1st Edition

Living with Religious Diversity in Early-Modern Europe

Edited By C. Scott Dixon, Dagmar Freist Copyright 2009

    Current scholarship continues to emphasise both the importance and the sheer diversity of religious beliefs within early modern societies. Furthermore, it continues to show that, despite the wishes of secular and religious leaders, confessional uniformity was in many cases impossible to enforce. As the essays in this collection make clear, many people in Reformation Europe were forced to confront the reality of divided religious loyalties, and this raised issues such as the means of accommodating religious minorities who refused to conform and the methods of living in communion with those of different faiths. Drawing together a number of case studies from diverse parts of Europe, Living with Religious Diversity in Early Modern Europe explores the processes involved when groups of differing confessions had to live in close proximity - sometimes grudgingly, but often with a benign pragmatism that stood in opposition to the will of their rulers. By focussing on these themes, the volume bridges the gap between our understanding of the confessional developments as they were conceived as normative visions and religious culture at the level of implementation. The contributions thus measure the religious policies articulated by secular and ecclesiastical elites against the 'lived experience' of people going about their daily business. In doing this, the collection shows how people perceived and experienced the religious upheavals of the confessional age and how they were able to assimilate these changes within the framework of their lives.

    Contents: Introduction: living with religious diversity in early modern Europe, C. Scott Dixon; How plural were the religious worlds in early modern Europe? Critical reflections from the Netherlandic experience, Willem Frijhoff; Emblems of coexistence in a confessional world, Wayne Te Brake; Art, religious diversity and confessional identity in early-modern Transylvania, Maria Craciun; The power of conscience? Conversion and confessional boundary building in early-modern France, Keith P. Luria; The Counter-Reformation and popular piety in Vienna - a case study, Karl Vocelka; Protestants and fairies in early-modern England, Peter Marshall; In sickness and in health: medicine and inter-confessional relations in post-Reformation England, Alexandra Walsham; Catholics and community in the Revolt of the Netherlands, Judith Pollmann; Crossing religious borders: the experience of religious difference and its impact on mixed marriages in 18th-century Germany, Dagmar Freist; Intimate negotiations: husbands and wives of opposing faiths in 18th-century Holland, Benjamin J. Kaplan; The emergence of confessional identities: family relationships and religious coexistence in 17th-century Utrecht, Bertrand Forclaz; Religion and the display of power: a Wuerttemberg prince abroad, Dorothea Nolde; Afterword: living religious diversity, Mark Greengrass; Index.


    C. Scott Dixon is from the Queen's University Belfast, UK. Dagmar Freist is from the University of Oldenburg, Germany and Mark Greengrass is from the University of Sheffield, UK

    ’... [an] excellent volume...’ Catholic Historical Review 'The spirit of this excellent volume is well characterized in its Afterword: There was no high road to toleration, signposted from the Reformation, but only a set of muddy and winding streets, most of them not one-way.' Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 'This volume provides a compelling overview of early modern religious pluralism, reminding us that "coexistence was the rule, rather than the exception, in the Reformation and post-Reformation eras".' Seventeenth Century News 'Living with Religious Diversity in early-Modern Europe offers a salutary reminder that what early modern people professed was not necessarily that same thing as how they lived.' Sixteenth Century Journal