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Religion and Government in Hugo Grotius’s Annales: Orthodoxy, William the Silent and Reason of State

In: Grotiana
Author:
Jan WaszinkInstytut Historii PAN, Early Modern History Section, Warsaw, Poland, jwaszink@ihpan.edu.pl

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Abstract

In Grotius’s Annales, religion appears almost exclusively as a social and political problem. References (implied or explicit) to religion as a good thing or its positive effects are lacking. This aspect of Grotius’s text arises from its equation of ‘religion’ with ‘combative orthodox religion in the post-reformation era’. However, it is not credible that this view represents Hugo Grotius’s actual opinion of the Christian faith as such. The solution seems rather that the above equation must be a conscious rhetorical strategy designed to strengthen the argument of the Annales. Continuing from that conclusion, however, the texts allow us to deduce some views on reason of state and religious policy, which do seem to have been actually held by Grotius in this period, or at least to have enjoyed his active interest.

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