Responses to Religious Division, c. 1580-1620

Public and Private, Divine and Temporal


In this study Natasha Constantinidou considers the views articulated by the scholars Pierre Charron (1541-1603), Justus Lipsius (1547-1606), Paolo Sarpi (1552-1623) and King James VI and I (1566-1625), in response to the religious ruptures of their time. Though rarely juxtaposed, all four authors were deeply affected by the religious divisions. In their works, they denounced religious zeal, focusing on non-dogmatic piety. Drawing on classical tradition and church history, they set out to offer consolation to the people of a war-torn continent and to discuss means of reconciliation. Their responses sought to define the role of religion in public and private. They emphasised the need for lay control of religious affairs as the only way of ensuring peace, whilst circumscribing belief and its practice to the private realm.

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Natasha Constantinidou, Ph.D. (Edinburgh) is Lecturer in European History at the University of Cyprus. She was previously Research and Teaching Fellow at the University of St Andrews. She has published on early modern intellectual and book history.
List of illustrations

1. The Republic of Letters: Authors, Contexts, Networks

2. Human Wisdom and Moderation versus Indifference and Superstition: Charron’s Response to Religious Conflict

3. Prudence and Constancy: Justus Lipsius’s Advice for Times of Public Affliction

4. The Limits Between Lay and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction: Paolo Sarpi’s Reaction to a Century of Confessional Conflict

5. Peaceful Coexistence through Lay Supremacy: James VI and I and the Struggle for a ‘Middle’ Way

All interested in the religious wars of the long sixteenth century, and anyone concerned with history of political and moral thought, reconciliation, religious moderation, and impact of classical tradition.