In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

78BOOK REVIEWS enteenth century and its consequences. Nancy KoUniann, always worth reading , uses her considerable anthropological skills to bring forth fresh ideas concerning social self-identification at local levels. Frank Sysyn analyzes the Khmel'nyts'kyi rebellion in Ukraine and the social tensions that helped create a new social order. Called upon at the end to offer spiritual and scholarly bouquets , Edward Keenan pens a showy postscript most useful for admitting that the current low level ofWestern knowledge of early Russian religiosity hardly qualifies us to offer "any very confident pronouncements about these subjects ." Like the American medievalist who once opined that references to Ivan the Terrible's desire to "serve in the Passion" revealed his homosexual proclivities , new generations of would-be religious and cultural scholars must initially learn the patience needed to amass the factual, spiritual, and confessional base from which valid historical inquiry can proceed, along with some appreciation of the dogma and moral order of the highly mystical church they propose to study. Newcomers to this exacting field of investigation might find this book an education, and an admonition. Joseph L.Wieczynski Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University The Questfor Compromise:Peacemakers in Counter-Reformation Vienna. By Howard Louthan. [Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History.] (NewYork: Cambridge University Press. 1997. Pp. xvi, 185; 14 Illustrations. $5995) This book can best be appreciated against the conceptual background of confessionalism and confessionalization in early modern Europe. Louthan sets out to describe an Austrian "middle way" that during a time of intensifying religious conflict sought peacefully to reconcile the differences between confessional parties in the Empire. To designate this middle way he uses the term "irenic" or "irenicism," and stretches it to comprise not only those who sought a form of theological agreement but also those who looked to apolitique settlement , that is, one that advocated toleration of differing groups within the state, or Empire in this case, for the sake of peace and the general common good. The supporters ofthis middle way enjoyed their greatest influence at the imperial court ofVienna from 1568 to 1572 during the reign of Maximilian II, but its origins reached back to the rule of Ferdinand I and it continued into that of Rudolf II. Maximilian himself embodied its spirit; he saw himself, as he once put it, as neither Catholic nor Protestant but Christian. Louthan's method is to look carefully at four figures whom he sees as representative of the middle way. Lazarus von Schwendi stands out as the first and most interesting. A German military man who initially served Charles V during the Schmalkaldic War, Schwendi came to realize during the negotiations over the Peace ofAugsburg the need for religious toleration in order to preserve and strengthen the Empire, which was his goal. Schwendi was essentially a politique . Louthan analyzes carefully the Denkschriften which he prepared for BOOK REVIEWS79 Maximilian in the 1570's,which had little eventual impact, and his role in the attempt from 1577 to 1581 to establish Archduke Matthias as governor in the Netherlands in an effort to end the conflict there. Two other figures are the Italian antiquarian and architect, Jacopo Strada, and the Dutch humanist Hugo Blotius,who became imperial librarian. Louthan finds in their return to the classical past and cosmopolitanism an effort to raise the status ofthe imperial office so as to enable it to control confessional conflict in the interests of a unified world. The fourth figure, Johannes Grato, a product of Silesian humanism and personal physician to Maximilian and Rudolf, exhibited more genuinely theological interests than the other three. A chief concern of his was the creation of a creed that would bind together most of the Protestant churches. The movement failed, and Louthan shows us why. It was elitist, fuzzy in its theological thinking, and confronted by militants on all sides. He might have brought out more the lack of leadership on the part of a hesitant and uncertain Maximilian II. He himself, Louthan tells us, pursued theological understanding and ultimately considered toleration as a hindrance to it. So he did not share the politique vision, which was the principal intellectual factor in the development of toleration, especially when...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 78-79
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.