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Christ as Hero and His Heroic Following. Imitatio Christi in the Early Modern Period


Early Christianity and Christian antiquity already were characterized by a particular interest not only in the soteriologically motivated interpretation of the life, death and resurrection of the messiah and hero (Isa 9,5) Jesus Christ, but also in heroic discipleship. The emphasis here rests on ethical aspects and a theology of piety as well as on questions regarding the experience of faith. Through all eras of Christianity, this tension-filled dialectics has evoked highly intense readings of the heroism of Christ and inspired the development of conceptions for a heroic imitatio Christi (which by no means limit themselves to a “mysticism of suffering”).

The interdisciplinary conference explores the heroic dimensions of the imitatio Christi and exemplarily analyzes different forms of representing Christian discipleship in heterogenous media as well as intermedial constellations. The primary focus here lies on sources from the early modern period (c. 1450-1750).

The inclusion of the late antique and medieval tradition ensures a tradition-historical perspective on the respective confessionally distinct interpretations of the imitatio Christi in the early modern period as well on transconfessional phenomena of consensus and interconfessional permeabilities, which in this field are particularly numerous.

The conference is jointly organized by the GRK 2008 “Interkonfessionalität in der Frühen Neuzeit” (Hamburg) and the SFB 948 “Heroes – Heroizations – Heroisms” (Freiburg).

Conception: Achim Aurnhammer and Johann Anselm Steiger.