Edited by Howard P. Louthan and Randall C. Zachman
“Moderates did exist amidst the bitter religious conflicts in the Age of Reform, and they received even worse treatment then than they do in our own religiously contentious age. The editors have brought together an impressive group of experts to examine this neglected and almost forgotten side of the often told story. I much commend this book.” —John W. O’Malley, Weston Jesuit School of Theology
“This is a valuable collection of essays from an extraordinary group of scholars.” —David Whitford, Claflin University
Religious conciliators have always faced resistance and critique as they mediate between groups devoted to ideological agendas that leave little room for maneuver and negotiation. From the conciliar to the confessional age the normal challenges that peacemakers perennially faced were magnified. The church was divided, and there did not appear to be any obvious solution to the crisis that began in the late fourteenth century with the Great Western Schism (1378-1415). This volume investigates the activities of those who worked for the restoration of ecclesial unity, first in the conciliar era, then in the early years of the Protestant reformations, and finally during the “confessional age” when theological and cultural distinctives of competing religious groups began to emerge more clearly. Throughout, special attention is paid to the religiously diverse communities of central and eastern Europe, an area that has often been overlooked by scholars who have focused more exclusively on Protestant/Catholic relations in the western half of the continent.
Contributors to this volume argue that the significance of conciliation efforts has been neglected by scholars, in part because it has been absorbed into discussions of toleration, and in part because of the tendency to project contemporary confessional perspectives on the past. More moderate voices of those working to bridge confessional divides were frequently drowned out by the strident cries of their orthodox critics. Confessional accommodation, widely viewed as a mere pragmatic solution to religious conflict, was often a conscious intellectual commitment to theological rapprochement.
The essays in this collection examine conciliarists during the early years of the Great Schism, reunion efforts during the critical years of the Reformation, irenic activities in Bohemia, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Hungary in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This book brings new insights to the religious history of late medieval and early modern Europe.
Contributors: Karlfried Froehlich, Nicholas Constas, Erika Rummel, Euan Cameron, Randall C. Zachman, Irena Backus, Karin Maag, Graeme Murdock, Zdenek V. David, Howard P. Louthan, and Howard Hotson.
“This is an impressive volume. A number of its contributors rank among the best early modern scholars in the world at present, and all of them are accomplished. Moreover, the subjects treated here are interesting, whether they cover well-known figures, such as Calvin and Melanchthon, or less familiar ones, such as Eugenikos and Alvinczi. These essays are preceded by a fine introduction which sets the stage for the essays that follow.” — Sixteenth Century Journal
“The various pieces, written by professors and published scholars in the field, examines moderation and conciliatory efforts at unification during what was arguably the most polarized time in the history of western world: the Great Western Schism. . . . excellent introduction. . . . The contributors to this volume come from a varied and distinguished selection of key scholars in the field. The novelty of the subject material as well as the excellent scholarship and research of the volume make it an excellent addition to theological and university libraries.” — Catholic Library World
“The essays in this collection provide a wealth of evidence to show that princes, statesmen, bishops, theologians and intellectuals tried at many stages to preserve or restore the unity of the Church by peaceful means. The authors of these scholarly essays analyse ideas and events in countries from France and Italy to Hungary and Poland, introducing readers to a variety of now little-known figures and to scholarship in a wide variety of European languages. This volume constitutes an invaluable collection of essays on a subject about which to little is known, especially in Anglo-American circles. It is authoritative on irenicism in central Europe. . . . Students of early modern Europe will benefit enormously. . . .” — Journal of Ecclesiastical History
“The Roman Catholic “struggle for unity in the age of reform, 1415-1848” is the subject of a book—that quotation is the subtitle—of notable essays edited by Howard P. Louthan & Randall C. Zachman. The contributors are a distinguished lot. The anthology is an attractive one." — Bibliotheque D’Humanisme et Renaissance
“. . . Fine volume of essays. . . . A significant strength of this collection lies in its strong representation of Eastern and Central Europe. The beauty of this volume consists not only in the excellence of each of its contributions, but in the way they work together to enhance our understanding of this vitally important topic.” — Renaissance Quarterly
“Eleven essays of varying length, quality, and engagement with primary soures explore the nature of appeals for conciliation of differences among Christian groups engaged in disputes from the conciliar movement to the mid-seventeenth century. . . All those interested in the history of irenicism in the late medieval and early modern periods will profit greatly from these studies.” — Religious Studies Review
“In the two centuries after the Reformation there were a number of territories across Europe where one confessional party failed to establish hegemony. Such circumstances inspired a variety of responses, and even encouraged an occasional statesman or theologian to pursue tentative plans for conciliation: sometimes by concentrating on theological positions held in common, sometimes by pursuing the dream of reunification. A variety of these interesting experiments are considered in this collection of essays, which range across Europe and establish a helpful context with precedents from before the Protestant and Catholic divisions of the Reformation. " — English Historical Review