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Borderline Missionary. Risk, Fear, Human Security, and Emotional Communities on the Baltic Rim (ca. 1000-1250)

There was a constant emotional turmoil occurring on the medieval borderline between missionaries, neophytes and pagans in form of their interchanging conflict and cooperation, hospitality and enmity. The emotional landscape on the Baltic Rim was intense and contradictory: paralyzing horror, longing for revenge, threat and fear as weapons and brotherly love towards peers.

This project investigates the role as well as historical evolution of emotions and the experience of risks and need for safety connected to Christianization. Medieval missionaries were a risk society with anxiety as the dominant feeling. Emotions were the key bonding mechanism within the missionary community and a tool for meeting others. What were missionaries afraid of? What was the role of emotions in pastoral care and Christian warfare? How did the experience of danger and horror contribute to Christian self-perception? The project investigates missionary historiography composed between the 11th and 13th centuries on the Baltic Rim (East of the Elbe, in Pomerania and Livonia).

In terms of method the project studies: 1. emotions expressed in encounters and conflicts like battles, drown-out sieges, joint and separate rituals performed by missionaries and pagans, etc.
2. It also analyzes the historical semantics of emotional terms, their frequency and importance for different texts and communities. By exploring the historical conditions of emotions, this study may change our perception of the Christianization process.

Contact Information

Wojtek Jezierski

Box 200, 405 30 Gothenburg

Visiting Address:
Renströmsgatan 6, Room E222

+46 (0)31 7866774

Page Manager: Sara Ellis Nilsson|Last update: 12/7/2016

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