By Jutta Seibert
It is generally accepted that diverse religious groups coexisted in medieval Europe, often in close vicinity, but scholars still dispute whether coexistence was sustained through peaceful or violent means. A rich corpus of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic legal texts archived by the RELMIN project sheds light on the regulation of interfaith relations in the medieval Euro-Mediterranean world.
The project focused the efforts of a dedicated group of scholars on collecting, studying, and publishing ten centuries worth of documents related to the legal status of religious minorities in the Middle Ages. From 2000 to 2015, the project built a database that compiled a unique corpus of legal texts with financial support by the European Research Council.
The Advanced Search feature offers a controlled keyword list that takes most of the guesswork out of search term selection. It also offers a format facet that distinguishes between close to fifty different document types, among them legal opinions, hadith, responsa, royal charters, papal bulls, fatwas, and assizes. The documentation for each legal text includes the text in its original language, English and French translations, common English and French titles together with the original title and a descriptive title, known author(s), a reference to the sources from which the original text and the translation(s) were taken, document type, topical keywords, and estimated or known date. Project collaborators contributed historical context and summaries, secondary sources, and, in some cases, a publication history.
The RELMIN database also includes an author index with links to author biographies with cross-references to other texts by the same author. Similarly, the contributors index links to all contributions by collaborating scholars. Dr. Rebecca Winer, Professor of Medieval History at Villanova University, contributed to the archive. There are some signs of neglect such as broken links and images, but the archive is otherwise functional. A tip sheet with detailed instructions can be consulted online.
RELMIN conferences proceedings were published under the series title Religion and Law in Medieval Christian and Muslim Societies in collaboration with Brepols. The proceedings are available in the French open research archive HAL and records with links can be found in the Library’s catalog.
Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.
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