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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the main historiographical contexts in which the study of medieval Christianity has been pursued, and raises questions about its future direction. It begins with a brief sketch of the pre-modern historiography of medieval religion (including within the medieval period itself), and its place within the establishment of academic history in the nineteenth century. The chapter emphasizes the embedded legacies of Protestant/Catholic division from the Reformation period onward, and certain national differences in historiographical practice and inherited ‘grand narratives’. It turns then to developments within the field across the twentieth century, arguing in particular that the important shift is from an institutional history of religion to the religion of ‘the people’, with a concomitant turn toward ‘culture’ in various different forms. The chapter looks finally at recent directions of study, concluding with some thoughts on where we could go next.

Keywords: Chronicles, Reformation historiography, national identity, Annales, religion vécue, cultural history

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