Sita Steckel is Professor for High and Late Medieval History at the University of Münster. She is a member of the Exzellenzcluster “Religion and Politics. Dynamics of Tradition and Innovation” at Münster and visited the CAS “Multiple Secularities – Beyond Modernity, Beyond the West” at Leipzig as a Senior Fellow in summer 2022.
Some narratives about secularization and modernization processes which include pre-modern history still tend to postulate a trajectory of an early emergence of secularity in Europe, particularly in the form of a separation of church and state beginning during the European Middle Ages. But more recent findings suggest that medieval Christian Europe remained quite comparable to other cultural constellations: Rather than a secular sphere, political dynamics produced demands for the de-politicization of religion, or at most, situations and social spaces of ‘neutrality.’