The Reformation of Community: Social Welfare and Calvinist Charity in Holland, 1572-1620

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This book examines the relationship between municipal and ecclesiastical relief agencies in the six chief cities of Holland - Dordrecht, Haarlem, Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam, and Gouda - from the public establishment of the Reformed Church in 1572 to the aftermath of the Synod of Dort. The author argues that the conflict between charitable organizations reveals competing conceptions of Christian community that came to the fore as a result of the Dutch Reformation. He analyzes how civic and church leaders faced these tensions and how the general settlements led to a unique blend of religious pluralism and confessional identity in seventeenth-century Holland. This is the first comparative study of poor relief in Holland, which contributes to our understanding of the Reformation throughout Europe.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Both social and church historians will welcome this first comparative study of poor relief in Holland."
Religious Studies Review

"This lucidly written and persuasively argued study will be essential reading for students of early modern social, religious, and political history."
Catholic Historical Review

"This carefully researched contribution to the development of poor relief and conceptions of ecclesiastical charity leaves the reader with a sense of a work well done. This work is copiously provided with appropriate charts, tables, and comparative statistics. Select illustrations ably illumine the visions of charity assumed and practiced by specific communities, and could have been interpreted. An essential addition to one's library."
Sixteenth Century Journal

"...Parker here weaves together the complex histories of religious upheaval, welfare reform, and political resettlement in a single narrative that is well documented and clear. The book is a necessary addition to the library of anyone interested in the history of Holland in the Reformation era."
H-German, Victoria Christman, Department of History, Luther College

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations, tables, and appendices
List of abbreviations
1 Introduction 1
2 The municipal community and parish charity in late medieval Holland 20
3 The civic community and poor relief, 1500-1614 65
4 Poor relief in a confessional community: the creation of the Dutch Reformed diaconate, 1566-1578 98
5 The dynamics of the Reformed community: discipline and poor relief, 1572-1620 123
6 Municipal welfare and the Calvinist diaconate, 1572-1620 155
7 The pillars of a new society: religious pluralism and confessional identity in Reformation Holland 191
Sources cited 198
Index 213
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