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RELMIN: The legal status of religious minorities in the Euro-Mediterranean world (5th-16th centuries)


Project funded for five years (2010-2015) by the ?Ideas? programme of the European Research Council?s Seventh Framework Programme
Principal Investigator : John Tolan, Professor of history at L?Université de Nantes and director of the Maison des Sciences de l?Homme Ange Guépin.
European religious diversity has its roots in the practice of medieval societies. Medieval European polities, Christian and Muslim, granted protected and inferior status to selected religious minorities. RELMIN will collect, publish and study legal texts defining the status of religious minorities in pre-modern Europe. The corpus of texts includes Roman law (in particular in the legal codes of Theodosius and Justinian), canon law (acta of Church councils, the Decretum attributed to Gratian, the Decretales), national or royal law (from ?barbarian? law codes of the early Middle Ages to national compilations such as the Siete Partidas of Alfonso X of Castile in the thirteenth century), urban law (particularly the fueros in the Iberian peninsula and hisba manuals in Andalusia), rabbinical responsa, and fatwa collections. The database will contain texts in their original languages and translations into English and French, as well as an annotated bibliography on the subject. This will become a major reference tool for research in the history of minority law and of interreligious relations.
The project will also hold workshops and a major international conference on religious diversity in pre-modern Europe. A series of comparative thematic studies on specific aspects of interreligious relations will allow us to compare responses to similar issues in diverse societies, from seventh-century Córdoba to fifteenth-century Krakow. The goal is to encourage collaborative interdisciplinary work by scholars from different countries with varying linguistic skills, to encourage new innovative research that cuts across traditional divides. The project will publish three major works in the field: the proceedings of the international conference, a sourcebook of selected legal texts (with translations, commentaries and annotated bibliography), and a monograph on the legal status of minorities in pre-modern Europe.
The project comprises three overlapping phases:
Phase 1 (2010-2013). The compilation of an extensive searchable database of medieval legal texts on religious minorities, consisting of the edition of the texts in the original languages (Latin, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew ?), their translation into English and French, notes and commentaries to the texts, and an extensive annotated bibliography. This will become a fundamental tool for research in the history of European law on minorities and on the history of interfaith relations.
Phase 2 (2012-2014). A series of five interdisciplinary workshops organized around principle themes in the history of religious minorities, bringing together scholars of different disciplines from countries across the European Union, North Africa, the Middle East and North America. The goal is to initiate new lines of reflection and research on the problems posed by interreligious cohabitation, among specialists of diverse religious traditions (Jewish, Christian and Muslim) of different nationalities and different disciplines.
Phase 3 (2014-2015). A major international conference and three major books. The conference will bring together specialists in the history of interfaith relations in Europe and the Mediterranean world. The goal is to include scholars interested in all periods of European history as well as media, politicians and civil associations interested in interreligious dialogue. Three major new books will be published in the final year of the project: the proceedings of the conference, a sourcebook of legal texts on the role of religious minorities in European societies, and a major new monograph.




Dr. John Tolan

Web edition of the RELMIN database of legal texts

In fall, 2011, this page will give access to a major new research tool: the RELMIN database of legal texts on religious minorities in the Middle Ages. The database will be regularly updated and expanded between 2011 and the end of the project in 2015. The corpus of texts is rich and varied, spanning ten centuries over a broad geographical area; these texts, in Latin, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (and also in Medieval Spanish, Portuguese, and other European vernaculars), are dispersed in libraries and archives across Europe. The electronic edition of the database will be published by our partner, the Institut de Recherches et d?Histoire des Textes (IRHT) on their web platform Telma.