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Reformation and the Practice of Toleration

Dutch Religious History in the Early Modern Era


Benjamin Kaplan

The Dutch Republic was the most religiously diverse land in early modern Europe, gaining an international reputation for toleration. In Reformation and the Practice of Toleration, Benjamin Kaplan explains why the Protestant Reformation had this outcome in the Netherlands and how people of different faiths managed subsequently to live together peacefully. Bringing together fourteen essays by the author, the book examines the opposition of so-called Libertines to the aspirations of Calvinist reformers for uniformity and discipline. It analyzes the practical arrangements by which multiple religious groups were accommodated. It traces the dynamics of religious life in Utrecht and other mixed communities. And it explores the relationships that developed between people of different faiths, especially in ‘mixed’ marriages.

Zayde Antrim


Zayde Antrim’s study of Ibn al-Adim’s regional topography of Aleppo inscribes the author’s hometown into an established Syrian “discourse of place” but with a difference. In contrast to his Damascene predecessors, Ibn al-Adim’s Syria is oriented to the north and the marchland bordering the Christian Byzantine Empire. A host of historical and political contingencies shape this depiction of a land that defies easy delimitation.

Boris James


The Kurdish lands that are the focus of Boris James’ study straddle contested territory between Mamluks and Mongols in northern Mesopotamia. James makes sense of countervailing internal tensions and external pressures that beset a tribal society on the fringes of strong centralized states. He employs a brand of social theory based on Ibn Khaldun’s historical sociology while problematizing the use of terms and allied concepts like “Kurd” and “Kurdistan” that defy easy categorization.

Mary Hoyt Halavais


Mary Hoyt Halavais considers the meaning of “home” for the people of sixteenth-century Spain. Home, she argues, was not a political or territorial entity to which one was loyal; instead, it was a specific place, and the lived experience of the physical and the human in that place. The reaction of Moriscos (Muslims required by law to convert to Christianity) as well as their Christian neighbors to the exile of the Moriscos of Spain (1609-1614) demonstrates this. Christians within Spain—even those who are representatives of the government in Madrid—protect their Morisco neighbors with little regard for Madrid’s laws, refusing to surrender them to the authorities. In one case, the Council of Aragon, part of the King’s governing system, subverts an order of execution. Some of the Moriscos who are exiled, pirates who repeatedly raid Spain’s ships, attempt to negotiate a surrender of all of their goods and their ships, if only they are allowed to return to their home and their families. Home is a physical and communal space for these early modern Spaniards.