Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation

By Armentrout, Donald S. | Anglican Theological Review, Winter 1998 | Go to article overview

Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation


Armentrout, Donald S., Anglican Theological Review


Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation. Edited by Ole Peter Grell and Bob Scribner. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. ix + 294 pp. $59.95 (cloth).

This volume comes from a conference held at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, in September 1994, which was organized under the auspices of the William and Mary History of Toleration Committee. It is intended to be a companion volume to O. P. Grell, J. I. Israel and N. Tyacke, editors, From Persecution to Toleration: The Glorious Revolution and Religion in England (1991), which originated from a conference held in London in 1988 in connection with the William and Mary Tercentenary. The volume has sixteen essays about tolerance and intolerance in England and Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These essays give a new interpretation of the role of tolerance and intolerance in the Reformation era. The essays question the traditional view which has claimed a progressive development towards greater toleration from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the end of the seventeenth century. The book is a comprehensive examination of the subject in all the regions of Europe which were directly affected by the Reformation in the crucial period between 1500, when humanism had begun to make an impact, and 1648, the end of the Thirty Years War. There was not a gradual growth of toleration from 1500 until 1648, but a mixture of tolerance and intolerance, which finally reached the toleration apex in the English Toleration Act of 1689.

It is not completely true that the Protestant Reformation brought great toleration. …

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