Patterns of Liturgical Prescriptions: Data-driven Comparisons


Liturgical services in the Middle Ages must not be considered as restricted to a narrow interest group of clerics, neither must they be treated as a special field of theological studies. On the contrary, in pre-modern Europe, liturgy was present in almost all spheres of everyday life, of both the clergy and laymen.

It was the most frequently used means of communications through which intellectual and artistic achievements were communicated to wider audiences, and it was considered an utmost aim and privilege to be conveyed through this channel..

Variations of liturgy an indicator for the constitution of regional identity

From the perspective of the formation of local, regional and institutional identities of pre-modern Europe, the variation of liturgical usages is of utmost significance and one of the most informative resources for mapping the patterns of such identities. Since earlier liturgical research concentrated on the archaic information, transmitted by sources composed before the first millennium, the traditions of the north-eastern parts of Latin Christendom were less frequent topics of scholarship.

Analysing vast amounts of data with innovative tools

Interpretation of the liturgical practices of so far neglected regions, e.g. north-eastern parts of Latin Christendom, demands a large-scale collection and analysis of evidence from all over Europe. The arrangement of such a huge amount of information is facilitated by innovative approaches of the digital humanities, especially database building and the encoding of texts.

The workshop aims to bring together four hitherto rather isolated fields of research: liturgical studies, manuscript studies, history of knowledge and digital humanities. The goal of the planned collaboration is to discuss how medieval norm texts can contribute to current issues of digital knowledge-management, with a special respect to liturgical traditions from Saxony, Poland and Hungary.

  • Partners: Eötvös Loránd University – ELTE (Budapest), Humboldt University Berlin, University of Warsaw
  • Project Lead: PD Dr. Tillmann Lohse, Humboldt University Berlin
  • Year: 2019