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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

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Hans Sachs (1494–1576) and His Version of the Parable of the Three Rings


Until today it remains undecided how we should evaluate this Nuremberg cobbler poet, Hans Sachs (Nov. 5, 1494–Jan. 19, 1576). He was undoubtedly the most prolific poet of his time, and the vast volume of his œuvre has often blinded us, to put it positively, to the true quality of his compositions. While his father was a Nuremberg tailor, Hans Sachs himself apprenticed as a cobbler, or shoemaker. At the age of seventeen he embarked on five years of being a journeyman, traveling across the German-speaking lands, refining his skills as a craftsman. In 1513, he temporarily served at the court of Emperor Maximilian I; and then entered, still in the same year, one of the many mastersinger schools in Munich, where he learned from the linen weaver Lienhard Nunnenbeck how to compose mastersongs (simple tunes for songs addressing a wide range of topics, mostly using a fixed set of syllables according to a strict metrical pattern, which might even contrast to the natural flow of the language. In 1516 he settled in Nuremberg, opening a shop as cobbler, never to leave again. In 1519 he married Kunigunde Creutzer (1502–1560), with whom he had seven children, all of whom, however, died during Sachs’s lifetime, and after Kunigunde’s death he married again on 2 September 1561, this time to the young widow Barbara Harscher. With the arrival of the Protestant Reformation in Nuremberg, Sachs became a strong supporter and composed the famous song in praise of Martin...

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