Produktive Irritation. Überlegungen zur vormodernen Literatur in der Schule
Medieval texts challenge modern readers with unfamiliar ways of thinking and of telling stories. This poses difficulties for teaching, but – as this paper argues – it is also an opportunity for students to think about the contrasts between medieval culture and current socials norms as regards topics such as tolerance or fidelity. The paper illustrates this with two medieval texts. Firstly, it uses a precursor of Lessing’s well-known ‘Ringparabel’ for a comparative analysis over several centuries, suggesting the text can be used in class to investigate differences and similarities in dealing with the idea of tolerance. Secondly, a short narrative about adultery (‘Der begrabene Ehemann’) is used as an example for the vast differences between medieval norms for relationships and gender, and modern ideas of trust and femininity. The paper thus advocates for reading premodern texts in class by showing how they challenge the students’ own cultural conceptions.