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Formative Exchanges in the Islamicate World: Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Islam in Contact

Workshop


CERES Palais, room "Ruhrpott" (4.13)

The two-day workshop on Formative Exchanges in the Islamicate World: Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Islam in Contact invites scholars to discuss issues of religious interactions and mutual influence between Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Islam on the Iranian plateau, and in Western and Central Asia to the middle of the second millennium CE. At the same time, it urges scholars to analyze religious discourses and practices shared by Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism in the Islamicate world, few centuries after Mani’s own lifetime.

The 2019 “Formative Exchanges” workshop continues the approach initiated by the two previous similar meetings held at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg in Bochum (2017 and 2018), which invited scholars to identify and analyze major building blocks of religious encounters. These common platforms of religious interactions include: highlighting geography and landscape as key features in shaping religious encounters; negotiating expressions of materiality in religious settings; underlying shared associations between mythological vocabularies and social or ritual practices across various religions; shared ritual skills and ritual specialists; reli-gious expressions of survival and accommodation techniques, such as commercial exchanges, medical care, and ritual meals; and cosmologies as texts informing ethics, rituals, and politics.

The conveners of the 2019 “Formative Exchanges” Workshop ask their guests to analyze the ways in which Islamicate literacy provided the means of adapting, translating, and adopting Zoroastrian and Manichaean texts. At the same time, they invite the scholars to extend their investigation to the literary contexts in which these texts were produced (the literature of religious disputations) and also to their Sitz im Leben (polemical encounters). In analyzing the ways in which religious identities were shaped by the above description of series of literary codifications and redescriptions, the 2019 workshop encourages scholars to treat transformation, hybridization, and adaptation as various outcomes of religious encounters. To discuss these formative interactions of religions on the move, the organizers invite scholars to investigate primary sources in Middle Persian, Parthian, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac, and Arabic, which describe religious contacts in the Mediterranean world and Western Asia until the middle of the second millennium CE.

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