Calvinism on the Frontier, 1600-1660: International Calvinism and the Reformed Church in Hungary and Transylvania

Calvinism on the Frontier, 1600-1660: International Calvinism and the Reformed Church in Hungary and Transylvania

Calvinism on the Frontier, 1600-1660: International Calvinism and the Reformed Church in Hungary and Transylvania

Calvinism on the Frontier, 1600-1660: International Calvinism and the Reformed Church in Hungary and Transylvania

Synopsis

'This is a very important volume presenting an exciting look at one of the least known branches of the Calvinist International. Scholars interested in social control, religious reform, toleration, and intellectual thought will find much here to interest them... It is certainly a most welcome addition to our understanding of Calvinism and early modern Hungarian lands' -English Historical Review'A very interesting and extremely useful historical account' -English Historical Review'This study is significantly more important than just another case study of Calvinism. The success of Calvinism in the Hungarian lands remains, until now, a story largely unknown to the wider historical community. Again, that alone makes this work interesting. The peculiarities of the socio-political situation in Hungary and Transylvania, however, makes this volume truly fascinating' -English Historical ReviewThe reformation was not a western European event, but historians have neglected the study of Protestantism in central and eastern Europe. This book aims to rectify this situation. It examines one of Europe's largest Protestant communities in Hungary and Transylvania. It highlights the place of the Hungarian Reformed church in the international Calvinist world, and reveals the impact of Calvinism on Hungarian politics and society.

Excerpt

The second wind of Protestant religious reform blew across the Continent from Geneva to France, the Netherlands, the British Isles, Germany, and to central and eastern Europe. Calvinism proved to be an international form of Protestantism, and unlike Lutheranism its origins were not so deeply rooted within a single social and cultural milieu to confine its later expansion. French refugee ministers mostly led the reform of religion in Geneva, and by 1560 the city also had considerable numbers of resident Dutch, German, British, and Italian exiles. The perspective of these refugees naturally extended beyond the Genevan church to their own homelands, and their presence in the city did much to promote a cosmopolitan outlook and culture within Calvinism. Calvinist communities emerged across the Continent during the 1550s and 1560s, adapting to some unpromising surroundings from the Highlands of Scotland to the Transylvanian principality, on the frontier of Christian Europe. Reformed churches in France and the Netherlands had to survive in adverse and threatened circumstances, but proved resilient in resisting the malign intentions of political and confessional opponents. As Reformed churches became more securely established in some German territories and also in the Dutch Republic, Geneva’s role within the Calvinist world steadily diminished. After Calvin’s death in 1564, and even more so after Theodore Beza’s partial retirement in 1580, the international authority of the Genevan Company of Pastors waned. However, Geneva retained a powerful symbolic role as the founding citadel of Reformed religion, and Calvinists across the Continent anxiously took up collections to aid the defence of the city from Savoyard aggression towards the end of the sixteenth century.

Calvin alone among Reformed theologians proved to have a sufficiently broad international appeal and reputation to become an alternative Protestant focus to Luther during the second half of the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, the Reformed tradition resulted from a rapprochement

M. Prestwich (ed.), International Calvinism, 1541–1715 (Oxford, 1985); A. Pettegree, A. C. Duke, and G. Lewis (eds.), Calvinism in Europe, 1540–1610. A Collection of Documents (Manchester, 1992); A. Pettegree, A. C. Duke, and G. Lewis (eds.), Calvinism in Europe, 1540–1620 (Cambridge, 1994).

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