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Religions in World- and Global History

A View from the German-language Discussion

Hans-Heinrich Nolte

The author argues that religious history is underestimated in its importance for World- and Global history. The history of religions is quite often an established sub-discipline within convincing research traditions. In order to reconstruct the past adequately, historians need academically controlled data about the beliefs of the people they are dealing with. This book offers ten examples from a wide range of religious beliefs which show that developments in religion have far reaching consequences for general history – in the change from Empire to the system of European nations, in establishing social disciplines as part of capitalist societies, in attempts of semi-peripheral states struggling for a place in the European World-System, in defence of Muslim societies on the peripheries and in postcolonial Africa.
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The author is arguing, that religious history is underestimated in its importance for World- and Global history. He sketches reasons in methods: history of religions quite often is an established sub-discipline with convincing traditions in research. Also he sketches substantive reasons: for reconstructing the past adequately, historians are in need of academically controlled data about the beliefs of the people they are dealing with. Ten examples are offered – from the history of the medieval Church and early modern Protestantism, Russian Old-Believers and the Orthodox Church of the Empire, from Islam as fundamentalist opposition to Russian expansion and Christian democracy as a conservative Catholic movement stabilizing democracy in Germany and Italy, from secularization as European “Sonderweg” and religious backgrounds of the renewed East-West confrontation, towards – last but not least – the new creed Orisha, which became global with its centre in Africa. The examples show, that developments in religion have far reaching consequences in general history – in the change from Empire to the system of European nations, in establishing social discipline as part of capitalist societies, in attempts of semi-peripheral states to get a place in the European World-System, in defence of Muslim societies on the peripheries and in postcolonial Africa.← 5 | 6 → ← 6 | 7 →

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