Discourses of Mass Violence in Comparative Perspective

Breadcrumb Navigation


Guest Lecture "Anderl von Rinn: Applying Systems Theory to a Case of Blood Libel"

by Ariel Glucklich
Professor and Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Georgetown University

Response Nikolaus Hagen (Department of Contemporary History)

23 June 2023, University of Innsbruck

The thirty-year war in the Tyrol region was an immense challenge of authority for the Church, compounded by years of drought and plagues, leading to high mortality and severe economic hardships. The challenge to Catholicism, which had built-in ritual and conceptual mechanisms preventing social chaos during major crises, was destabilizing. The Anderl von Rinn blood libel was a strong systemic response: a ritually and demographically meaningful scapegoat that produced a martyr-saint, a vicious but agriculturally meaningful murder, but one located in the distant past that would not lead to additional present-day violence in the form of pogroms. It was the perfect product of the Counter Reformation, but only when understood as the product of a complex system designed to adapt the Tyrol region to disintegrative challenges.

Organization Dominik Markl, Mathias Moosbrugger (Department of Biblical Studies and Historical Theology)

glucklich 3

Lecture in the historical rooms of the University of Innsbruck

glucklich 4 cropped     glucklich 5 cropped

Blood libel narratives have been used in National Socialist propaganda (left) and are currently used by the Russian
regime to justify its war of aggression against Ukraine (right).