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The Adventure of Religious Pluralism in Early Modern France

Papers from the Exeter conference, April 1999

Keith Cameron, Mark Greengrass and Penny Roberts

France was the largest unified political entity in early-modern Europe to attempt a major, institutionalised degree of religious pluralism. For a monarchy that had its roots in catholic traditions this was, indeed, an adventure full of unexpected consequences. This volume is based on papers delivered at a colloquium at the University of Exeter in 1999 and takes as its starting-point the various edicts – culminating in the famous edict of Nantes of 1598 – that epitomised religious pluralism. Its authors explore the national, international and local dimensions of a pluralism that challenged established notions of political authority and social behaviour at every turn. At the national level, the king issued edicts which embodied the royal intent but to what extent did they carry the endorsement of the parlements, the sovereign courts whose task was to interpret the law and adapt it to circumstance? How were these edicts carried out locally in the provinces? How different was the security of France’s protestant minority within the wider community after the king had granted them such controversial privileges? How does the pluralism accorded a religious minority compare with other countries? The chapters in this volume tackle these questions from new and interesting viewpoints, encourage a comparative approach and reflect the new agenda for the subject that emerged in the light of the 400th anniversary commemoration of the edict of Nantes in 1998.
Contents: Keith Cameron: Foreword – Alain Tallon: Gallicanism and Religious Pluralism in France in the Sixteenth Century – Penny Roberts: Religious Pluralism in Practice: The Enforcement of the Edicts of Pacification – Mark Greengrass: Pluralism and Equality: The Peace of Monsieur, May 1576 – Daniel Hickey: Enforcing the Edict of Nantes: The 1599 Commissions and Local Elites in Dauphiné and Poitou-Aunis – David J. B. Trim: Edict of Nantes: Product of Military Success or Failure? – Alan James: Between ‘Huguenot’ and ‘Royal’: Naval Affairs during the Wars of Religion – Luc Racaut: The Cultural Obstacles to Religious Pluralism in the Polemic of the French Wars of Religion – Loris Petris: Faith and Religious Policy in Michel de l’Hospital’s Civic Evangelism – Yvonne Roberts: Jean-Antoine de Baïf and the Adventure of Pluralism – Timothy Watson: ‘When is a Huguenot not a Huguenot?’ Lyon 1525-1575 – Philip Conner: Peace in the Provinces. Peace-making in the Protestant South during the Later Wars of Religion – Elizabeth C. Tingle: The Intolerant City? Nantes and the Origins of the Catholic League 1580-1589? – Richard Bonney: The Obstacles to Pluralism in Early Modern France – Kate Currey: Degrees of Toleration: The Conjuncture of the Edict of Nantes and Dynastic Relations between Lorraine and France 1598-1610 – Andrew Spicer: Huguenots, Jesuits and French Religious Architecture in Early Seventeenth Century France – Daniella J. Kostroun: The Nuns of Port Royal: A Case of Reasonable Disobedience? – Gillian Weiss: Commerce, Conversion and French Religious Identity in the Early-Modern-Mediterranean – Alexandra Walsham: England’s Nicodemites: Crypto-Catholicism and Religious Pluralism in the Post-Reformation Context – Mark Greengrass: Epilogue: The Adventure of Religious Pluralism in Early-Modern France.