Dr. Sundar Henny

Navel of the World: Cross-Cultural Encounters at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, 1400–1600

Universität Bern
Phil.-hist. Fakultät
Walter Benjamin Kolleg
CH-3012 Bern

Sundar Henny | HS 2016

Sundar Henny ist Frühneuzeithistoriker und hat in Basel und Freiburg i. B. Geschichte und Klassische Philologie studiert. Er wurde in Basel mit einer Arbeit über Selbstzeugnisse und die Materialität von Schriftgut im 17. Jahrhundert promoviert und forschte an den Universitäten von Cambridge und Princeton. Er unterrichtete mehrere Jahre am Gymnasium Liestal und lehrt gegenwärtig an der Universität Bern. Im Rahmen eines SNF Ambizione Grants wird Sundar Henny ab Januar 2018 zu kulturübergreifenden Begegnungen an der Grabeskirche in Jerusalem (1400-1600) forschen.


Navel of the World: Cross-Cultural Encounters at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, 1400–1600

The project will capitalise on the uniqueness of a spot that, over many centuries, has produced a steady stream of writings from different cultures: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. While Jerusalem pilgrimage has been studied intensely for many decades research has often been highly specialist, concentrating on a given culture rather than on their mutual encounters. The aim of this project is to transcend geographical and confessional categories and to relate sources from different Christian strands to one another.
The problem will be framed in terms of intellectual history, which generally sees a comparative approach to religion emerging in Europe only in the seventeenth century. But a great many sources on and by Western pilgrims exist from over a much longer period. Questioning these sources, I will first establish how those cross-cultural encounters were represented in Europe, how they fed back into the social imaginary, and how they conditioned subsequent encounters. I will complement those findings with non-Western travelogues, most prominently from Greeks and Armenians. Thus, cross-cultural encounters, notions of plurality, and proto-comparatist approaches to religion are studied from a variety of cultural angles.


Aufklärung | Geschichte der Anthropologie | Klimatologie | Religionskritik | Classical Tradition | Wissenschaftsgeschichte | Archivkunde | Buchgeschichte | Selbstzeugnisse | historische Anthropologie