. The question of (non)reception of missionary thinking about “religion” within European audience is also briefly outlined.
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