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Full Access Regulating Religious Noise: The Council of Vienne, the Mosque Call and Muslim Pilgrimage in the Late Medieval Mediterranean World

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Regulating Religious Noise: The Council of Vienne, the Mosque Call and Muslim Pilgrimage in the Late Medieval Mediterranean World

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This paper examines the issue of religious noise in the later middle ages, in those areas of the western Mediterranean, especially in the Crown of Aragón, where Muslims and Christians lived in close proximity. In particular, it considers the role of the Council of Vienne (1311) in shifting and reflecting contemporary Christian attitudes toward public and audible Muslim religious observance, including the call to prayer (adhān) and local pilgrimage (ziyāra). This article will place the Vienne rulings in a wider context, first discussing the regulation of religious noise until the end of the thirteenth century, then examining data from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As will become evident, although the Council of Vienne did mark a turning point in the Christian effort to control the religious acoustic environment, its legislation was neither as original nor as effective as is often believed. Nevertheless, the Council marked a shift in contemporary thinking about religious noise, signaling increased awareness of noise as a problem and adding authority to prohibitions on public Muslim religious expression. Parallel concerns expressed by both Muslims and Christians about the religious noise and public rituals of minority communities (whether the mosque call, the ringing of bells, or local pilgrimage) demonstrate inter-religious tensions in the Mediterranean World at the turn of the fourteenth century.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA, Email: oconstab@nd.edu

10.1163/138078510X12535199002677
/content/journals/10.1163/138078510x12535199002677
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This paper examines the issue of religious noise in the later middle ages, in those areas of the western Mediterranean, especially in the Crown of Aragón, where Muslims and Christians lived in close proximity. In particular, it considers the role of the Council of Vienne (1311) in shifting and reflecting contemporary Christian attitudes toward public and audible Muslim religious observance, including the call to prayer (adhān) and local pilgrimage (ziyāra). This article will place the Vienne rulings in a wider context, first discussing the regulation of religious noise until the end of the thirteenth century, then examining data from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As will become evident, although the Council of Vienne did mark a turning point in the Christian effort to control the religious acoustic environment, its legislation was neither as original nor as effective as is often believed. Nevertheless, the Council marked a shift in contemporary thinking about religious noise, signaling increased awareness of noise as a problem and adding authority to prohibitions on public Muslim religious expression. Parallel concerns expressed by both Muslims and Christians about the religious noise and public rituals of minority communities (whether the mosque call, the ringing of bells, or local pilgrimage) demonstrate inter-religious tensions in the Mediterranean World at the turn of the fourteenth century.

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/content/journals/10.1163/138078510x12535199002677
2010-01-01
2017-03-28

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