In this Book

Beyond the Persecuting Society
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There is a myth—easily shattered—that Western societies since the Enlightenment have been dedicated to the ideal of protecting the differences between individuals and groups, and another—too readily accepted—that before the rise of secularism in the modern period, intolerance and persecution held sway throughout Europe. In Beyond the Persecuting Society John Christian Laursen, Cary J. Nederman, and nine other scholars dismantle this second generalization.

If intolerance and religious persecution have been at the root of some of the greatest suffering in human history, it is nevertheless the case that toleration was practiced and theorized in medieval and early modern Europe on a scale few have realized: Christians and Jews, the English, French, Germans, Dutch, Swiss, Italians, and Spanish had their proponents of and experiments with tolerance well before John Locke penned his famous Letter Concerning Toleration. Moving from Abelard to Aphra Behn, from the apology for the gentiles of the fourteenth-century Talmudic scholar, Menahem ben Solomon Ha-MeIiri, to the rejection of intolerance in the "New Israel" of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Beyond the Persecuting Society offers a detailed and decisive correction to a vision of the past as any less complex in its embrace and abhorrence of diversity than the present.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. vii
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  1. General Introduction: Political and Historical Myths in the Toleration Literature
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. Part I. The Medieval Balance
  2. p. 11
  1. Introduction: Discourses and Contexts of Tolerance in Medieval Europe
  2. pp. 13-24
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  1. 1. Peter Abelard and the Enigma of Dialogue
  2. pp. 25-52
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  1. 2. Toleration, Skepticism, and the "Clash of Ideas": Principles of Liberty in the Writings of John of Salisbury
  2. pp. 53-70
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  1. 3. Ha-Me'iri's Theory of Religious Toleration
  2. pp. 71-91
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  1. Part II. The Long Sixteenth Century
  2. p. 93
  1. Introduction: The Transformations of the Long Sixteenth Century
  2. pp. 95-106
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  1. 4. "Heretics be not in all things heretics": Cardinal Pole, His Circle, and the Potential for Toleration
  2. pp. 107-124
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  1. 5. The Concept of Toleration in the Colloquium Heptaplomeres of Jean Bodin
  2. pp. 125-144
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  1. 6. Religious Coexistence and Confessional Conflict in the Vier Dörfer: Practices of Toleration in Eastern Switzerland, 1525–1615
  2. pp. 145-165
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  1. Part III. The Seventeenth Century
  2. p. 167
  1. Introduction: Contexts and Paths to Toleration in the Seventeenth Century
  2. pp. 169-177
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  1. 7. Samuel von Pufendorf and Toleration
  2. pp. 178-196
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  1. 8. Baylean Liberalism: Tolerance Requires Nontolerance
  2. pp. 197-215
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  1. 9. "Religion Set the World at Odds": Deism and the Climate of Religious Tolerance in the Works of Aphra Behn
  2. pp. 216-231
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  1. 10. Skepticism About Religion and Millenarian Dogmatism: Two Sources of Toleration in the Seventeenth Century
  2. pp. 232-250
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  1. 11. The Problem of Toleration in the New Israel: Religious Communalism in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts
  2. pp. 251-277
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 279-286
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 287-288
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