Concepts of Holiness in Late Medieval Bohemia

The project focuses on Latin and vernacular hagiographic texts produced in Bohemia during the 14th-15th centuries and their contextualisation in the contemporary hagiographic production in Central and Western Europe. Luxembourg rulers, especially the Roman emperor Charles IV. (1346-1378), exploited existing hagiographic narratives and initiated their re-writing in the course of their own political representation and legitimisation. Not only the narratives concerning concrete saints were reinterpreted but also new concepts of Holiness were created, which influenced discourses of power beyond of the borders of the Luxembourg territory. These concepts were again reconfigured during the transfer of these narratives from Latin to the vernaculars (Czech and German). Ways and outcomes of this complex transformation of hagiographic narratives will be analysed in a planned monograph.

Vernacular Theology and Politics in Late Medieval Central Europe

The project focuses on catechetic and theological literature written in Czech and German in late medieval Bohemia, c. 1350-1450. These efforts in religious and spiritual education of the lay strata of society at the end of the 14th century are considered to be one of the reasons for the rapid formation of Hussite religious movements. Although this hypothesis is an important part of the dominant explanation for the armed Hussite revolt in the 1420s, a detailed study of the transmitted texts is almost lacking. In the centre of attention are therefore, firstly, the translations of basic theological and catechetic works (such as the writings of Bernhard of Clairvaux, Richard a Sancto Victore, Bridget of Sweden, Henry Seuse), and then the extensive vernacular oeuvre (partly translations of Latin models, mainly of the tracts of John Wyclif) of the leading figure of the Hussite movement, Jan Hus. The goal of the project is a careful analysis of the transformation of religious and political discourses in late Medieval Bohemia.