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.
Nicodemites: Faith and Concealment Between Italy and Tudor England, Anne Overell examines a rarely glimpsed aspect of sixteenth-century religious strife: the thinkers, clerics, and rulers, who concealed their faith. This work goes beyond recent scholarly interest in conformity to probe inward dilemmas and the spiritual and cultural meanings of pretence. Among the dissimulators who appear here are Cardinal Reginald Pole and his circle in Italy and in England, and also John Cheke and William Cecil. Although Protestant and Catholic polemicists condemned all Nicodemites, most of them survived reformation violence, while their habits of silence and secrecy became influential. This study concludes that widespread evasion about religious belief contributed to the erratic development of toleration.
'Anne Overell is an accomplished practitioner of history as a sideways glance, revealing subtleties and contours that others have missed. In doing so, she enriches the story of the Reformation and helps us see its humanity and nuance more vividly and completely.'
Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford.
What is the significance of monotheism in modern western culture, taking into account both its problematic and promising aspects? Biblical texts and the biblical faith traditions bear a continuous, polemical tension between exclusive and inclusive perceptions and interpretations of monotheism. Western monotheism proves itself to be multi-significant and heterogeneous, producing boundary-setting as well as boundary-crossing tendencies, is the common thesis of the authors of this book, who have been collectively debating this theme for two years in an interdisciplinary scholarly setting. Their contributions range from the fields of biblical and religious studies, history and philosophy of religion, systematic theology, to gender studies in theology and religion.The authors also explain the particular contribution of their own theological discipline to these debates.