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Landgrave Philipp's Dilemma: The Roots Of Tolerance And The Desire For Protestant Unity

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Chapter Summary

The historiography concerning Landgrave Philipp has generally oversimplified the questions of tolerance and motivation. Only by recognizing the complexity of the situation with which the Landgrave was dealing can historians understand the development of what at times seem to be competing tendencies. The fact that Protestant unity was so important to Landgrave Philipp makes it all the more remarkable that he refused to exert the full extent of his power to enforce conformity. The Landgrave was relatively tolerant, but this tolerance was at least in part motivated by a medieval sense of monarchial paternalism rather than the modern recognition of freedom of conscience to which historians have too readily accredited it. He also forbade theologians within his territory to engage in controversial debates, especially with the common laity. By adopting pragmatism as one of his ideals, the Landgrave could come across as both idealistic and pragmatic at the same time.

Keywords: Landgrave Philipp; monarchial paternalism; pragmatism; Protestant unity; tolerance



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