Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe [NOOK Book]

Overview

As religious violence flares around the world, we are confronted with an acute dilemma: Can people coexist in peace when their basic beliefs are irreconcilable? Benjamin Kaplan responds by taking us back to early modern Europe, when the issue of religious toleration was no less pressing than it is today.

Divided by Faith begins in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, when the unity of western Christendom was shattered, and takes us on a panoramic tour of Europe's religious ...

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Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe

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Overview

As religious violence flares around the world, we are confronted with an acute dilemma: Can people coexist in peace when their basic beliefs are irreconcilable? Benjamin Kaplan responds by taking us back to early modern Europe, when the issue of religious toleration was no less pressing than it is today.

Divided by Faith begins in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, when the unity of western Christendom was shattered, and takes us on a panoramic tour of Europe's religious landscape—and its deep fault lines—over the next three centuries. Kaplan's grand canvas reveals the patterns of conflict and toleration among Christians, Jews, and Muslims across the continent, from the British Isles to Poland. It lays bare the complex realities of day-to-day interactions and calls into question the received wisdom that toleration underwent an evolutionary rise as Europe grew more "enlightened." We are given vivid examples of the improvised arrangements that made peaceful coexistence possible, and shown how common folk contributed to toleration as significantly as did intellectuals and rulers. Bloodshed was prevented not by the high ideals of tolerance and individual rights upheld today, but by the pragmatism, charity, and social ties that continued to bind people divided by faith.

Divided by Faith is both history from the bottom up and a much-needed challenge to our belief in the triumph of reason over faith. This compelling story reveals that toleration has taken many guises in the past and suggests that it may well do the same in the future.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times

At this moment, there may be no more important story than the one Europeans and Americans proudly tell themselves about the rise of religious toleration. So please take note of Benjamin J. Kaplan's argument that the story may be dangerously flawed...Contrary to the once-popular notion that religious toleration rose steadily from the Middle Ages through the Protestant Reformation and on to the Enlightenment, Mr. Kaplan maintains that religious toleration declined from around 1550 to 1750...Divided by Faith ends with five words that sum up its message and could serve as a motto for historical studies generally: "the possibility of other options."
Peter Steinfels

The Economist

[A] splendid book...The book is worth a look merely for its fascinating vignettes of religious life in [Switzerland, the Low Countries, and the German principalities that made up the Holy Roman Empire]. One striking discovery is that there was more religious freedom in the 16th century than after the wars of religion ended a century later...It would be a long time before Europe's Christians rediscovered such a spirit of religious tolerance. That is something critics of today's Islamic world should remember, as should unquestioning believers in the virtue of the European Enlightenment. As well as its fine story-telling, Mr. Kaplan's book has the great merit of reinstating religion and quarrels about religious practice at the heart of the modern European history--where they clearly belong.

Times Higher Education Supplement

Kaplan creates a brilliant survey of that most fraught of religious eras, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and ranges with engaging humor and perception across Europe.
Diarmaid MacCulloch

Library Journal

Kaplan (Dutch history, University Coll., London; Calvinists and Libertines: Confession and Community in Utrecht, 1578-1620) examines the sometimes lurid and always remarkable history of religious conflict and tolerance in Europe during the period between the Reformation and the French Revolution (from the 16th to the late 18th centuries). Conceding this is a thoroughly plowed field of inquiry and eschewing the establishment of new facts, Kaplan's detail-laden yet thoroughly accessible text acknowledges the roles of contemporary philosophers, theologians, and leaders (e.g., Oliver Cromwell, John Locke, and Voltaire) in quieting a continent contorted by religious conflict. Kaplan's major contribution, however, is to redirect the level of analysis to "peasants and craftsmen, women and minorities" who developed the ability to get along on a day-to-day, shoulder-to-shoulder basis despite religious toleration at the time often having been considered heresy in and of itself. Recommended for research collections.
—James R. Kuhlman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674039308
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 857,952
  • File size: 990 KB

Meet the Author

Benjamin J. Kaplan is Professor of Dutch History, University College London and the University of Amsterdam.

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Table of Contents


Contents
List of Maps and Illustrations
Introduction
I. Obstacles
1 A Holy Zeal
Christian piety in the confessional age
2 Corpus Christianum
The community as religious body
3 Flashpoints
The events that triggered violence
4 One Faith, One Law, One King
How religion and politics intersected
II. Arrangements
5 The Gold Coin
Ecumenical experiments
6 Crossing Borders
Traveling to attend services
7 Fictions of Privacy
House chapels
8 Sharing Churches, Sharing Power
Official pluralism
III. Interactions
9 A Friend to the Person
Individual and group relations
10 Transgressions
Conversion and intermarriage
11 Infidels
Muslims and Jews in Christian Europe
IV. Changes
12 Enlightenment?
The ?rise of toleration? reconsidered
Notes
Further Reading
Acknowledgments
Index
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