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Wednesday 18 March 2020 08.30 - 10.30
T-1 REL03 Religious Tolerance and Peace in the Early Modern World: New Comparisons *
Reuvensplaats 4, 101E
Network: Religion Chairs: -
Organizers: Henning P. Jürgens, Christophe Schellekens Discussants: -
Henning P. Jürgens : The Confederation of Warsaw – a Milestone in the History of Religious Tolerance?
This paper re-examines the Confederation of Warsaw 1573 as a document for the religious co-existence of different denominations/religions in the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. The Confederation is regarded as the charter of Polish religious tolerance in Early Modern times. It was adorned with the inscription into the UNESCO register “Memory of the ... (Show more)
This paper re-examines the Confederation of Warsaw 1573 as a document for the religious co-existence of different denominations/religions in the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. The Confederation is regarded as the charter of Polish religious tolerance in Early Modern times. It was adorned with the inscription into the UNESCO register “Memory of the world” in 2003 under the slogan of “Religious tolerance guaranteed”. But does the document actually formulate the principle of religious tolerance? This paper tries to look at the actual text of the Confederation and at the historical and political context of its origin. It discusses the situation of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth in the time of the interregnum after the death of King Zygmunt August in 1572. The paper compares the multi-religious societal preconditions in Poland with other European societies in the second half of the 16th century – from the post-Augsburg 1555 situation in the Holy Roman Empire, the case of France after the St Batholomew night's massacre, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the Habsburg lands. Which forms of religious cohabitation and practical tolerance were possible in these countries, and which role played political agreements like the Confederation for enabling and securing these forms of tolerance? The paper tries to show the possibilities of a long-term comparison of different agreements of religious tolerance as adopted by the RETOPEA project. (Show less)

Maciej Ptaszynski : The Fate and Legacy of the Confederation of Warsaw in Poland in Early Modern Times
The Confederation of Warsaw is considered to be a “milestone in the history of the toleration” and one the main pillars of the political system in early modern Poland-Lithuania. However, its status and fate were far from being unequivocal. After the document was prepared by the nobility in 1573, it ... (Show more)
The Confederation of Warsaw is considered to be a “milestone in the history of the toleration” and one the main pillars of the political system in early modern Poland-Lithuania. However, its status and fate were far from being unequivocal. After the document was prepared by the nobility in 1573, it was officially accepted by the king of Poland no sooner than three years later. Even after the official promulgation, catholic bishops and some catholic magnates continued their crusade against the document. The protestant opponents defended the Confederation, but in their apologies they interpreted its meaning in a variety of ways. Every subsequent election of a king was a field of struggles about the shape and the interpretation of the document. From this perspective the Confederation was not only a religious settlement, but also a bone of contention between political and religious groups.
This paper will asks the question about the conduct of the debate on the Confederation of Warsaw. It will also show the main (mis-)interpretations of the document in 17th and 18th centuries. It will define the main phases and the main actors of the discussions. Who were the main actors and participants of the debates on the Confederation? What were they arguments and goals? How did the interpretation of the document change over time? The paper will argue that even if the document itself was not “milestone in the history of the toleration” it became one in the process of interpretation and re-interpretation in the early modern era. However, the meaning of the toleration changed throughout the early modern era. (Show less)

Christophe Schellekens : The Charter of Rhode Island and the Long-term History of Religious Tolerance and Coexistence
This paper seeks to assess and contextualize the Charter of Rhode Island (1663) as part of a long-term history of religious tolerance in Europe and beyond. The Charter has been extensively studied by scholars specialized in the history of colonial North America –in particular specialists of New England- as well ... (Show more)
This paper seeks to assess and contextualize the Charter of Rhode Island (1663) as part of a long-term history of religious tolerance in Europe and beyond. The Charter has been extensively studied by scholars specialized in the history of colonial North America –in particular specialists of New England- as well as by American lawyers, and to some extent also by historians interested in religious coexistence and tolerance on the British Isles and the British Atlantic colonies. These approaches have highlighted the genesis of the Charter as a reaction against religious rigor in neighbouring Massachusetts, and have come to see the Charter as an important base for the inclusion of freedom of religion in the first amendment of the constitution of the United States. Such frames have highlighted the innovativeness of the Charter and have demonstrated the impact of the American and Atlantic political, intellectual, religious and social contexts that facilitated its drafting, but tend to impede a comparison or a connection with continental European approaches and traditions of arranging religious tolerance and coexistence. This paper seeks to assess the Charter in relation to the treaties and edicts that sought to establish modes of religious coexistence and peace during and after the wars of religion in France, the Low Countries and the Holy Roman Empire. By focusing on this unorthodox comparison, this paper will contribute to a better understanding of what were the idiosyncrasies of the context in which the Charter was drafted. Above all, these connections and comparisons will serve to provide a better understanding of which contextual elements –political power relations, intellectual traditions, religious ideas and organisational arrangements - affected how tolerance and coexistence were organized across time and space. By focusing on this case and working through this approach, this paper will present the value of the methodology adopted by the RETOPEA project, which studies religious tolerance and peace from a long-term perspective. (Show less)



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