Show Less
Restricted access

Religious Toleration in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age

An Anthology of Literary, Theological, and Philosophical Texts

Albrecht Classen

More than ever before do we need the critical engagement with religious tolerance. Historical perspectives allow us to gain access to the discourse on this universal, often very contested topic. Already the Middle Ages and the early modern age witnessed the emergence of significant voices addressing toleration, if not even tolerance. This anthology opens many new perspectives toward this centrally important topic, adding a cultural-historical, religious, literary, and philosophical dimension mostly unknown today.

„Albrecht Classen reminds us in this volume that, "we all know just too well that the survival of the human species and its future development depends existentially on its ability and willingness to subscribe to the fundamental ideals of at least toleration, if not tolerance." As with others of Classen's works on the full range of medieval and early modern culture, this book could not be more timely or more urgently needed, especially for its positive approach to a highly volatile topic."

Fidel Fajardo-Acosta, Creighton University, Omaha, NE

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Jans Enikel: A German World Chronicler Reflecting on the Differences in Religion


Giovanni Boccaccio (1315–1375) is famous for many different literary and philosophical texts he wrote throughout his life, and he is admired especially for his moralistic, ethical, and didactic narratives and commentaries composed in the later part of his life that situate him squarely in the early phase of the Italian Renaissance. For most people today, however, and probably also for his contemporaries, Boccaccio’s Decameron (ca. 1350) made him truly into an author of world literature. In a subsequent chapter, there will be an excerpt from the third story told on the first day in which we discover clearly early forms of toleration, if not even tolerance. Boccaccio, however, like all great writers, drew from a wide range of sources or built on them where even medieval examples of tolerant practices can be identified.

An earlier version of Boccaccio’s famous ring parable can be found already in a German version contained in Jans Enikel’s (ca. 1240–after 1302) Weltchronik (begun ca. 1272; World Chronicle), the earliest version of which—there are five manuscripts—dating from ca. 1340 (Munich, BSB, cgm 11), hence ca. ten years prior to Boccaccio beginning to write his Decameron. The author is also known as Jans the Enikel, or Jans of Vienna. He seems to have belonged to the high-ranking class of the Viennese citizens and was the first urban chronicler in the German language. Even though we do not know much more about him in details, we can be certain that...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.