In the 16th century, the population of the Low Countries (modern Belgium and The Netherlands), the most urbanized and best educated in Transalpine Europe, provided not just a ready audience for ideas of religious reform, but a sophisticated political framework for the airing of the great debates of the age - not to mention ground-breaking innovations in trade and finance. The present volume reproduces fourteen essays in which James Tracy studies each of these different aspects of Low Countries culture. Part I focuses on the educational and religious reform proposals of a native son, Erasmus of Rotterdam; Part II looks at the conflicts of the Reformation era, mainly from the perspective of the province of Holland; and Part III examines economic and fiscal development in light of the ongoing tug-of-war between government centralization and the defense of local privilege.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Part I Erasmus: Erasmus becomes a German; Against the barbarians: the young Erasmus and his humanist contemporaries; Erasmus and the Arians: remarks on the Consensus Ecclesiae; Two Erasmuses, two Luthers: Erasmus' strategy in defense of De libero arbitrio; Erasmus among the post-modernists: Dissimulatio, bonae litterae, and docta pietas revisited. Part II Religion and Politics in the Low Countries: Heresy law and centralization under Mary of Hungary: conflict between the Council of Holland and the central government of the enforcement of Charles V's placards; A premature counter-reformation: the Dirkist government of Amsterdam, 1538-78; With and without the counter-reformation: the Catholic Church in the Spanish Netherlands and the Dutch Republic, 1580-1650; Lords, peasants, and the introduction of Calvinist preaching in Holland's Noorder-Kwartier. Part III Finance And Trade: Netherlands Perspectives: Habsburg grain policy and Amsterdam politics: the career of sheriff Willem Dirkszoon Baerdes, 1542-66; The taxation system of the County of Holland during the reigns of Charles V and Philip II, 1519-66; Herring wars: The Habsburg Netherlands and the struggle for the control of the North Sea, ca. 1520-60; Asian despotism? Mughal government as seen from the Dutch East India Company factory in Surat; Charles V, his bankers, and their demands. Index.
James D. Tracy is Professor in the Department of History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA.
'Erasmus remains one of the great voices for the ideals of humanism in sixteenth century Europe, and James Tracy represents one of our best contemporary scholars on the subject.' History