Religious freedom in early modern Germany: theology, philosophy, and legal casuistry

Hunter, Ian (2014) Religious freedom in early modern Germany: theology, philosophy, and legal casuistry. South Atlantic Quarterly, 113 1: 37-62. doi:10.1215/00382876-2390419

Author Hunter, Ian
Title Religious freedom in early modern Germany: theology, philosophy, and legal casuistry
Journal name South Atlantic Quarterly   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0038-2876
Publication date 2014-02-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1215/00382876-2390419
Open Access Status
Volume 113
Issue 1
Start page 37
End page 62
Total pages 26
Place of publication Durham, NC, United States
Publisher Duke University Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
It is sometimes presumed that early modern religious conflict can be understood (and judged) on the basis of philosophical principles of religious freedom that display the irrationality of such conflict. Some derive these principles from Lockean and Kantian doctrines purporting to show that religions can be a matter of free rational choice and mutual toleration. Others derive them from Thomistic and communitarian traditions that purport to show that religions can learn mutual toleration by viewing each other as independent virtue-realizing communities. In this article I provide some historical reasons for thinking that conflicting forms of early modern religious identity were embedded in religious cultures whose force was such that they swept such philosophical principles along with them, giving rise to partisan philosophies that were themselves incommensurate and incapable of resolving the conflicts. This incommensurateness applied to the principles of religious freedom themselves, which appeared in rival forms. In the German empire a culture of religious pluralism emerged not from philosophy but from the institutions and practices of public law, during the period between the treaties of Augsburg (1555) and Osnabrück (1648). I argue that this juridical culture was not grounded in a particular philosophy or ideology but arose instead from the institutional habitus of public law under the exigencies of polarized religious conflict, and that it was issued not in principles of religious freedom but in a casuistry for resolving the conflict between such principles.
Keyword Religious freedom
Public law
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
Centre for the History of European Discourses Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sat, 01 Feb 2014, 03:43:33 EST by Professor Ian Hunter on behalf of Centre for History of European Discourses